Follow up activities for Britain Since 1930
One of the activities you may have tried was looking at some wartime luggage and using its contents like clues to work out which suitcase belonged to which person.
The children could try making a suitcase book, filling the pages with items that they would pack in their suitcase if they were being evacuated or having to spend time in an Anderson Shelter for an unknown period of time. What would they take with them and why? Can the other children use the contents of the suitcase book to guess who it belonged to? The aim of this activity is to show how clues can tell us about people from the past.
The children could write a diary account or produce a drama presentation about evacuation. This could either be from the point of view of a child who has been evacuated from the city to the countryside or from the point of view of a child living in the countryside who has an evacuated child/children come to live with their family.
Who am I?
Either by drawing pictures of themselves in costume or by using photographs taken during the visit of themselves dressing up, children could write a character profile of themselves as the character they became when they dressed up. What might their character’s name have been? How old were they? Did they have a job/what was their role during the war? Were they a rich person or a poor person? How did they spend their days? Did they have any family? If so, who? What effect did the war have on their lifestyle? How did the war make them feel? The aim of this activity is to consider how costume/dress can tell us a lot about a person from the past.
- The children could generate a list of words to describe how it felt to be inside the Anderson Shelter and then use this vocabulary to write a poem or story about the very first time they spent the night in an Anderson Shelter.
- Try using different musical instruments to make sounds representing the feelings the children had about being inside an Anderson Shelter, or to represent what was going on around the outside of the Anderson Shelter.
- The children could design their own Anderson Shelter. What would it look like? Where would they put it? Which items would it be important to have inside the shelter and why? They would need to think about how many people would need to fit inside the shelter and remember the reasons why shelters were needed when considering their own design.
- Another activity you may have completed was looking at the two wooden family shelter boxes and trying to work out which box belonged to which family. These boxes represent the items that a family might have taken with them into their Anderson Shelter, bearing in mind they may have spent several hours in there before it would have been safe to return home. The children could devise their own Family Shelter box, deciding what they think their family would need if they were going to spend several hours away from home in a basic shelter. Each child’s box would be very different as they would need to consider the members of their particular family e.g. some children may have baby brothers or sisters whose needs would be very different from those who have teenage siblings for example.
One of the activities you may have tried was matching up the beginning and ends of wartime slogans.
- Using well known slogans such as Dig for Victory; Careless talk costs lives; Coughs and sneezes spread diseases; children could design their own posters for these slogans using the original designs for the posters as inspiration for ideas.
- Children could invent their own slogans related to an aspect of wartime life e.g. evacuation, rationing, blackouts etc and design a poster for their own slogan.
- The children could do more research into the idea of ‘Make Do and Mend’. What did this mean? Why was it necessary?
Gas mask boxes
The children could make a gas mask box using the kind of box that washing tablets (for washing machines or dishwashers) come in. The boxes can be covered in brown paper and string added to carry the box. They could research correct use and storage of a gas mask and write a set of instructions explaining to a school child how a gas mask should be used correctly.
The internet can provide instructions on how to store your gas mask, put it on and take it off, and put it away again.
Land girl/‘Maggie’ - Female worker in a factory
During your visit, you may have had the chance to meet our Land girl or Maggie, one of the workers at the Thornycroft factory. The children could research the background to these roles and use this information to write a character profile about them, do some drama, or write a diary account of a day in their life. They could consider the uniform they would have worn, what their job would have entailed (including hours worked, duties etc), where they worked, why they were needed to do these jobs during the war, their daily routines and the impact of the war on their daily life.
More information about Milestones 'Land Girl'
If you met Maggie or the Land girl, they may have talked to the children about rationing. The children could do a study into rationing. Why were foods rationed? What was rationed? What were people’s allowances of different foods? What meals became popular during this period due to rationing? Which foods would you miss if they were rationed and you weren’t allowed to eat them very often?