Have your kids ever asked why people are wearing poppies on their jackets at this time of the year? And what was your response to that question? Explaining such an important topic to our kids can sometimes be difficult to accomplish. Even so, it’s really important to teach our kids about the significance of Remembrance Day. Each year there are fewer and fewer living survivors from the World Wars.
Therefore it’s more important now than ever before to remember the sacrifices that these amazing people made for our country. When we teach our children about the significance of Remembrance Day, we are keeping the memories and stories of these brave soldiers and individuals alive now and also in the future. So, we have some tips for Teaching your kids about Remembrance Day this year. Along with the FREE Remembrance Day Mini Unit (available for the month of November – link at the bottom of this blog).
Spend some time choosing age appropriate content.
It’s really important to keep the age of your child in mind when planning learning content. For example, if you have a 4-year-old, you can chat with them about what Remembrance Day is about. While adding in brief discussions about why people wear the colour red and poppies. Then for a child that is a little older, you can discuss with them more about the great world wars. You can share the conflicts that our soldiers are facing in today’s world. And what the moment of silence is for, and why it’s so important to observe it.
2. Listen to stories from soldiers.
Perhaps you know a veteran, or even an active military personnel. Ask them to share age appropriate stories with you and your child. More often than not, they are happy to share their history and stories with you.
3. Learn about the medals and decorations that have been awarded to military personnel.
Your kids may take an interest in the medals and decorations that are awarded to military personnel. You can find some excellent resources about military medals and decorations here: Department of National Defence – Medals
4. Place an Emphasize on honouring people.
Spend some time talking about the dedication and sacrifice that these special people have made to ensure that we have continued freedom and safety today. This is really such an excellent topic. Take some time to chat with your kids about ways that they can honour these important people in our history. Your kids ideas might just amaze you. Be sure to write down their ideas. Alternatively, if you’re having a difficult time coming up with some ideas you could try:
- Donating to a local Legion.
- Flying a Canadian flag.
- Wearing a poppy.
- Talk to a veteran.
- Write a letter to a veteran.
5. Attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony.
Attending a Remembrance Day Ceremony, whether in person or virtually, is an excellent way to teach your kids about Remembrance Day and the sacrifices made on behalf of their freedom. If you choose to participate in an in-person ceremony, be sure to dress warm and follow public health guidelines. Your kids might just complain if it’s cold, so if they do, don’t get upset with them. Rather use this as a learning experience. Standing still, in the cold for an hour, while you are honouring these heroes, doesn’t even come close to the sacrifices that these soldiers made during the wars. Find out if your city or township is having an in-person Remembrance Day Ceremony, or if they offer a virtual option. Then plan to attend.
6. Take time to visit a war memorial or military cemetery.
If you can’t attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony, pay a visit to a war memorial or a military cemetery for Remembrance Day. Show your kids the inscriptions, have them read some. Talk about the importance of these words. After you return home, have them draw or paint a photo of what they saw that day.
7. Dive into your families own history.
A really excellent way to teach your children about Remembrance Day is to share stories with them about their own family members that were in the war. Share with them all that you know about their stories. Maybe you have a neighbour or older relative that can still share stories about their experiences. Another really fun and educational activity would be to take a little time to research a family member who served in one of the wars. This is a great learning experience for both your children and yourself.
8. Explain the significance of Poppies.
Why do we wear poppies? An interesting fact is that not even all adults know why we wear poppies each November. Teach your children about how wearing a poppy is a way to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives for our freedom. Poppies grew on the battlefields where many gave their lives. A neat fact to remember is that in 1915 the poppy flower inspired a Canadian doctor by the name of John McCrae to write the very famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
9. Help them learn ‘In Flanders Fields’.
Learning about the significance of the famous poem written by John McCrae is so important. John McCrae wrote this poem in 1915 as a memorial to all those who died in the World War I battle that was fought in a unique region of Belgium known as Ypres Salient. This heart wrenching poem describes the immense tragedy of these soldiers’ deaths. While there is much grief in this poem, there is also such hope in the depiction of the ongoing natural beauty that surrounds the graves of those who were lost.
Ways to teach your child the poem:
- Recite In Flanders Fields with them once a day leading up to Remembrance Day.
- Print out a copy of the poem, or write it out. And place it somewhere they will see it.
- Read it to them every day leading up to Remembrance Day.
- Have them write out the poem in their own unique way.
- If writing is a challenge, have them draw pictures of what comes to mind when you read them the poem.
If you don’t already have a copy, here it is:
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow.
Between the crosses, row on row.
