The International Day of Peace or Peace Day is September 21 this year (well, every year), and it’s the perfect chance to add some peaceful activities for kids into your classroom plans. We’ve put together a look at 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, after all. Peace is talking about fairness, justice, inner peace, respect for the environment, and a whole lot more!
What Is the Theme for Peace Day 2021?
You can stick to general peace activities for kids — like the ones we’re about to discuss — but perhaps you want to focus on the International Peace Day 2021 theme? This year the UN is focusing Peace Day around the theme “Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world.” No surprise, that recovery touches on the pandemic.
Peace Day Activities for Kids
Celebrating Peace Day doesn’t need to be a huge lesson. Spend some time talking about what the day is and why it’s important. You may opt to read one of the suggested stories at the bottom of this blog and then complete one of these cute classroom craft ideas to display in your classroom as a talking point for visitors to your classroom — perhaps something to show parents during parent/teacher conferences.
Why not invite the principal in to view the students’ work and hear what they have to say about International Day of Peace?
Make a ‘Peace is…’ Heart Mobile
Cut out hearts — or make it easy on yourself and use our free 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 some colored streamers or crepe paper on the heart. Fan out the other heart templates at the top to create this gorgeous peace mobile to hang around your classroom.
Dove + Origami = Peace
The dove is a common bird that has very symbolic history. Many religions and cultures celebrate doves as a symbol of peace. The best part is that doves live all over the world.
Match the dove with the tradition of Japanese paper folding – origami, which has become a symbol of peace because of a young girl named Sadako Sasaki, and you have the ultimate International Peace Day activity. Why not get your students to follow along with this video to create their very own origami dove (or grab the origami instructions to print out for each student)?
Teach Starter Teacher Tip: Pause as each step is completed.
Pinwheels for Peace
Jump on board the pinwheels for peace initiative! This initiative uses a pinwheel as it symbolizes childhood or a time when things were simple, joyful, and peaceful.
Use our Mindfulness Pinwheel Template, and have students create their own pinwheel and write words that relate to peace on the white space. They can even add a wish for the world on the pinwheel. Then ‘plant’ the pinwheels outside as a whole class or better yet, the whole school. The idea is that the spinning of the pinwheels in the wind will spread thoughts and feelings about peace throughout the country.
Make an impact by ‘planting’ the pinwheels in the peace symbol shape in the school yard.
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. Why not have your students learn this song to perform for the whole school to spread peace? But, be careful, it’s an earworm and will be in your head 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 do easily 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 to complete a whole class commitment to peace.
Create a Paper Plate Peace Wreath
Wreaths have much history and symbolism associated with them. They are usually made from evergreens and symbolize 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 word wall of words relating to peace that your students can then use in their writing journals. Alternatively, use the words to create a word search with the words associated with peace using our word search widget.
Peace Symbol + Olive Tree Leaves
Print out our peace symbol template that is included in our Peace Day download. You can get your students to decorate the peace symbol as you see fit.
We decided to use an olive tree branch and fill in the template with olive leaves for this very effective combination of peace symbols in one activity.
Peace Day Creative Writing Prompts
Get your students to write about peace using a variety of writing prompts. We used our Butterfly tray labels to create these super easy writing prompts you could have ready for your students to use.
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.
There seems to be more and more ‘days’ that teachers are encouraged to discuss with their students. It can get really difficult to pick which days you want to focus on in your classroom along with all of the other things you need to teach, but we know the social-emotional welfare of our students is so important. This is a neat idea to get your kids thinking about International Peace Day without taking up too much time.
Each morning the week prior to International Peace Day why not write a message and get your students to answer a question relating to peace?
Here’s an awesome visual idea by our friend Sarah over at @teacherishappy.
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.