Remembrance Poppy – sustainable craft activity

Remembrance Poppies – background

Poppies as symbols of remebrance were introduced by professor Moina Michael shortly after WWI. The concept was inspired by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders fields”.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below. (excerpt)

While primarily linked to Remembrance Day, red poppies have become symbols of service memorial and are often worn on ANZAC day and used in wreaths during remembrance services.

Respectfully approaching the subject with children

War and memorial can be very sensitive subjects when involving small children. While I believe honest information extremely important, there are many political, cultural and age appropriate implications to consider. As a teacher and parent I feel involving children in understanding days of national/international importance is pivotal. Children are valuable community members and the future of our world after all! Relevant themes can be introduced at a level which encourages children to ask questions, thereby guiding their own learning. This type of inquiry enables gradual, comfortable development of knowledge as children grow in their comprehension.

Making a Remembrance poppy

For our Remembrance craft, we focused on two main crossover themes:

  • honouring the memory of those who served
  • the symbolism of the poppy

Depending on whether you are a teacher or a parent, the delivery of this information may vary. Political agendas aside, the sacrifice of those who served is both historically and culturally significant. We had a conversation with our children in a quiet place, with plenty of time for questions, then offered an invitation to make a poppy of their own to wear.

Our poppies were made from coloured leaves we collected together and a small paper fastening pin. They were attached with safety pins (buttonholes can also be used). Natural materials add an extra sensory element to the craft. It also means that each poppy will be truly unique! For a waste free experience, simply reuse the paper pins. See the video below for our demonstration.

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