VE Day Ideas

On the 7th May 1945, the guns fell silent over Europe as Germany finally surrendered to the Allied forces. Winston Churchill (the British Prime Minister) declared that the following day – 8th May – would be a public holiday to celebrate this event. The day was named Victory in Europe (or VE) Day. This year commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 in Europe.

This link will take you to Winston Churchill’s speech to the nation to announce the end of the war:

https://winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1941-1945-war-leader/to-v-e-crowds/

This BBC Teach video explains more about VE Day and why it is so important:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/history-ks2-ve-day/z7xtmfr

This year, VE Day was set to be a huge, nationwide celebration but, due to the current worldwide situation with coronavirus, many of the celebrations have been cancelled. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to celebrate this tremendous event. Instead, we just need to do it differently.

The following link will take you to the Royal British Legion’s VE Day Learning Resources Page. Scroll down the page and click the link that says ‘Download our VE Day home resources’. Once the zip file has downloaded, open the KS2 PowerPoint and read through it. This will give you some ideas of the activities you could complete and give you some more information about VE Day:

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/teaching-remembrance

Across the country, many people held street parties to celebrate the end of the war and this tradition has held firm ever since with streets up and down the land holding annual street parties. Unfortunately, street parties will not be able to be held this year, but you could have your own 1940s street party at home or in your gardens.

You could plan a suitable 1940s menu to help you celebrate. Remember, even though the war had ended, food was still rationed in England until 1953 (meat was rationed until 1954), so you need to be careful with your party menu planning. The following link will take you to the Primary Homework Help website which explains about food rationing and gives a breakdown of a typical weekly ration for one person. This might help you when planning your party menu:

http://www.primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/war/rationing2.html

Of course, no VE Day celebration would be complete without decorations. The following link takes you to the BBC’s VE day web page where they are encouraging people across the country to make their own bunting to display in their homes and windows to show that they are still commemorating this important event. You could create your own bunting to go in your windows and to decorate your VE Day party. Remember to use the colours of the Union Jack to decorate your bunting!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4TrqYDyf4PMdLypxzyTwGDg/great-british-bunting

You could also make pictures or posters to go in your window. These could be about VE Day or about the importance of peace and being kind to each other.

As well as decorations, parties also need music. But your VE Day party needs to have music from the time so that you can Lindy Hop properly. These links will take you to some YouTube videos playing big band and swing music from the 1940s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE9lAvmty_8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xS5oCLXrQLs&list=RD3E24wWRE8AU&index=4

There is also a Swingin’ 105 radio station on Live365:

https://live365.com/station/Swingin--105-a22025

You could also look for playlists on Spotify or Amazon Music.

Of course, no party is complete without a spot of dancing. But you can’t just do any old dancing. In the 1940s, dancing was much different to what it’s like today. There was no jumping up and down on the spot and wiggling your arms around. People learned specific dances and danced them with partners. As we have seen, the music was different too, swing music and jazz was all the rage. A favourite dance in the 1940s was the Lindy Hop. Here’s a video of this dance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5DWLZGQOoE

Here is a video of some other wartime dancing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_ENjos_PpE&list=PLKlHPGSw7g75glAU3IKNdSNQEBlLDS1zz

It would be great to see some pictures of your home ‘street’ parties. You could also upload some videos of your dancing!

Other ideas that you might want to have a go at this week:

English: write some war poetry or a diary entry of a soldier returning home after fighting in Europe. You could also write a newspaper article about the end of the war.

Music: Compare the music of the 1940s with modern music and identify similarities and differences between them.

You could also learn a famous song from the time such as ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ or ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

PSHE: If it is safe, your daily walk could include visiting the war memorial in the town or village where you live. This will list the names of all those who lost their lives during World War 1 (1914-1918) and World War 2 (1939-1945). Think about how the war impacted on your local community.

Watch this video of VE Day in London and consider or list why people were celebrating and why it is important that we remember it today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEavcsrMoMw

History: Create a timeline of significant events that took place during World War 2, for example the date when the war started, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the D-Day landings etc.

Art: As well as designing your own bunting, you could also use what you know about line drawing and shading to draw a picture of your local war memorial (you could find a picture of it online if you can’t visit it).

Links to packs and ideas that can help you celebrate VE Day. Please note that some of these may have been put together before social distancing guidelines came into effect, so be selective and responsible:

https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/plan-your-ve-day-party/

https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/ve-day