Homefront ’40

We offer a choice of Second World War workshops (click the link for each listing):


In-School Day: Operation Pied Piper

It is October 1940, and the Luftwaffe’s bombing raids have switched from military to civilian targets — the Blitz has begun.

1940sHM Government ordered your school to evacuate last autumn, and the children travelled by train to safety in the countryside as part of Operation Pied Piper. The children live in foster homes and will remain for an indefinite amount of time.

Due to school overcrowding, the children attend class only during the morning (local children attend in the afternoon). During class the children learn about war precautions such as war precautions, old money and rationing. The lessons receive reinforcement in the afternoon when the children visit our village shops, including a dairy, a butcher and a green grocer. How far will their ration books get them?

(View our risk assessment for the day’s activities in a new tab.)

By the end of the school workshop, the children should have a good understanding of the cause and effect of the evacuations during the Second World War.

How You Contribute to the Day

To make the most of your children’s day, please help us with the following:

  • Adult helpers: We will need 10 adults to help run the shops in the afternoon. The adults are welcome to watch the morning session, but are not needed to supervise.
  • The school hall: Please reserve the school hall for the full day (it is not a problem if it is used for lunch).
  • Food: Please provide a small amount of food for the afternoon tea room. (It is a very small amount that helps set the scene — you can find details in the booklet when it arrives.)
  • Costumes: Please encourage the children to dress up in simple costumes. It helps them feel the part.


What to Wear

Costumes need not be complicated — we suggest the following “homemade” alternatives:

  • Boys: Collared shirt (with tie, if possible); grey jumper; dark shorts (sports shorts are fine); socks and black or brown shoes (no trainers, if possible)
  • Girls: Collared shirt (with tie, if possible); grey jumper; dark short or pinafore dress; socks and black or brown shoes (no trainers, if possible)


Virtual Workshop: Life on the Home Front


Meet Susan, a St Albans housewife during the Second World War. The war upended everything in her family’s lives – her son now serves in the military, her husband patrols as an ARP warden, her daughter joined the Women’s Land Army, and an 11-year-old evacuee now lives with them. Susan discusses the many ways life changed, including coping with rationing. But there goes the air raid siren – time to take cover!

The topics covered during the workshop include:

  • How the war started and why
  • Impacts on the home front such as food and clothing rationing
  • Ways that ordinary people supported the war effort
  • The evacuation of children from the cities (Operation Pied Piper)
  • The effects of air raids


How Does the Workshop Work?

The new workshops consist of two key elements:

  • A box packed with individual activities kits for each child in your group (plus a few extra, just in case). The kits contain up to six activities, which the children can do at their own desks.
  • A pre-recorded video made by our knowledgeable teachers that leads the children through the narrative and gives purpose to the activities they do along the way.

The workshops can take place in your own room at your own pace – we give you access to the video for several days, so you can rewind, replay, or break up the activities as you see fit.

Our school trials so far indicate that they can fill up to half a day.

For a small additional fee, you can also choose to add on an hour of “live” teaching time with one of our qualified teachers. This extra time, which takes place via video conferencing software, is a chance to add extra engagement to the day – the children can prepare questions, take notes from the answers, discuss artefacts and explore the materials used to make them, and generally probe further into the learning.


What Activities are Included?

The items include a cipher wheel, a toy plane made with a clothes pin, a dip pen and National ID card, a paper gas mask box with string, a foil ARP badge and a yarn bobble.
Objects the children make during the 1940s virtual workshop

As mentioned, each child will receive an activities kit to match the video. There are a few basic supplies such as PVA glue, scissors, and pencils that the school will need to provide, but otherwise the children will receive the necessary materials to make six projects:

  • A dip pen (to fill out their National ID card)
  • A cipher wheel
  • An ARP badge
  • A toy plane
  • A yarn bobble
  • A gas mask box

The workshop will also come with an information sheet for teachers, which will detail the learning outcomes, extra supplies that might be needed and possible follow-up learning.

How Much Does a Virtual Workshop Cost?

The pricing scheme is straightforward. We charge £300.00 for the first 30 children, plus £6.00 for each additional child (the costs are inclusive of 20% VAT, which the school can claim back.) Shipping is free.

The optional hour of video conferencing with one of our knowledgeable teachers can be purchased for an additional £60.00 (incl. 20% VAT).

How Do I Book a Workshop?

Please feel free to contact us by form, e-mail or telephone. Let us know the week you would like to use the workshop, and whether you would like the optional live teaching time, and we are happy to help.

Since the virtual workshops do not depend on our diary, there is no limit on when they can be ordered. Once full payment is received, we can turn them around and get them into schools within days. (Or they can be ordered well ahead and delivery scheduled – it is very flexible.)

Photos of the Day: