Exploring the Conditions During the War


Resources needed:

  • Red tissue
  • Black card
  • Paper
  • Glue
  • Lolly sticks
  • Pictures of poppies
  1. Show some (carefully selected) archive footage of lives in the First and Second world War – try to show as many different aspects as possible, from the trenches to the Blitz, animals in the war and the war effort at home.
  2. Discuss with children what it must have been like to have lived through one of those periods in history as a child. They should think about rationing, shortages, black outs, air raid shelters, evacuees etc. Plot these ideas on a spider diagram. Give brief reasons for the outbreak of the conflicts if possible.
  3. Focus on the key symbol of our remembrance services today: the poppy. Ask the children why we might have such a symbol and if anyone knows the history of wearing the poppy (perhaps set this as a homework task to encourage children to talk to people at home about remembrance)
  4. Watch a video in which young children give their views and opinions on why we wear a poppy during the remembrance period at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU9u8iZmGog
  5. Give the children a selection of craft materials, such a tissue paper, black card, lolly sticks and so on and ask them to create their own version of a remembrance poppy. Show examples to give them some ideas. How will it fasten onto clothing? How big should it be?
  6. If appropriate, arrange a short remembrance ceremony in the classroom – perhaps some children could write a reason why we remember these events, or a poem about the war.

Further Activities:

Read short stories aimed at this age group of children, which deal with issues such as the conflicts, life at home during the wars or the wars from a child’s perspective. Invite people from the school community to come to talk to the children about their experiences or memories, especially if they were a child during the war years.

Examine some poetry written at the time and look at all the ways the poets have relayed to the reader how awful the situation was. Have a go at writing some as a class.

Curriculum Areas covered:

Pupils should be taught about:

  • events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally [for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries]