Suggestions for "Rations Day" at school!


My middle schoolers will be studying WWII in History, and I plan to assign a Lang Arts novel about WWII at the same time.

I want to plan a Rations Day for them at school. No snacks and a lunch similar to what those on rations might have eaten. (the book they’ll be reading is The Winged Watchman, about the Nazi occupation of Holland)

What other things could I do to make the day stand out?


A blackout?

Viewing the movie “The Hiding Place” based on the book by Corrie Ten Boom.

Another book I’d suggest - “The Shadow of His Wings”


Are you trying to make it like we were in the US or in England? You could do a room or two with “black out” curtains, work a Victory Garden and find some butterless, sugarless, eggless cake recipes (they exist!)

You could also do a mock-up of saving every piece of rubber you can find, remember no silk hose for women - show them how to “make a line” on the backs of their legs like they had them on yet they were bare legged.

I know my daughter would have been absolutely fascinated by the clothing fashions of the time - is that something you could do?

Just thinking out loud with you.

Brenda V.



The American Girls doll series has a WW 2 girl, named Molly. They publish a cookbook . . .

No need to forego electricity. They used electric lights in those days, y’know! :smiley: No TV though. Radio was big. There are recordings of WW 2 period radio broadcasts . . .


I would suggest getting one of your kids’ grandparents, great uncles/aunts in to give the kids a talk about how it was. I just lost my last grandparent – a grandfather who was in WWII (actually both my grandfathers were). But he used to tell us stories of when he was in the war – not anything horrific, just some fun stuff they did. In case you don’t have anyone that can come talk to the class – which is sad because they’re so aged now and we’re losing some every day – here is on of his favorites that he like to tell:

They were in France camping near a chateau. They were very tired of eating their packaged meals (the WWII version of an MRE). They happened to be camped near a lake so my grandfather and a few other soldiers took some of their grenades, pulled the pin, threw them in the lake, and had fresh fish for supper.

You could also get your students to ask their grandparents who served to tell them their stories and present those to the class – one, this gets information to the students; but more importantly, it preserves the stories of these great and brave men and women.


BBC Schools has a full curriculum of stuff that apply to objectives for the UK school system. One of the requirements is a big unit, several times, on WWII.

You might find some of this material a bit young for your middle schoolers, but hey, give it a shot:

If your school has Discovery Education, there is a HUGE pile of downloads and film footage.


KCT - are you talking about a regular classroom full of middle schoolers? Does the school have a basement? Or semi-basement (sorry, my brain is just not working but most schools I went to that had a basement were only 1/2 way underground so the windows would be smaller yet still exists). If the school will allow you to, turn this basement into a fall out shelter, yes, they did this in London!

As far as rationing goes, if you can contact someone who grew up in London or England who is about 50 or a little older they can talk about the aftermath of the war and how rationing continued for years after. We here in the US were able to recover much quicker from the war rationing because we are a large land mass and we did not have the fighting occurring on our land. Read some of the All Creatures books (last one really talks about the war years). PBS has a series too where you might get to see what the fashions were at the time. Of course, cameras were being more readily used so you could try and find more pictures of this.

Brenda V.


Just thought of this, what about the music of the time? How widely popular were some songs? When I was an early teen we lived in Germany (this was the late 1960’s early 1970’s) and we found out that what was popular with the military persons (both dependents and the younger GI’s) was different from what was popular in the US or even with our English speaking brethren in the UK. Our top 10 was different from the UK’s top 10 was different from our Cousin’s in the US’s top 10.

Still who were the popular groups or singers, the Crooners, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra? What about popular movies?

There is a whole lot you can do on this whole time period alone.

Brenda V.


If you’re talking about an American public school, remember this is the litigious Turn of the 21st Century and asking the kids to eat anything in particular or do anything else that might trigger an allergy could lead to more than you can deal with. But it would be really cool if you could replicate the experience.


I found you a few more sites that might be helpful to your project: (Really interesting!) (Tells about how to make popcorn flour, a stertcher for flour during WWII)

#12 (Tells about how to make popcorn flour, a stertcher for flour during WWII)

OutinChgoBurbs - as someone who is wheat/gluten intolerant I have read about and cooked/baked with a lot of wheat substitute flours and heard for the first time about popcorn flour recently in one of my searches for recipes and products - I just can’t imagine it is from popped pop-corn. Still an interesting thing.

KCT you will have to tell us how this all turned out.

Brenda V.


Brenda- As a low-carber, I know about certain derivatives of corn and cellulose-based plants that are low-to-no carb, but I had never heard of making popcorn into flour, either. I thought it was a good inclusion.

I did hear A LOT from my mother and grandmother about using cornflakes as a substitute for breadcrumbs and breading during WWII. I was really looking for a meatloaf recipe that included cornflakes, as well as cornflake cookies.


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