How to teach young children about ANZAC Day

How to teach young children about ANZAC Day.

Research in education tells us that children learn best when they are highly interested, active and help make decisions about their learning.  By learning through hands-on, sensory and real-life experiences about ANZAC Day, the little ones will have an opportunity to appreciate the importance of this commemorative occasion, and the part it plays in building peace in communities today.

Warfare and battle can be a very complex topic and little ones are often not equipped to handle such heavy information. Until a child is about 9 years old their brains tend to imagine something that happened somewhere else might also happen to them. Explaining this topic to children can be challenging, and the key is to keep it simple.  One way of explaining war to a child is: another country wanted to take our country away from us, so our soldiers went to keep our country ours. Children usually get the concept of chasing away baddies! Talking about the freedom and safety we have now, and discussing the words ‘Lest We Forget’, is a great idea.  Let the children ask questions, be open to their ideas on what they think it was about and gently guide them to the truth.  Have a moment of silence with the children to honour those who fought so hard.

We have a great picture book available “Forward March” by Christobel Mattingley, that tells an extraordinary story of the honourable Anzacs; the men and women who returned from war, and the sons, fathers, grandfathers and good mates who did not. Children will easily grasp the story-line with its colourful and illustrative pictures, and simple and straightforward text. Click HERE to view product on our website.

Some other activities that are great for commemorating this national day with children include:

  • Make a Poppy Wall or wreaths. Red paper cupcake holders are great for this – with black buttons for centres. Green popsicle sticks for stems look good too! Use the activity to explain how poppies were the first plants to bloom in the post war battlefields of WW1 – folklore has it the red was the blood of the soldiers who died.
  • Plant some rosemary – it’s a pretty, little herb to have either in pots or outside in the garden. Explain how it’s significant because it grew wild on the peninsula of Gallipoli.
  • Make ANZAC biscuits – explain they were sent to the soldiers at war by their families.

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups plain flour
2 cups coconut
1 ½ cups sugar
250g butter
4 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tbs boiling water

Method:

  1. Place oats, flour, coconut, sugar in big mixing bowl
  2. Melt butter and golden syrup
  3. Mix soda and boiling water in cup and add to melted butter mixture. Quickly add to flour mixture and mix well
  4. Roll mixture into balls, place on oven tray 5 cm apart. Bake 160deg for 20 min.
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