This short, fun activity encourages children to make their own ‘prisoner of war parcels’ and think about helping others in need, making links with topics such as rationing. The activity also offers scope for art and design work.
This activity is based on Joint War Organisation food parcels sent to Prisoners of War (POWs) throughout the Second World War.
We suggest you view and print out several stories in the Wounded & Missing, and POWs section, especially
These stories, facts and images will help you discuss with pupils why parcels were sent to POWs and what sorts of things were sent.
Next, ask the pupils to imagine someone they know and love (it could be a family member, or a friend) is somewhere overseas with no contact with their friends or family. Tell them they are going to be making a parcel to send to them.
Pupils can use the magazines to cut out pictures of the kinds of food they would send. They could draw pictures if they prefer. Encourage them to think about non-perishable food, using the Joint War Organisation Parcels fact sheet for examples.
Pupils could also include pictures of sports equipment, books and games – anything they think the recipient would need or like. Pupils can then decorate the outside of their boxes. If they want, they can stick a graphic on the top (available here) to make them look like real Joint War Organisation parcels, address them, and tie them up with string.
During this activity you could talk about rationing and the types of food that everyday people would have been able to get. You could also talk about how difficult it was to write to POWs (see the fact sheet Writing to a POW for more information), and how this must have made their families feel. Pupils could write a letter to the person they are sending the parcel to, following the guidelines in the Writing to a POW fact sheet.