ANZAC Day on 25th April marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand armed forces during the First World War. The importance of Anzac Day does though go beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli. It’s a day to reflect on the sacrifices made by service women and men from both Australia and New Zealand who have participated and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. And just as importantly, to send our thanks to those currently serving our country.
The ANZAC Spirit of mateship, humour, ingenuity, courage and endurance has defined Australians ever since the first troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in World War I. And in this time of hardship and uncertainty, these qualities are needed just as much now as over 100 years ago!
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all ANZAC Day events have been cancelled this year. But there are still lots of ways to commemorate this important day with your family and keep the ANZAC Spirit alive.
This year there’ll be just the one Dawn Service held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra from 5:30am to 6am. It’ll be broadcast live by ABC TV and streamed online. But you can tune into the ABC coverage from 5am, when they’ll show Anzac Stories presented by Dan Bourchier. This program will look at the origins of Anzac Day and tell some of the personal stories of servicemen and women, including those who helped in the recent bushfires.
All Australians are being asked to stand in your driveway, on your balcony or in your living room at 6am this Saturday 25th April to remember all those who have served and sacrificed. ABC TV and Radio will play The Last Post at this time and ask everyone to join in a minute of silence to pay our respects at the same time as your local community.
And why not decorate your driveway or front yard to make ANZAC Day that extra bit special! There’s the bin art option for painters.
Or you can upcycle milk cartons and line your driveway with ANZAC Day lanterns.
Tricia Preston shared her wonderful ANZAC Day lanterns on Facebook. She just used 2lt plastic milk cartons and permanent marker pens. To get the designs on the cartons, she printed out a picture and used it as a stencil – putting it on the inside while tracing on the outside. Once you’ve coloured them in, just add some sand to weigh them down and a tea light.
Or you could place poppies you’ve made (see next activity) in your front yard, along your fence or on your letterbox.
Poppies have become increasingly part of ANZAC Day commemorations, being added to wreaths and memorials. Making poppies with your children is a great way for them to be part of ANZAC Day and a nice way to decorate your home, particularly this year when we mark the day at home.
And there are so many different ways you can make them! Laughing Kids Learn has 11 different poppy crafts, including the paper plate one above.
We also like this paper and pipe cleaner one from Kidspot.
And this cupcake case one from Be a Fun Mum.
4Bake Anzac Biscuits
A great activity to do with kids for ANZAC Day is to make some ANZAC biscuits. But first things first – do you like your ANZAC biscuits chewy or crunchy? I like them a bit of both! Here is my go to recipe and I’ve made thousands of these over the years.
ANZAC Biscuit Recipe
Ingredients: 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup dessicated coconut, 1/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed, 125g butter, 1/4 cup golden syrup, 1 tablespoon hot water and 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb.
Method: Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Mix the flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter and syrup in a small saucepan. Dissolve the bi-carb with the hot water and then add to the saucepan. It will foam up and then quickly add it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix together. Now get a teaspoon of mixture and roll it into a ball in your hands (best to wet your hands slightly so the mixture doesn’t stick to them). Put the balls of ANZAC biscuit mixture on a lined baking tray and press down lightly (my kids love doing this part). Then put them in the oven for 10-15mins. Once cooked, leave them on the tray or cooling rack to cool down and harden.
Now if you like you ANZAC biscuits CHEWY, I’ve found there are two things you can do – add slightly more bi-carb and don’t press down so much on the biscuit mixture, thus making them slightly thicker.
But if you like your ANZAC biscuits CRUNCHY, press them almost flat and add slightly less bi-carb.
Get your kids involved in making a wreath to mark ANZAC Day and hang it on your front door or letter box. If you have rosemary growing in your garden or nearby park, then you can tie it together to make a wreath. Or you can use egg cartons or cupcake cases to make one.
The RSL Education website has a few different ANZAC Day themed games for kids and families to play.
There are a host of ANZAC inspired story books for children, which are a helpful way for them to start to learn and appreciate the significance of the day. But with libraries closed, you’ll need to look to YouTube for some online readings of the books or online storytime services, like Storybox Library. It has eight ANZAC related storybooks that you can wathc being read by well known Australians online, including ANZAC Ted, Anzac Biscuits and I Was Only Nineteen. It is free to access if you’re a member of the following local Council library services – Cumberland Council, City of Ryde, Hornsby Shire and The Hills Shire.
To help mark ANZAC Day at home, there is a special Anzac Day 2020 Spotify playlist.
9Hold a Minutes Silence
Why do we commemorate ANZAC Day? How has our Defence history shaped Australian society and culture? What challenges have our service men and women faced, both in days gone by and today? RSL Education provides the answers to these questions and more with resources and activities for school students.
Send an email to express your support and thoughts to our troops. Emails are very much appreciated by Australian Defence Force members on operations.
You can also donate to the RSL Australian Forces Overseas Fund. This fund sends care packages to Australian Defence Force members who are away from their families and friends, serving Australia, on Anzac Day (and Christmas Day).
12Take a Virtual Tour of Key ANZAC Locations
From the comfort of home, you can visit the locations of battles and other places where Australians have served. Just download the ANZAC 360 app and take a virtual tour of the Western Front in France, the Burma-Thailand railway and Hellfire Pass, and the Sandakan Death March in Borneo. You can also experience some of the Gallipoli sites of World War I via the Anzac Walk podcast.