ANZAC Day stands as one of the most solemn days on the public holiday calendar and yet at the same time brings with it the overwhelming feeling of Australian patriotism. ANZAC day is a day that can not be ignored and is often heavily featured within the school curriculum as well with ceremony as part of the school week prior to the actual day.
This is a day about the people, the soldiers, the families and those who have fought and continue to fight for some sense of world order and for the safety of others. It is about a tragic day and tragic days that followed and so much more. It is about those that have lost their lives in the name of protecting our freedom. It is any wonder with such a complex subject that we wonder how best to involve children. How much is too much?
ANZAC Day Activities with Kids
- Talk about it Talking about ANZAC day is important because it’s going to be discussed in school and it’s going to feature heavily in the media and in shopping centres with donation tables. Talk to your child’s teacher and find out what they will be talking about so you can find out how to extend that learning and form support around them. In my child’s kindy (he is 3) they are painting with rosemary. There won’t be much discussion around the reality of life lost but rather the aspect of protecting our freedom, being safe, protecting our country etc. Make your discussion age appropriate. Have a read through our Tips for Explaining ANZAC Day to Toddlers.
- Go to a march There are many in Brisbane (not all dawn services) check our Where are the ANZAC Services and Marches in Brisbane? guide or the Brisbane Calendar. Let them experience the pride of the march, the emotion of the last post and the symbolism of poppies, uniforms and the Australian flag.
- Do some ANZAC craft Some simple painting of poppies is a lovely way to extend on learning, or we have instructions here for a paper ANZAC poppy activity. (NOTE: Even though the poppy is traditionally associated with remembrance day on Nov 11th, it is now a symbol that is being used on other days like ANZAC as a symbol of sacrifice and remembrance. The gesture is linked to the red poppies that were the first plants to bloom in the post war battlefields of World War I in France and Belgium. It was believed in soldier folklore that the red was the blood of the soldiers who lost their lives (source: The Australian War Memorial).)
- Bake some ANZAC treats We have a chewy ANZAC slice on our website and even delicious ANZAC pikelets, but there are tons of recipes all over the internet for these yummy and healthy treats.
- Bake some damper A great way to demonstrate to kids how bread might have been baked during war times, both at home and afield. It’s a token activity, but simple activities work best in conveying information and concepts to children.
- Buy a badge or other commemorative symbol The symbolism will be lost on most kids, but it is a gesture that, in my words to my children, “Shows support to our soldiers”.
- Read some ANZAC Books.
- Plant a rosemary bush Read about the symbolism here. You can buy rosemary at most local plant nurseries.
- Spend some time together as a family Enjoy this country. The real reason that ANZAC Day means so much is because of the freedom it afforded, so enjoy that time with your kids and family. Get into the great outdoors, pack a picnic, go to the beach and spend some time together.
For more information on the facts of ANZAC Day, we suggest the following websites: