This weekend we will come together as a nation to remember the ex- and current service men and women who have served in our defence forces, and the sacrifices they have made in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations over the last 100 years. With this year marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing — our nation’s first big test in an armed conflict — it remains an ever-present and important job to pass on the meaning of ANZAC Day to our kids. However, we all find that it can be hard to start the conversation about war and ANZAC, especially with the very young. We love getting kids involved in history and believe in the importance of sharing our past with our future, so we’ve come up with some ideas on how to commemorate ANZAC Day with them and start the important work of sharing our ANZAC legend.
1. Bake ANZAC biscuits
Baking in many families is a very social and relaxed activity, with a lot of room for conversation. Why not involve the kids in your life and get them baking some ANZAC biscuits. You can use this time to start the conversation and ask them what they think ANZAC means. Explaining how the ANZAC biscuit — or the ANZAC wafer or tile — was used by soldiers while baking and eating the biscuits can make it easier for kids to relate. The Australian War Memorial has a great explanation of the significance of the ANZAC biscuit, as well as some traditional recipes to try:
2. Take them to a dawn service or an ANZAC Day March
While it can be a daunting prospect getting the whole tribe up and ready for a dawn service, the experience can be a great opportunity for kids to gain a deeper understanding of ANZAC and why it is so important to Australia as a nation. Being with thousands of other people in solemn remembrance is powerful for all ages. For some however this can be too much with very young kids, so consider going to the Anzac Day March in your local area. It is incredibly moving for adults, and the fanfare is engaging for kids. Check your local RSL website to find out times. Families Magazine wrote a great post on how to make it as easy as possible.
If you are in the Brisbane area, click the link below to find out the when and wheres on ANZAC Day:
3. Put an ANZAC plant in your garden
There are many plants with special meaning to ANZAC that you can plant with kids in your garden. Rosemary is a popular and easy to care for choice, and it can be a daily reminder and conversation starter. You can explain that Rosemary was growing in abundance on the Gallipoli peninsula and is inextricably linked to our ANZACS. Next year you can wear a sprig on ANZAC Day.
Have a look at the link below for some ideas on some plants significant to ANZAC:
4. Help your kids learn the facts
Some kids will be keenly curious about ANZAC Day and having a kid-friendly way to learn the facts and stories of ANZAC can really help keep their interest alive. For really young kids there are many picture and story books that introduce ANZAC Day:
Once they get a bit older, help them find accurate and reliable information by vetting websites and books before they read them. Here is a suggestion:
5. Write a message to our troops
While we remember those who have been lost and given the ultimate service in past conflicts, we also remember the service of our service men and women who are currently overseas. Talk to your kids about the men and women serving overseas at the moment and try to explain why in a gentle way. The Department of Defence runs an amazing service that allows the public to show support to our defence personnel. Kids can put in a great amount of effort into a tangible project such as decorating a card to send overseas and it is a wonderful way to support our troops and thank them for their sacrifice, devotion and loyalty.
How do you commemorate ANZAC Day with kids? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.