One of the major symbols of Remembrance Day is the red poppy flower. Since I'm always looking for ways in which to teach my kids about why we celebrate holidays like Veterans Day and Memorial Day, I decided a poppy craft might be a great idea. But how do I explain to them WHY the poppy holds significance to honoring veterans?
In our local library's children's biography section, I found the book The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Elizabeth Walsh. The book is targeted toward 7-10 year olds, but I read it to my 5 year old just the same. I simplified some of the vocabulary so she could understand it, and had to explain certain aspects of the book more than I would to an older kid, but she enjoyed it and learned from it (as did I.) Although the book deals with war and destruction and death, the illustrations are realistic without being graphic or disturbing to children. One particular (and beautiful) illustration shows a soldier standing in a cross-filled cemetery in a field covered with red poppies - this really got through to her and she was able to associate the poppies with the fallen soldiers. (She did remark about how sad it was.) Later on in the book, we see Moina and others wearing red poppies on their lapels, and that illustration, too, helped my daughter understand how our act of wearing poppies serves as a reminder to others that we should remember and honor our veterans.
For our craft, first we made a field of poppies. For this, you will just need some red paper, scissors, glue, a green crayon, and a white sheet of paper. We used some red paint sample cards that I had left over from another craft. I had some black buttons lying around, so we used those for the center of each poppy, but you could just use black paper, too.