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A Teddy Bear at War


To increase youth awareness of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele in the First World War and to encourage youth to remember the sacrifices and achievements made by Canadians.


Youth will be expected to:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts in the Battle of Passchendaele; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served and those who died.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 5 to 7.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [approximately 35 minutes]

(This activity can be modified to fit available time.)

  • Introductory discussion [10 minutes]
  • Viewing a Poster [5 minutes]
  • Read aloud [5 minutes]
  • Connect the Dots activity sheet [15 minutes]


Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

Have a brief discussion with your students about what makes a person a friend. Discuss sharing, playing together, helping, etc. Then shift the conversation to what they think a whole country could do to be a friend.

Provide the children with a bit of an understanding about the First World War. Talk about how the war began more than 100 years ago, well before their parents and even their grandparents were born! Look at a world map and locate the continent of Europe. Show them the country of Belgium. Discuss and show them how far away Europe is from Canada. You may ask if any of them have ever visited Europe. See if they can spot their own province or territory, and then see if they can find France. Discuss how far away from each other these places are.

Mention that the First World War started in Europe when some of the countries there were “bullying” some other countries. In places like France and Belgium, people and families lost their homes, and many people were cold and hungry. Canada decided to help make this bullying stop, and they sent thousands of soldiers to help.

Some of these brave people were fathers or young sons. It was probably hard for them to leave their families in Canada and go so far away to risk their lives. What would their families be feeling? What would the young men be feeling? Does any child in the class have a parent who has to travel far away for work? If so, how does it make them feel? Or how do they think it would make them feel? Share with the children the Wait for Me Daddy image - the picture of a five-year-old boy running after his dad as he marches off to war. What would the mom and dad be feeling? What would the boy be feeling?

Explain that the Canadian soldiers fought in many difficult battles, and one of them was the Battle of Passchendaele. Help your students to pronounce this difficult word: Pass-chen-daele.

Viewing a Poster [5 minutes]

November 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Canada’s involvement in the First World War’s Battle of Passchendaele that raged in Belgium in 1917. Share the Passchendaele Poster with your students.

The scene depicted on the poster evokes the very real desolation of what was a shattered, muddy battlefield. Amid a landscape marked by countless water-filled shell holes and with the remains of blasted trees looming in the background, a single Canadian soldier stands in the distance, as if contemplating the enormity of the battle. The red poppy offers a vivid splash of colour against the sad battlefield and serves as a call to remember those who served and died in those muddy battlefields for the cause of peace and freedom.

Read Aloud [5 minutes]

Share with your students the handout Teddy in the Trenches to help students understand how Canadians served in the Battle of Passchendaele and that, sadly, many soldiers lost their lives.

Discuss with students what special toys they have that they would consider sending to their parents if they were Aileen. Maybe they could bring it in to show the class and explain why they would choose that toy or object.

Connect the Dots Activity [15 minutes]

Provide the children with Connect the Dots and Word Search activity sheets. Once completed, you may wish to display them on the wall in your school, and perhaps you could take a picture and share them on social media, such as the Canada Remembers Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter.

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