If someone asks me to think of a quintessentially Australian experience, I automatically think of ANZAC Day. It perfectly demonstrates the dichotomy of Australian culture – we attend deeply respectful services in the morning, then we have a craic playing two up and listening to yarns in the afternoon. We are a nation of larrikins, a people that loves sunshine and a good BBQ, but we are also a nation that shows deep respect to those who’ve sacrificed to defend those left behind. This makes it one of the most important topics to raise with our children, but how does one do that exactly?
Bear is 2 and while I don’t want him to know about the horrors of the world just yet, I do want him to understand why ANZAC Day is so marked within his country. Like so many difficult subjects, I believe the best way to tackle it is by reading and luckily there are some truly beautiful picture books out there for just this purpose.
The Book – ANZAC Ted
Author & Illustrator: Belinda Landsberry
While there are some truly amazing ANZAC Day picture books out there, I think the story of Anzac Ted – the teddy bear who went to war is most accessible to very young children. It tells the story of a little boy and his banged up teddy bear. The little boy takes Ted to school, where he is mocked by the other children for his grubby appearance. Ted’s owner doesn’t care because Ted has a secret – he’s a hero who brought comfort to ANZAC soldiers. It’s a beautiful story about not only accepting people for who they are on the inside, but also about the people who were barely out of childhood themselves before they were thrust into war. Anzac Ted manages to touch on some very serious issues in a way that’s accessible to toddlers and isn’t too confronting for parents.
The Play: Making Patty Pan Poppies
- 2 x Red cupcake cases
- Green pipe cleaners
- Black Sharpie or Marker
- Craft Glue
- Turn the two cupcake cases inside out.
- Measure 1cm in on the first cupcake case and cut a wavy edge all the way around
- Measure 1/2 cm on the second patty pan case, and cut it around the same way.
- Draw a black centre inside the smaller cupcake case.
- Glue the smaller cupcake case inside the larger one.
- Glue the flower on to the pipe cleaners. Cut the pipe cleaner in half to make a buttonhole poppy or leave intact to put them in a vase.