To follow up on Wednesday's activity, I printed out some line drawings of Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Mussolini, Hirohito, and Roosevelt, and maps of Europe and Asia. Yesterday I gave Iona the chance to colour them in, although she decided to rebel and scream that she didn't want to join in. However, I persisted with sticking the people onto card and giving them little card sticks for using them as stick puppets, and cutting out the main countries involved in World War 2. As I did so she became more interested, and started colouring over the Europe map that I'd left whole as a background. Once I'd finished preparing the pieces we started our "puppet show".
I began with "Once upon a time..." and introduced the 6 characters and the countries they led. I then said that Hitler was a very bad man who was nasty to lots of people in his country and wanted to own other countries (reminding her of what we'd played the day before about wanting things that weren't yours). I got the Hitler puppet to start taking the cut-out countries, then made the Churchill puppet tell him "No, you mustn't!". I then passed Churchill to Iona, who was getting very interested by now, and she enjoyed making him argue with Hitler. I said that Churchill couldn't fight with Hitler, because he had an army around him, so he sent his army to fight Hitler's army. I then got the other Axis puppets to start taking the relevant countries, too, and the other Allies to help Churchill. While doing it I made a point of talking about where Iona's Grandpa (my Dad) went (India) and that he was fighting the Japanese, although we're now friends and even have them in our family (my brother is married to a Japanese). I got the Allies to take back the countries from the Axis bit by bit, and mentioned carefully the ends of the Axis leaders (glossing over the details). I stressed that because of what Churchill and the armies did we're now free and able to live in peace. Iona so enjoyed the game that she made Churchill take all the countries away, although I pointed out that he didn't really do that but allowed the countries to be free again. She enjoyed it so much that she carried Churchill around the house for quite some time, talking to him and including him in her games!
I must admit that I've been wondering why I'm doing this subject with Iona at such a young age, apart from trying to cover history backwards. I realise that 3 is very young to be talking about Hitler and such subjects. However, I came to the conclusion while walking the dog yesterday that it's because, unlike most children of her age, her Grandad was actually in the War, because my parents were so old when they had me and I was equally old when I had Iona. Now my Dad is dead, and Iona will never know him, I want to be sure that she's always aware of what he went through while he was still a teenager, and why. Although I'm a pacifist, I've always been proud of Dad's service in the Burma campaign, and I want Iona to be too, and remember it this and every Remembrance Day.