It is important that children know about World War 2, and most will learn about it at school in their history lessons. Since many children are being homeschooled during lockdown, you are probably looking for ways to occupy and engage your kids. Former primary school teacher Becky Cranham of PlanBee has created some fun activities to for you to try at home to teach your children about VE Day (and they’re all completely free!)
What is VE day?
VE day marks the end of World War 2, which officially began on September 1, 1939.
Victory in Europe Day, as it’s otherwise known, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, May 8, 1945.
During the course of World War 2, the Axis troops had captured and occupied lots of countries, including France and Poland.
But by 1944, lots of these countries were being freed by the Allies. Italy also changed sides in 1943 and declared war on Germany.
Germany and the Axis powers were losing. Then, on 30th April 1945, Adolf Hitler committed suicide. A week later, Germany surrendered.
On May 8, 1945, Winston Churchill (Britain’s Prime Minister at the time) announced the war was over.
This was known as VE Day (Victory in Europe Day). However, the war wasn’t officially ended all around the world until September 2, 1945.
Make your own bunting
Union Jack bunting is a staple at all VE Day celebrations, and this tradition started on VE Day in 1945.
After nearly six year of war, Brits took to the streets to celebrate peace-time. There were street parties, parades, and music, and people were dressed in the union jack colours- red, white, and blue.
Every year on the VE Day anniversary bunting is hung at these events and in people’s homes, to remember those who fought in the war.
These events, including the planned service at Westminster Abbey and procession down The Mall, are cancelled due to coronavirus. But, you can still celebrate at home.
PlanBee has provided the template you need to make your own VE Day bunting. Print it here.
All your children have to do is colour it in, and you can help them cut and string it up around the house.
VE Day recipes
Fancy letting your kids muck about in the kitchen? PlanBee has provided some super simple recipes for you and the kids to try out.
Carrots were used as a replacement for sugar in many cake and biscuit recipes during the war, thanks to the rationing of sugar. The basic carrot cake recipe is easy enough for a child to read and understand.
There is also an oath biscuit recipe, and a fresh lemonade recipe.
Let your child talk you through the recipes, and you can let them help as much as you like.
Find the recipes here.
VE Day word search
Who doesn’t love a word search? This one is suitable for all primary school children.
Challenge your kids to find VE Day vocabulary, like victory, soldier, Europe, and allies.
If you are eager to expand your child’s vocab, this is the perfect way to do that.
You could get your children to search each word in the dictionary after finding it, to encourage them to learn new words.