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scare heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow.
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw.
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die.
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
10. Watch documentaries on the World Wars together.
Documentaries provide a flurry of information about our country and world’s history. Additionally, when you watch a documentary, your child will have the opportunity to listen to interviews from veterans. While also having the opportunity to see real photos from those important days in our history. Documentaries will offer an excellent learning experience for our learners. However, you’ll want to be sure that the documentary that you choose to watch is age appropriate for your child. Because some documentaries should only be viewed by older children. It’s really important to check into and watch the documentaries before sharing them with your child.
11. Prepare a war-time meal.
Veteran Affairs Canada gave educators an amazing idea. That idea was to serve a war-time meal to children to help them understand just a small portion of what they went through. Are you wondering what a wartime meal would look like? We’ve got you covered.
War-Time Meal Ideas
Using six potatoes, and six sausages, you can create a potato piglet wartime meal for your family. This recipe originated from a Ministry of Food Leaflet. Here’s a recipe for it: Potato Piglets Recipe – Love Food.
This unique recipe is part of a complete menu of one-pot meals, issued in the Ministry of Food leaflet number 35. The sausage roll is steamed pudding which uses sausage meat, root vegetables, breadcrumbs, herbs, and even pickles! Here’s some recipes to check out: The Wartime Kitchen – Lavender and Lovage.
Lord Woolton Pie
A favourite of wartime recipes, is the famous Lord Woolton Pie. The Lord Woolton Pie is loaded with vegetables, with a pastry that has a large amount of fat. This recipe is filling, heathy and also super thrifty. Find a recipe here: The Original Lord Woolton Pie Recipe.
Oxford Potato Soup
Soup is such a versatile, filling, and nutritious option for meal time. Which is obviously why soup was a popular meal during war times. Oxford potato soup is another recipe that was taken out of Potato Pete’s wartime Ministry of Food leaflets, on how to cook with potatoes. For this recipe you will need olive oil, potatoes, leeks, onion, celery, thyme leaves and chopped parsley. Check out the recipe here: Oxford Potato Soup – Love Potatoes.
Cheese and Lentil Savoury
What’s a thrifty and healthy recipe for a sandwich filling? Cheese and Lentil Savoury! For this wartime meal, you will need cheese, red lentils, breadcrumbs, and herbs. This unique recipe has a bounty of vitamins, fibre, and protein as well. You can find this recipe more wartime meal recipes here: On The Home Front Original War Time Recipes
12. Visit The Canadian War Museum
Even if you are unable to visit a museum due to covid, you can still visit The Canadian War Museum website. There are so many amazing videos, resources and more. Additionally there are so many truly unique exhibitions to be seen. The knowledge and experiences that your children will get from either visiting, or watching some of the videos on the Canadian War Museum’s website is irreplaceable.
13. Have your child explain why Remembrance Day is important.
Once you’ve done a fair share of learning about Remembrance Day together, ask your children to teach you about it. Through their story telling and fact sharing you will be able to determine what stood out for them.
14. Pick up the Remembrance Day Mini Unit by Schoolio.
Included with this very special unit, why we observe Remembrance Day in Canada, taking a deeper look at why we observe this special day. While also learning about what it means for our past, present and future. Additionally your child will learn about ‘In Flanders Fields’. And they will learn about why poppies are the symbol of Remembrance Day. Depending on their grade level, they will also have the opportunity to share their feelings about the poem in different ways.
More activities included with this unit: Poppy Math, a whole math section dedicated to poppies. Poppy Stem Project, where your child will have the chance to do a unique science experiment with homemade poppies. And, your child will be able to create a beautiful, hand-made poppy Remembrance Day wreath. Which they can either hang on your homes door, or take to a cenotaph on Remembrance Day. Be sure to share this amazing opportunity with your friends and family.
Schoolio is committed to educating future generations about Remembrance Day.
We here at Schoolio strongly believe that knowledge is power. Being able to look back at our history is a gift. We celebrate the fact that we have the opportunity to do so in freedom, health and safety. Which is why we are so passionate about teaching future generations about how significant Remembrance Day really is. For the month of November (2021) we are offering the Remembrance Day Mini Unit Free of charge. This is our way to say thank you, to give back, and to offer wisdom and education to all. Pick up your FREE Remembrance Day Mini Unit here.
We want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has given up so much for our freedom. It’s hard to describe how grateful we really are for such an amazing gift. Life as we know it would be so different had so many not sacrificed all. To the families of the over 118,000 Canadian soldiers who have died for our freedom, thank you. Their sacrifices were not in vein.