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VE Day - Activities

Here are some activities inspired by our VE Day exhibition which can be viewed here. 

 

Activity #1 Making an ARP Helmet

Air Raid Precautions (ARP) were organised by the national government in1935 and delivered by the local authorities. The aim was to protect civilians from the danger of air-raids.

They created an Air Raid Wardens' Service and these volunteers were known as Air Raid Precaution Wardens. Their main purpose was to patrol the streets during blackout and to ensure that no light was visible. If a light was spotted, the warden would alert the person/people responsible by shouting something like "Put that light out!" or "Cover that window!".

The ARP Wardens also reported the extent of bomb damage and assess the local need for help from the emergency and rescue services. They were responsible for the handing out of gas masks and air-raid shelters (such as Anderson shelters, as well as Morrison shelters), and organised and staffed public air raid shelters. They used their knowledge of their local areas to help find and reunite family members who had been separated in the rush to find shelter from the bombs.

For your helmet you will need:

  • A paper plate
  • Card
  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Step 1 – Cut out the middle of the plate by bending the plate in half.

Step 2 – Cut out 2 long strips of card from an A4 piece of card.

Step 3 – Stick the strips on the paper plate rim to make a cross shape and tear up pieces of paper to stick onto the cross to cover the gaps. 

Step 4 – Draw and cut out a ‘w’ from a piece of paper, stick onto helmet.

Step 5 – Your helmet is ready to wear. 

HELMET
PLATE
PAPER
MAKING
COVERINGS

Activity #2 Making a gas mask box

Children had what they nicknamed a 'mickey mouse' gas mask to keep them safe. Have a go at making a gas mask box.

You could then dust off your school uniform and dress like an evacuee. Remember to ask an adult for help if the cutting or measuring is too tricky. Also never put on a gas mask that you might find. 

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String

Step 1 – Copy the measurements shown on template onto your cardboard, you might need an adult to help.

Step 2 – Cut the box out, not forgetting the flaps.

Step 3 – Tape the sides of the box.

Step 4 – Using a pencil carefully make a hole each side and put the string through on each side and keep in place with a piece of tape.

Step 5 – Finally stick on information on to your box. 

box
design
cut out
labels

Activity #3 Making Potato Scones

Rationing was introduced in 1940. A typical weekly allowance for one adult was:

  •  Bacon and ham (3-4 slices/rashers) 4 oz
  •  Other meats – 2 small chops
  •  Butter 2 oz
  •  Cheese 2 oz
  •  Margarine 4 oz
  •  Cooking fat 4 oz
  •  Milk 3 pints
  •  Plus 1 packet dried milk per month
  •  Sugar 8 oz
  •  Preserves every two months 1 lb
  •  Tea 2 oz
  •  Egg (shell egg) 1
  •  Plus 1 packet dried egg per month
  •  Sweets 12 oz

A monthly allowance might provide a tin of salmon or fruit and half a pound of dried fruit. Bread, flour, fish (if available), offal, game (including rabbit and venison) and sauces and pickles were not rationed but were often hard to get.

Canned meat, fish, rice, canned fruit, condensed milk, breakfast cereals, biscuits and vegetables were available in limited quantities on a points system.

Why not try making potato scones or research other ration recipes and try one out. Always remember to work with an adult on the recipe.

You will need:

  • 6 oz flour
  • 4 oz mashed potato
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 oz fat
  • 4-5 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 oz of sugar if you want a sweet scone.

Step 1 – Mix the flour, (sugar if a sweet scone) and salt, then add the baking powder and mix in with the mashed potato.  

Step 2 – Rub in the fat and with your hands make mixture into a dough using the milk gradually.

Step 3 – Roll the dough out to about ¼ thickness and cut into rounds and brush the tops with milk.   

Step 4 – Bake on a greased baking sheet for 15 minutes in a hot oven.

Activity #4 Making a shelter

People needed to protect themselves from the bombs being dropped. Anderson shelters were built in peoples back gardens, by September 1939 one and a half million Anderson Shelters had been built.

Made from six corrugated iron sheets and buried in the ground. People tried to make them as comfortable as possible. They left some rations in the shelter, games, toys and books.

In March 1941, the Morrison Shelter was introduced for people without gardens. It was made from heavy steel and could also be used as a table. It was named after the Minister for Home Security, Mr Herbert Morrison.

There were also public shelters made available as they were often deeper. Some caves and underground stations were used as shelters.

You will need:

  • Cushions
  • Blankets
  • Covers
  • Chairs
  • Tables

Always check with an adult what things you can use around the house to make your shelter.  Then with different furniture either in the house or garden place the blankets or covers over the furniture to make your shelter. Place cushions inside to make it comfy.

Activity #5 Making an information poster

Posters in the Second World War were created stressing the need to stop waste and unnecessary consumption, for the recycling of scarce materials, for boosting food production from gardens and allotments and for protecting the people of the United Kingdom.

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Pens
  • A piece of paper

Look at the different examples of information posters and create your own on a piece of paper.

poster 2
poster 3
poster 4
poster 5
poster 6

Activity #6 Making Bunting for a street party

On 7 May 1945 Germany officially surrendered, ending the war in Europe. The next day celebrations broke out all over the world to mark Victory in Europe or VE Day.

In Britain, Churchill marked the occasion by declaring 8th May a public holiday. People held parties, danced and sang in the streets. Huge crowds gathered in London, both on Whitehall to hear Churchill speak and outside Buckingham Palace where King George VI and the Royal Family appeared on the balcony. 

It was hard for some to feel like celebrating as people mourned their lost friends and loved ones, and others were still engaged in war in the Far East.

Why not have your own street party at home to celebrate VE Day, may be make your own bunting.

You will need:

  • Card
  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pens
  • String/ribbon

Step 1 – Make a bunting template by folding an A4 card in half and cut down the middle to make an A5 card and then fold in half again and draw a triangle.

Step 2 – Cut out as many triangles you want for your bunting.

Step 3 – Decorate your triangles, maybe you want to put the names from your family on them or people your missing seeing at the moment,draw  pictures linked to these family members and words associated to VE Day and even with today.

Step 4 – Using a hole punch put holes at the top of each triangle.

Step 5 – Thread the string through all the triangles and hang up in your room or in your garden.

bunting 1
bunting 2
bunting 3
bunting 4
bunting 5