ANZAC Day is a special holiday for the Australian population. It is a day where we remember the bravery and sacrifice of many servicemen (and women) in protecting our country and our homes – both in previous wars and current ones.
As a teacher, sharing the importance of ANZAC day with children is of special significance. We teach them that the day is about commemorating our soldiers, rather than celebrating war. It is about honour, it’s about respect and it’s about remembering. But how can we do this in a way that children can understand?
Here are a couple of ANZAC Day crafts that can be catered for your child/ren at home (or in the classroom as I have done) to help them quietly reflect on the meaning of ANZAC Day.
ANZAC Day Crafts That Anyone Can Do!
ANZAC Day Wreath
Wreaths, usually created using flowers, have historically been used as a way of honouring brave, fallen soldiers. This ANZAC Day craft can be created by your child/ren and taken to a local memorial during an ANZAC Day Service.
• Large, thick white cardboard
• A ball of yellow wool
• Red tissue paper
• Green paper (Two different shades are ideal)
• Green textas
1. Draw a large circle on the white cardboard (using the base of a saucepan or a frying pan – anything LARGE). In the center of this circle, use a mug to draw a smaller circle.
2. Cut out the large circle to give you the wreath base. Cut out the center circle to give you the middle of the wreath.
3. Rip pieces of red tissue paper and scrunch them into small balls.
4. Make a large amount of yellow pom poms. You can do this following this text guide or you can watch this video.
5. On the green pieces of paper, draw a variety of leaf shapes using the green textas and cut them out.
6. Once you have all the materials ready, start sticking them onto your wreath. You may like to draw lines on the white cardboard (wreath) as a guide for where your child/ren are to stick the materials. A wave shape, like the one pictured, is one example of how the materials can be arranged, however your child may like to place them differently.
ANZAC Day Craft – Medals
Medals are awarded to soldiers for their service and bravery during war and are worn by relatives during ANZAC Day services as a way of commemorating them. By creating this ANZAC Day artwork, you can teach your children the significance of medals and even use it as a way of talking about medals your family members have received.
• Air Dry Clay
• Silver and/or Gold Paint
• A variety of other Acrylic Paints
• Paint Brushes
• A3 piece of cardboard
• PVA Glue
1. Use the Air Dry Clay to create a shape for the medals (it is up to you how many you create!). You might like to show your children some images of medals, or get out some belonging to your family members. Discussing the different shapes of the medals (such as a cross) can be a great way to teach them about the different reasons a soldier might receive a medal.
2. Allow the clay to dry in a sunny spot (this may take a day or two depending on the weather conditions!).
3. Once it is dry, paint the clay either silver or gold (this may depend on the images or family medals they have seen).
4. Place the A3 cardboard horizontally on your work space.
5. Using the coloured paints, paint long vertical strips down the cardboard to represent the ribbons of the medals.
6. Once the paint has dried, use PVA glue to stick the clay medals at the bottom of the painted ‘ribbons’.
ANZAC Day Poppy Art
Poppies are a well-known symbol for ANZAC Day as they were one of the only plants to grow over the battlefields. It was memorialised in the poem, “In Flanders Fields”, which is a great start to discussing ANZAC Day particularly with older children. This ANZAC Day craft can evoke a quiet reflection on the significance of ANZAC Day both for the history of our country and for your family.
• A4 piece of paper
• Red oil pastel or crayon
• Black oil pastel or crayon
• Charcoal (optional)
1. If you haven’t already, start by reading “In Flanders Fields” and discuss the symbolism of the poppy.
2. Draw at least 3 poppies on the paper (spaced out across the whole sheet), making sure there is a long stem and the heads of the poppies are drawn in the top third of the paper. Older children may like to draw several more poppies to look like a field (these can be varying heights and sizes).
3. Cut the A4 piece of paper into 3 equal-sized vertical strips.
4. Use the red oil pastel/crayon to colour in the heads of the poppies.
5. Use the black oil pastel/crayon to colour the center of the poppies, as well as to trace the stems.
6. Draw a border around each strip of paper using the black oil pastel/crayon.
7. For an extra touch, use the charcoal to lightly shade the background of each strip of paper.
There are many ways you and your children can commemorate ANZAC Day, not just with ANZAC Day art. Here are some other activities that will help make the day more memorable and significant with your family.