Age Range: 7-11
Subjects: English, History, Design and Technology, Science
Connecting Classrooms themes: Sustainable living
Core Skills: Creativity, collaboration, communication, historical enquiry
Learning Outcomes: To gain an understanding of toys, games and leisure activities in the 1940s. To create a toy or game from recycled materials.Ask your pupils to bring in a selection of toys from home. Discuss the materials they are made of, why these were their favourites and how they would feel if they were lost.
In the film we see children playing with aeroplanes and conkers, playing leap frog and skipping games. Ask them to interview their Mums and Dads and grandparents to find out what toys they played with when they were younger and what were their favourite playground games. Record their findings and swap their research with their partner school. Organise a day when older members of the community come into school to teach some of the playground games and rhymes they played and chanted in the past.
During the war, children were encouraged to collect materials to help the war effort. Ask them to collect some recycled materials and bring them to school to make a toy or game from the 1940s. Ideas could include model aeroplanes and tanks, board games, puppets or soft toys.
This is Bobby Bear. On The People’s War website, his owner tells how he was given to her during the war when his original owner`s house was bombed. Show your class the picture of this wartime bear and ask them to brainstorm ideas about how he came to survive the bombing, be given to a new child and then have new adventures! Collect their ideas in a book of stories.
The 1940s was also a period when comic books of superheroes flourished. Ask your pupils to invent their own superhero and comic strip adventure which could be sent to your partner school.
As they watch the film, ask your pupils to make a list of all the things that they think are the same and things that are different about schools in the 1940s and schools today in your country. Compare the results with your partner school.