VE Day 75: Commemorate it with this musical activity

VE Day - or Victory in Europe Day - commemorates the surrender of Nazi Germany in World War Two in 1945. Held on May 8th, commemorations honouring war veterans are held across the UK.

This year is the 75th anniversary of VE Day and Bring the Noise has collaborated with the National Memorial Arboretum for a special activity plan that reflects the spirit of the event.

The Arboretum, which is the UK's year-round centre of Remembrance says that "returning home" is one of the major themes explored during the day; and as such our activity plan is based around the song Take You Home.

The activity plan is available as a PDF, which can be viewed and downloaded here. It is aimed at Key Stage 1 pupils; but can be used with children of any age with adult guidance and can be held both at home and in the classroom.

Learning outcomes: By taking part in this activity, children will learn how to listen carefully and explore sounds, sing in an ensemble with others, use rhythm, create sounds and move to music. Plus they will learn to use their voices expressively and develop aural memory.

For more activities around the song Take You Home, you can also learn to perform the song using sign language and explore a wide variety of classroom activities, including some designed for Young Disabled Learners.

Laura White, the composer and singer for Take You Home, says: "I wanted something that made your heart fly when you heard it."

Laura shares her inspiration behind the song and tips on how to write and perform your own song.

Composer and singer, Laura White, performs Take You Home.

To get you started, here is one of the warm-up games from the activity.

Warm Up Activity (12 Minutes)

Instruments? No Space: A hall or a large room is ideal but if doing this at home, find any space that works for you.

Sit the children in a circle. If doing this activity at home, parents or guardians join your child or children on the floor to start with and then work through the activity together.

Ask them to stand and show you their best position for singing. You may find that they stand regimented like soldiers, with their feet together.

Encourage them to have their feet slightly apart, their knees relaxed and their backs tall whilst keeping their chins level. Call this position Number 1.

Now ask the children to sit down, but to sit with their backs tall and their chins level. Call this position Number 2.

Now ask the children to relax in the sitting position. Call this position Number 3.

Call out different positions so that they can practise each one. End with them standing in position Number 1.

Continue into a more vigorous physical warm-up – 'The Rubber Chicken'. Ask them to raise their right arm and shake it eight times, then their left arm, then their right foot followed by their left foot. Ask them if they know what half of eight is and then shake each limb four times, then half of four, then half of two and finally shaking each limb only once.

The final flourish is to bend over and shake the whole body, whilst standing up and shouting 'Rubber Chicken'. Can they do this all again but at a faster tempo?

Read the rest of the Warm Up and main activity here.

Where next?

Colour in your own bunting for VE Day 75
Play It!: EYFS / KS1 Music
Take You Home in BSL
Bring The Noise: Teacher Techniques
Music lesson plan downloads
Music colouring sheets