Have you added International Day of Peace (or Peace Day) to your list of fall holidays? Peace Day falls on September 21 each year and is a perfect opportunity to add some peaceful activities for your kids into your classroom plans. Explore our compilation of what Peace Day can look like in the classroom, some ideas for peace activities for kids, plus a look at this year’s theme!
What Do You Do on Peace Day?
Created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981, Peace Day is celebrated around the world, and countless schools and individual classrooms take part every year with peace activities in the classroom from writing peace pledges to creating peace flags or writing about peace.
Teaching kids about peace isn’t just talking about war and conflict. Peace is talking about kindness, fairness, inner peace, respect for the environment, and much more!
What Is the Theme for Peace Day 2022?
You can stick to general peace activities for kids, like the ones we’re about to discuss, but you can also focus on the International Peace Day 2022 theme: “End racism. Build peace.”
Peace Day Activities for Kids
Celebrating Peace Day can be simple. Use your morning meeting as a designated time to discuss peace and kindness with your students. What does peace look like? Why is peace important? How can you promote peace? These are all questions that will hopefully start a thoughtful discussion.
You can also read one of the suggested stories at the bottom of this post and complete some of these cute classroom craft ideas to display as a talking point for visitors — perhaps something to show parents during parent/teacher conferences.
Dove + Origami = Peace
You may have read your class the story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes or may want to this year for Peace Day. It tells the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who was severely injured by one of the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Japan during World War II. Sadako became famous for folding paper cranes shaped like doves after the war, and the tradition of origami or Japanese paper folding became a symbol of peace because of the young heroine. You can combine origami with the story of Sadako Sasaki for a moving International Peace Day activity.
Instead of paper cranes, get your students to follow along with this video to create their own origami dove (or grab the origami instructions to print out for each student), a bird symbolically associated with peace in many religions and cultures.
Teach Starter Teacher Tip: Pause as each step is completed.
Learn About the Nobel Peace Prize
Famous winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace include Martin Luther King Jr., Elie Wiesel, Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, and Malala Yousafzai. What better day is there than the International Day of Peace to introduce your students to these important peacemakers?
Make a ‘Peace is…’ Heart Mobile
Cut out hearts — or make it easy on yourself and use our pre-designed Heart Template. Print four hearts for each student on different colored paper.
Get your students to write what peace means to them on one heart, then stick on some colored streamers or crepe paper. Fan out the other heart templates at the top to create this colorful peace mobile to hang around your classroom.
Dedicate Your Morning Meeting to Peace Day
There seem to be more and more special “days” that teachers are encouraged to discuss with their students, and you have a whole lot of curriculum to get through. Don’t have a lot of time? Try adding some questions about peace to your morning meeting for a quick incorporation of International Peace Day that can set the tone for the rest of the school day.
You can also extend this to a week-long examination of peace, again in your class morning meeting. In the week running up to International Peace Day why not write a message and get your students to answer a question relating to peace?
Pinwheels for Peace
Jump on board the pinwheels for peace initiative as part of the week’s social and emotional learning lesson. Pinwheels symbolize childhood or a time when things were simple, joyful, and peaceful.
Use our Mindfulness Pinwheel Template, to have students create their own pinwheel and write words that relate to peace on the white space. They can even add their own wish for the world. “Plant” the pinwheels outside as a class or better yet, as an entire school! You can even organize the pinwheels in the shape of a peace sign. The spinning pinwheels will symbolize the spread of peaceful thoughts and feelings throughout the country.
Kindness = Peace
To practice kindness is to promote peace. You can easily combine kindness activities and projects with Peace Day discussions, and bring in curriculum too by using kindness and peace as a writing prompt for your students!
Use our Kindness Reflection Mini Booklet to get your students thinking about how they can be kind to others, themselves, and the planet, then have them work individually or in small groups to write out lists of build-ups they can use to share when a friend is having a bad day or ways they can be more at peace with the environment. Tie this activity into a full classroom bulletin board display as a colorful reminder that being kind is easy and makes everyone feel good.
Want to continue with the kindness theme?
These Cool to Be Kind Hat Templates are a sure way to encourage your students to promote kindness and spread peace and love. Perhaps a class photo with these hats will inspire other classes to participate too!
Spread Peace to the Whole School
Apart from being a fantastic way to introduce to your students the basic concepts of peace, this very catchy tune is the perfect assembly performance piece for International Peace Day. Be careful, it can be an earworm for days to come!
“One by one in our work and in our play, we are teaching peace by what we do and what we say!”
For the lyrics check out the Red Grammer website.
Make a Fingerprint Dove Display
Download our Peace Day Craft Templates, and print the dove template on tabloid paper for this activity.
After discussing peace with your students, get them to brainstorm things they could easily do in the classroom or school to commit to peace. Once each student has made their peace pledge, have them add their own fingerprint to the dove as a visual classroom commitment to peace.
Create a Paper Plate Peace Wreath
Wreaths are full of rich history and symbolism. They are usually made from evergreens and represent strength, as evergreens last even through the harshest of winters.
What you’ll need:
- paper plates (with the middle cut out)
- colored paper
- Peace Day templates.
Download and print out our Peace Day template on colored paper. Place students in small groups so that they can share a variety of colors to cover their Peace Day paper plate wreath.
Peace Day Vocabulary Word Search
Create a peace-themed word wall that your students can use in their writing journals. Alternatively, use words associated with peace to create a custom word search using our word search widget.
Peace Symbol + Olive Tree Leaves
Print out our peace symbol template included in our Peace Day download. Have your students decorate as you see fit!
We decided to fill our template with olive leaves to create an effective combination of peace symbols in one activity for Peace Day.
Peace Day Creative Writing Prompts
Get your students to develop their writing skills! We used our Butterfly tray labels to create these super easy, ready-to-use Peace Day writing prompts.
Some writing prompt ideas include:
- What makes you feel peaceful?
- Why is it important to have Peace Day?
- Write a poem about what it sounds like, feels like, and looks like to be peaceful.
- How can we teach people to be peaceful?
- Describe peace in five words.
Foster Inner Peace
It’s important that children understand inner peace. When children practice mindfulness, they can share their peace with others. We have a huge collection of mindfulness resources for kids to get you going with this idea.
Here are some other tips about teaching kids about mindfulness:
Children’s Books About Peace
There are a number of beautiful children’s books that can help your students understand the many sides of peace.
Here are three of our favorites:
This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all.
When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through accessible mindfulness practice. Susan Verde’s gentle narration and Peter H. Reynold’s gorgeous illustrations bring mindfulness into a kid-friendly level.
This beautiful story delivers a positive message of peace with bright bold colors and silly scenes. Perfect for young readers, the importance of friendship, caring, and acceptance are brought to life.