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Lesson Plan: Flowers for Freedom Activity


To increase youth’s awareness of the importance of remembering Canadian efforts in the Italian Campaign.


Youth will:

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

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 5 to 12.

Sequence of Events and Anticipated Time Frame [30 minutes]

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

  • Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Read Aloud [5 minutes]
  • Colouring Sheet / Art Activity [15 minutes]


Discussion [10 minutes]

Provide the children with a bit of an understanding about the Second World War. Talk about how the war began in 1939, before their parents or maybe even their grandparents were born. Look at a map and locate the continent of Europe. Discuss how far away Europe is from Canada and North America.

Mention that a war started in Europe when one country was bullying some of the other countries. Canada decided this bullying needed to stop, and thousands of Canadians went over to Europe to help.

The Italian Campaign was an important battle for Canada during the Second World War that lasted a long time—almost two years.

Canadians showed how determined they were to protect global peace and freedom, but it was very hard and dangerous for the soldiers. Many were hurt and died.

It was also hard on the people who lived there in Italy. There was a war going on in their homeland, and people were being hurt. The Italians were very thankful and grateful to the Canadians who were there to help them. Some people became good friends with the Canadian soldiers. They would talk to them and even prepare meals for them. Over the years, the Italians have never forgotten the Canadians who helped.

Read Aloud [5 minutes]

Read aloud the Flowers Honour Liberty story to help children understand how the Canadians helped in Italy during the Second World War, and how the Italians continue to this day to thank the Canadians who helped.

Follow – Up Discussion

Begin a discussion with students on how people can show thanks. What better way is there to say thank you than with flowers? Long a symbol of powerful emotions, flowers also play a role in reminding us of important moments in our history.

Did you know, for example, that the daisy became a sign of resistance in the Netherlands during the Second World War? That the tulip became a sign of friendship between the Netherlands and Canada? Or that Newfoundlanders wear forget-me-nots each July 1st in memory of those who fought and died at Beaumont-Hamel, France, during the First World War’s Battle of the Somme?

Talk to your class about making remembrance more than something you feel, but something you could also do—like planting a Garden of Remembrance or laying flowers at your local cenotaph.

If you don’t have access to fresh flowers, you could make paper, tissue or construction paper flowers to lay at your local cenotaph or around your school to remember those who served in the Italian Campaign.

Get started by checking out these resources:

Colouring Sheet Activity [15 minutes]

Explain to the students that the red poppy is a symbol of remembrance. During the First World War, the poppy was one of the only flowers that would grow in the ruined fields of France and Belgium. It self-seeded and so could continue growing year after year. Sometimes it was the only spot of colour the soldiers saw as the trees and grass were replaced by the shattered trunks and mud of war.

We wear poppies on November 11th to publicly show we respect and remember the men and women from all over the world who died for peace and freedom.

You may wish to read aloud A Poppy is to Remember by Heather Patterson.

If appropriate for the ages of your children, provide them with the poppy colouring sheet. Alternately, children could create a drawing expressing their feelings about what they have learned in this lesson. Once completed, you may wish to display the sheets.

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