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Lesson Plan: Handmade Gift of Love


To increase youth awareness of Canadian efforts in the Liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War.


Youth will:

  • develop a basic understanding of the Canadian efforts in the Liberation of the Netherlands;
  • develop an awareness of the friendly bond that existed between Dutch citizens and Canadian soldiers; and
  • develop an awareness of the importance of remembering the sacrifices and achievements of those who served in the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Target Audience

This activity is suitable for ages 8 to 12.

Sequence of events and anticipated time frame [30 minutes]

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

  • Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]
  • Reading Activity [5 minutes]
  • Cruncher Paper Activity [15 minutes]


  • "The Little Coat – A Handmade Gift of Love" story
  • Instructions for the Liberation of the Netherlands cruncher paper (PDF) activity
  • World map showing Netherlands/Europe and North America

Introductory Discussion [10 minutes]

Brainstorm with the youth on what they know about wars. Do they know of any times when our country has had to fight in a conflict? Have they heard of the First and Second World Wars? Do they know when they took place? More than one million Canadians served in uniform during the Second World War—that is more than the population of some provinces. Ask students if any of them are aware of how Canada helped win the war. Have they ever heard of the Liberation of the Netherlands in a book, movie or from others talking about it? You may wish to record their responses.

Show where the Netherlands is on a map and how far away it is from home. Explain how wars are hard and very dangerous for those who serve in them. You could discuss things like the terrain of the Netherlands that it is very flat and below sea level and many places need dykes to hold back the sea! Share other basic information about the battle and the bravery of those who fought to help set the stage for the Cruncher Paper activity. Before beginning this activity, you may wish to read the Canada Remembers the Liberation of the Netherlands historical sheet to familiarize yourself with Canada’s efforts there.

Read Aloud [5 minutes]

The Canadian soldiers fought in many difficult battles, but eventually they did help to free the Dutch people from the enemy, and helped them to get food and warm clothing. They were very thankful for the help from Canadians and many people became good friends with Canadian soldiers. The Canadian soldiers also appreciated how friendly the Dutch people were to them because they were far away from home and missed their own families.

Read aloud or have students individually read "The Little Coat – A Handmade Gift of Love" story to understand how Canadian soldiers helped the Dutch people in times of war and how the Dutch people themselves provided friendship for the Canadians far from home. If time allows, you could also watch the short video (1 minute 30 seconds) The Cretier Coat produced by Virtual Museum of Canada.

Follow up with a short discussion. How do students feel about the story?

Cruncher Paper Activity [15 minutes]

Provide students with a cruncher paper (PDF) handout. The cruncher is a fun activity that will help children learn more about the Liberation of the Netherlands.

Read the instructions for folding a cruncher.

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