How to involve children in Remembrance Day commemorations
Remembrance Sunday is marked every year in November, when the nation comes together to honour our war dead and all those who have bravely served our country.
People across the UK wear poppies as a symbol of remembrance throughout the month, with wreaths laid, memorial ceremonies and periods of silent reflection.
But how do you teach children about this period of remembrance and why it is important?
Here are a few suggestions:
Visit a war memorial or military museum
Ask children and young people to think about the names etched at memorials and discuss the monuments and items in museums. This can help encourage them to think about those who have served and who continue to serve, and the importance of remembrance among future generations.
The poppy became a symbol of remembrance after the First World War. They grew on the battlefields after the War, as described in the famous war poem, In Flanders Fields.
People now wear poppies every November to remember and honour all of those who gave their lives in the Great War, and all of those who have died while serving their country.
The money raised from the sale of poppies is used to support the Armed Forces community. They are sold by volunteers in communities, at supermarkets, and there is an online store.
Observe the two-minute silence
A two-minute silence is observed across the UK at 11 am on Remembrance Sunday, which is on 14 November this year. Wreaths will be laid at war memorials and other public spaces. The silence is a time for reflection and to pay tribute to those who lost their lives while serving their country. It takes place at 11am because the First World War ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. The Armistice had been signed by the Allies and Germany in Compiègne, France, six hours earlier.
Read war poetry
Many soldiers and civilians have been inspired to describe wars from their point of view, recording events for future generations. There are a number of poems you can read and discuss with children, although some imagery may be appropriate only for older children.
Here are some to consider:
- In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae
- The Soldier, by Rupert Brooke
- Aftermath, by Siegfried Sassoon
- Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen (drafted while he was at Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh, in 1917).
Arts and crafts
Have a go at creating your own poppy artworks or writing a poem or story with your children. We’d love you to share your efforts with us for our Commemorative Gallery – view the contributions so far here.
Email your pictures, poetry and prose to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Remembrance Day’ gallery.
For more learning resources, including ideas for all ages, visit the Royal British Legion’s website.