Anzac Day is marked on April 25thand commemorates Australians and New Zealanders who have died in conflict and honours returned servicemen and women.
Below are early childhood activity ideas, tips for teachers and parents, and an easy recipe for making yummy Anzac biscuits with children.
April 25th is the day that Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) soldiers landed in Gallipoli in 1915 as part of the First World War.
Although many New Zealanders and Australians lost their lives in Gallipoli, it is also felt that it was a defining moment in the building of each country's nationhood.
Anzac Day was first marked in 1916 and ceremonies are now held at war memorials across both countries.
Parades are normally held at dawn and include prayers, hymns and a march-past by veterans and serving military personnel.
The Last Post, a bugle call to commemorate the dead, a minute or two minutes silence and wreath-laying are also important parts of the Anzac Day service.
Red poppies are worn on Anzac Day as a symbol to remember those who died.
Poppies were one of the first flowers to grow on the battlefields and cemeteries of France during the First World War
Cloth or paper poppies are sold by the Returned Services Associations to raise money for their work.
Anzac biscuits are another New Zealand and Australian tradition. These biscuits were popular with ANZAC troops sent abroad to fight during the two world wars because this type of biscuit could survive weeks at sea being transported and still be edible.
Children's Recipe for ANZAC Biscuits
Melt in a pot then allow to cool:
- 200 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
In a separate bowl mix together:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups coconut
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups flour
Stir the dried ingredients into the pot with the melted butter and golden syrup
In a cup mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of hot water until the baking soda is dissolved.
Pour the dissolved baking soda into the pot and stir in. With clean hands take out small handfuls of the mixture and roll into small balls. Press gently to flatten into a biscuit shape. Place onto a greased oven / baking tray.
Bake at 180o for 15 minutes or until golden.
Take off trays to cool fully before eating or storing. These also make nice gifts: place 3 -6 biscuits in a little cellophane bag and tie with a ribbon or attach a little paper poppy decoration.
Other Activities for Marking Anzac Day at Home or at Your Early Childhood Service
- Encourage children to find out if any family members were involved in the two world wars.
- Some families may have medals they are willing to lend to your centre for a day to show the children.
- Perhaps visit a great granddad or grandmother to hear his / her stories and answer children's questions.
- Learn more about New Zealand’s armed forces and what they do, through books, field trips, videos, role plays, etc.
- Encourage children to bring or collect some spare change for a gift to your local Returned Services Association.
- Draw or make your own poppies.
- Find out where and what time a Dawn Parade will be held in your area, set your alarm clock and encourage other families to do the same.
- Find pictures of the NZ and Australian flags, discuss the differences and what each flag has in it, and make your own flags
- Teach the children how to march and basic marching instructions e.g. 'Attention', 'Left Turn' (this will be fun to practice all turning the right way at the same time!)
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