Between 1914 and 1918, everyone was expected to 'do their bit' to help with war work. Young people did many jobs. Around the home they would look after younger brothers and sisters. They helped with housework, carrying water and chopping firewood. They also joined long queues for food in the shops. Food was scarce so growing your own became very important. Children helped dig and weed vegetable patches and worked in the fields at harvest time. Boy Scouts carried messages for the War Office and guarded important places, such as railway lines and stretches of coastline. They learned to send semaphore messages with small flags. Scouts watched the skies for Zeppelin attacks and sounded their bugles to signal when an air raid was over. Girl Guides carried important messages and helped deliver milk. Guides also parcelled up clothing, such as knitwear, to be sent to soldiers at the Front
Children could take turns to mime a wartime job that a child might have done at home. Can their classmates guess what they're doing? Suggested jobs could include sweeping, dusting, carrying coal, laying sticks on a fire, laying the table, making a bed, peeling potatoes, feeding the chickens and weeding the garden. Girl Guides and Boy Scouts learnt to use flags to send messages during the war years. Explain how flag signals were used, especially by ships at sea before radio. Challenge pupils to devise their own ways of sending a simple message from one side of the playground to the other, using small paper flags. The children could go on to research the semaphore alphabet, using online sources. Girl Guides and Boy Scouts were taught first aid in the war years. Basic first aid could be taught and children could demonstrate their knowledge by writing information texts and pamphlets.