Friday, 30 March 2012

World War Two - Gas Masks and Rationing!

Eve and I started reading 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe' about ten days ago and on the first page it talks about children being evacuees. Eve asked what an evacuee was and I gave a brief explanation. Brief wasn't suitable however and we have delved into World War Two with enthusiasm! I spent an evening researching and picking the brains of other home educating parents on the on-line forum that I belong to. I decided to focus on the experiences of children and families during the war instead of the political and holocaust side of things. I think they are important to know about, just not at her age. I am sure that we will return to the topic when she is older and more able to process such horrific things. I will try to post the links where I found things but I may have to come back at a later date and add them in as my laptop was attacked by a virus and I lost all my bookmarks and links!

I saw the idea for the gas masks here, although I didn't follow the instructions, I just made up my own version - it was quite easy to do with the card, elastic around the back, coloured cellophane and some crisp tubes with bubble wrap over - oh and plenty of good old sticky tape! I think they turned out pretty well!! We made them first then I played clips of an air raid siren followed by bombs dropping and the all-clear. As the air raid siren sounded (such a spooky sound!) we dived under the dining table which was designated as our Morrison Shelter and stayed there until the all clear sounded! Naturally as we make things and read about things, some of the more horrific aspects come in - like deadly gases and bombing raids - we talked about the blitz and blackouts and Bombers as well.
 I found some great books for us to use - both fiction and non-fiction. I chose them carefully to suit my children and the aims of our project:

  • The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo - this is written from the perspective of a 12 year old girl writing in her diary - it is written in a really lively, chatty way and is very funny for adults as well as children. Lily is moved out of her seaside home as allied forces use the area for training but her beloved cat runs away and she tried to find the cat by entering the danger zone. There is a lot of topical information and we are really enjoying it!
  • When The Siren Wailed by Noel Streatfield - This is the story of children evacuated under Operation Pied Piper - we are yet to read this but it sounds good!
  • A Wartime Childhood - Factual book with letters, photos and recollections from people who were children during the War.
  • War Boy by Michael Foreman - this is the book you can see Faith looking through in the picture - it contains lots of information but written in a fictional style even though it is fact - there are really nice illustrations and sketches all the way through.

 We had fun doing rationing as well - I had a list of the weekly rations allowed and we measured them out - here you can see the sugar, jam, tea and butter and fresh egg that was allowed, as well as a copy of a ration book. I printed out ration books for each of the children and they stamped off the rations they had received!
 We then made carrot cookies from a ration book recipe released at the time - the girls were astonished by how small the biscuits were when cooked - although delicious they seemed very doubtful about having to eat smaller quantities when living on rationing! And we don't go overboard at mealtimes anyway and have a  frugal attitude to food but nothing like the attitude you had to have when on rationing!!
Some of the resources I accessed and printed out were:
  • This pack has ration book and identity card printables.
  • Some rationing information here.
  • Information on Evacuees plus ID card and ration book printables.
I can't find the rest of the links but we have more activities to do and an educational visit to RAF Cosford booked for May so I will be posting again and will add the other links if I remember them!

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