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ANZAC Day Games for Kids

ANZAC Day is a special day in our calendar. It’s not a time of celebration, exactly, nor is it a glorification of war as is sometimes argued. ANZAC Day is a time when we stop and think about the sacrifices that were made so we can live in our beautiful country today.

It’s a commemoration of those who came before us who gave so much and who asked for so little in return. ANZAC Day is a time for families to come together and pay their respects.

So you may ask… why an article on ANZAC Day games? Shouldn’t this be a serious and sombre event?

The thinking behind ANZAC Day games

anzac day games kids

Playing ANZAC Day games with kids is not a frivolous or disrespectful thing to do. It’s about contextualising the content for them in a way that they can understand and attach meaning to. Concepts like war and death are often (thankfully) very far away from our children and we can be very hesitant to introduce these ideas to them too early.

However, learning through games and fun is an excellent way to not only help them understand what’s going on but to turn the day into a time of family reflection and togetherness. And isn’t that what the ANZACs fought for? So we could be together with our children in this beautiful land that they held near and dear?

How to play Two-Up with kids

Two-Up is a traditional game made famous by the ANZACs. It involves a ‘spinner’ (hence the phrase ‘Come in, Spinner!’) who sends two coins up into the air. Bets are placed as to what pattern the coins will fall in (two heads, two tails or one of each). Heads is OBVERSE, tails is REVERSE and one of each is called EWAN.

You can use special paddles to lay the coins on, a flat ruler or just hands. A cute modification for kids is to ask them to put their hands in positions on their bodies rather than yell out the complex terms. Two hands on the head for OBVERSE, two hands on the hips for REVERSE and one hand on each for EWAN. It’s a great exercise in probability, chance and fun as well.

ANZAC Day colouring in for quiet reflection

Take the kids, some colouring ins, some pencils and head outside. Find a spot somewhere peaceful – perhaps the backyard or the local park. After talking to your kids about the meaning of ANZAC Day, ask them to find a quiet place where they can mindfully colour in the images and symbolism that relates to this special day on the calendar.

Children can add additional items to their colouring in to make it truly reflect the natural setting they’re working in. Gumnuts, wattle, leaves, stick and bark all take on a new meaning when applied to a reflection of sacrifice and the honour of serving in duty. Yo ucan find some more ANZAC printables here.

Planting a Rosemary Bush for Remembrance

It is an ANZAC Day tradition to pin a sprig of rosemary to the chest as a sign of remembrance.

Bring some of that symbolism to your own backyard by ceremoniously planting a rosemary bush. Not only will it add a delightful smell to your property (as well as being useful for cooking!) but it will be a year-long reminder of the spirit of the ANZACs. It’s not quite an ‘ANZAC Day game for kids’ but gardening is an excellent way to allow children the opportunity to reflect and be appreciative of what they have.

Pressing Flowers

This was a common activity in the 1900’s. Children can use any flowers in the backyard (be sure to collect later in the morning so flowers are not wet from dew).  Here is a handy little flower press to get you started.

Kicking a Footy

When it comes to ANZAC Day games for kids, there’s nothing better than grabbing the footy (or your sporting item of choice) and heading down to the park for a good old-fashioned kick around.
After the solemnity and reflection of the morning marches and services, a park play is a great way to unleash some of that pent up energy whilst enjoying life in an environment the ANZACs would have loved to see us in.

The great outdoors, the fresh air, the comradery and the fun-loving spirit of playing in the park is exactly the kind of activity that we should be engaging in to celebrate our fabulous country.

Climbing Trees

The final ANZAC Day games for kids on our list is a quiet, peaceful activity that will offer kids a whole new perspective. We’ve compiled a list of the best climbing trees in Brisbane (and we’re sure you’ve got more to add) where the kids will be able to reach new heights.

Working hard to gain ground, taking calculated risks and finally being offered a wonderful outlook are a great way to commemorate those who have gone before us.

ANZAC Day games for kids

What are your ANZAC Day traditions? We’d love to hear about them – feel free to add a comment below!

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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