Remembrance Day Activities for KS1 and KS2
Remembrance Day is an important day for children to learn about. If you’re looking for ways to commemorate Remembrance Day in your classroom, check out our Remembrance Day activities for KS1 and KS2:
What is Remembrance Day?
Celebrating Remembrance Day with your KS1 or KS2 class is futile unless your class really understand what it is that we are commemorating on 11th November every year. This can be challenging, particularly for very young children, so how can you help your class understand what we’re remembering on Remembrance Day in an age-appropriate way?
Start by asking children if they have ever done anything they didn’t want to do but that they knew they had to do. Discuss this for a while, encouraging children to share their experiences.
Explain that more than 100 years ago, a war began that was the biggest war that the world had ever seen. This was World War 1. Millions of soldiers had to go and fight for their country to make sure that their country and their families were safe. Many, many of these soldiers died. It is these soldiers we remember on Remembrance Day, as well as soldiers from other wars, like World War 2. Most didn’t want to go to war but they did so because they wanted to fight for what they believed was right. This is called a sacrifice. We remember them to say thank you for what they did.
Spend some time discussing this with your class. Make sure children understand that it wasn’t just trained soldiers who went to war, but ordinary men and fathers.
There are lots of poppy crafts you can do with your class. Here are some of our favourite ideas:
KS1 Poppy Craft Ideas:
- Give children an empty plastic bottle and some red paint. Children to dip the bottom of the bottle into the paint and print it onto a piece of paper. Create a poppy picture, or alternatively try putting the poppies in a circle to create a poppy wreath. Children can paint the black centre of each poppy, as well as the green leaves.
- Find several large, flat stones and give one to each child. Children to paint a poppy or poppy field scene onto their stones. Once dry, arrange these in the classroom or outside in the playground to create a memorial garden.
- Tell children that they are going to be creating a class poppy field using finger painting. Give children small squares of paper, around 8cm2. On each square, children to use their forefinger dipped in red paint to create five red poppy petals. They then use their thumb dipped in black paint to make the centre of the poppy. Once all the poppies are dry, cut them out and arrange them to make a poppy display.
KS2 Poppy Craft Ideas:
- Ask children to cut out four or five petal shapes in red felt. Arrange the petals into a poppy shape and pin together. Stick together in the centre with black embroidery thread make the centre of the poppy. Cut out two pieces of green felt in leaf shapes and sew to the back of the poppy. They can then sew or attach a safety pin to the back to create a poppy brooch. Download the free template here.
- Provide children with pipe cleaners and red beads. Children to thread the beads onto each of the pipe cleaners, twisting the ends of each one to make a petal shape. Once they have four or five bead petals, bind them together with a piece of black string or ribbon to make a poppy.
- Challenge children to create a digital poppy picture or scene using art software. Once finished, print these out onto sheets of acetate. Frame with black paper or card and hang them in the window to create stained-glass poppy scenes.
One of the most important aspects of Remembrance Day is raising for money for charities who support soldiers, veterans and their families, such as the British Legion who typically raise around £50 million a year through their poppy campaign.
Why not challenge your class to make poppies or other items to sell, hold a bake sale or do a sponsored activity to contribute to this important cause?
Remembrance Day Poetry
There are lots of engaging ways you can embed Remembrance Day poetry into your English lessons:
KS1 Remembrance Day Poetry:
- Study the famous paragraph from ‘For the Fallen’ by Robert Laurence Binyon:
- Line by line, explore the meaning of the poem. Ask children to look for examples of rhyming words, explore the number of syllables, ask them to explain how it makes them feel.
- Challenge children to memorise a line each of the poem in groups of four. They then practise and perform this section of the poem in their group.
KS2 Remembrance Day Poetry:
- Study ‘In Flanders Fields’ with your class (you can find a free copy of this here).
- Read the poem to the children and spend some time discussing how it makes them feel.
- Identify unfamiliar words (such as lark, scarce, quarrel, foe and ye). Challenge children to use a dictionary to identify the definitions of these words, then write a new sentence for each word.
- Focus on the first stanza of the poem. What do you see in your mind’s eye when you read this poem? Challenge children to draw or paint a picture to reflect what they see when they read this verse.
- Read the whole poem through to identify the rhyming structure of the poem. Which lines rhyme with each other? Does the pattern change throughout the poem? Challenge children to write their own World War 1 poem using the same rhyming structure as ‘In Flanders Fields’.
- Look at the final stanza of the poem in more detail. What is it saying? What is the author suggesting? How could you use this stanza to explain why Remembrance Day is so important?
Teachers: Download our Remembrance Day Poetry sheets for free.
Make a War Memorial
Most towns and cities in the UK have a war memorial to commemorate those from the local area who have lost their lives in battle. Arranging a visit to a local war memorial is a great Remembrance Day activity and a chance for children to gain an understanding of how war affects people and communities.
Visit a local war memorial with your class
Spend some time looking at some different examples of war memorials, noting common features, symbols and epitaphs. Then, challenge children to design and make their own war memorial using clay.
Make Anzac Biscuits
Remembrance Day isn’t just commemorated in the UK. Countries such as Canada, Australia, France, Belgium and the Cayman Islands also dedicate a national day to remember those who fought for their countries.
In Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits are traditionally baked and eaten on Remembrance Day. These biscuits were sent by women at home to soldiers who were fighting overseas during World War 1. This was because the biscuits did not go stale quickly. Today, these biscuits are eaten as an act of remembrance.
Baking Anzac biscuits with your class is a fun Remembrance Day activity
Check out this easy Anzac biscuit recipe to try them out with your class.
Visit a War Museum
Visiting museums can offer rich learning experiences that are almost impossible to replicate in the classroom. The UK is lucky to be home to many impressive war museums that can engage children in military history and offer them a deeper understanding of the sacrifices made by the armed forces since the First World War.
Arranging a trip to the Imperial War Museum London, the IWM North, Churchill War Rooms or any of the many other war museums is a great way to put the world wars into context for your class.
Invite a Veteran
Inviting a war veteran to come and talk to your class about their experiences can be an invaluable Remembrance Day activity for your class. It may be unlikely that you will be able to get a WW1 or WW2 veteran to relay information about their experiences during these wars, but having a member of the armed forces today coming in to explain what their job entails and the sacrifices they have to be prepared to make will help your class understand more fully the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers.
Prepare children beforehand for this visit by challenging them to think of all the questions they might want to ask this visitor, then get them to whittle the list down to their favourite two or three questions. As a class, you can then collate these so you have a list of interesting questions ready to ask before your special visitor arrives.
Teachers: Check out all our Remembrance Day activities, including ready-to-teach lessons, writing frames, word searches, craft ideas and more!