How does one introduce World War II to children? We tread lightly on this subject, with a very brief background on what war is and why this one was being fought. We spent more of our time with the song "Over There", which was originally a WWI song, but was also popular in WWII. We watched this video which is an original recording with the lyrics, then this one which is the song with WWI photos. Finally, for contrast, we watched this one, which is a Glenn Miller and the Air Force Band recording and shows WWII aircraft. We played an online game to learn about rationing and looked at pictures of soldier uniforms from WWII.
We looked at the shadows in the illustrations, then went outside and had our own mini-lesson about shadows. I showed K and T how shadows seem to change location depending on your position in relation to an object. I had the kids stand next to a tree and I walked around them and took pictures. We looked at the photos and saw how sometimes the shadow seemed to be to the left of the children, sometimes to the right of them, etc. Baby M, the napless wonder, participated by sitting quietly bundled up on the grass, considering her toes.
I also gave an impromtu lesson about the sun being lower in the sky because it was fall. K and T stood on the driveway and struck poses, and I outlined their shadows. It was around noon when we did this, but it was interesting that their shadows were quite long.
We had a day where I introduced maritime signal flags. Here is a worksheet for decoding mystery words using nautical flags that K enjoyed doing. Finally, each child made a picture of a boat on the ocean with a message written in nautical flags that they cut out from a nautical alphabet I printed for them. They worked hard on their pictures and were proud of how they turned out.
There were a few other activities we did also, but the highlight of this unit was going to a Veterans Day Parade. Our town puts on a big parade every year for Veterans Day (but none for the 4th of July) and this year I really hoped we could go as it tied in perfectly in timing and theme. It was really cold, and thankfully, Grandpa stepped in and took K and T while I stayed home in our warm house with Baby M. They had a really good time.