VE Day is coming up on Friday 8th May 2020.

This year, this special date coincides with the early May Day bank holiday. As a result, lots of events were going to be happening up and down the country.

Initially, it was going to be an exciting time to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. A good excuse to celebrate a great occasion.

As the UK is in lockdown due to the coronavirus however, organised events around the country have had to be cancelled, or moved online.

Lockdown doesn’t mean that we can’t still have a weekend of celebrations to mark this special moment in history though.

What is VE Day?

VE Day is short for ‘Victory of Europe Day’, and was the day on which allied forces announced the surrender of Germany in Europe in 1945. In other words, it was the day that marked the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign. At 3pm on 8th May 1045, Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the nation that the war was over.

On that day, a crowd of 50,000 took to the streets in Piccadilly Circus, cheering and waving flags to celebrate.

Usually, we’d all be seeing the occasion is celebrated with street parties, community gatherings, organised events, and a parade through Westminster towards Buckingham Palace.

Not this year though. So how can we celebrate VE Day at home?

Well, the street parties and parades might not be going ahead, but there are still lots of ways you can enjoy this momentous celebration.

Having fun at home

Have a look at these ideas of things you can do with your kids at home to celebrate the occasion.

Have a picnic at home. We’re not able to head to the parks or beaches at the moment, but kids always love a picnic, wherever it is. If the weather holds out, why not enjoy a picnic in the garden, or if it’s too wet, have a carpet picnic indoors instead? Just make sure you are observing social distancing wherever you hold it.

Decorate your house. Add a bit of patriotic cheer to your windows by making your own bunting, hanging flags, and making decorations to celebrate the occasion.

Join in with a virtual event. There are online events being planned all over the country, with lots of fun activities. For instance, how about vintage dance sessions, family yoga, music, magic and circus skills?

Get your bake on. English Heritage has a VE Day At Home pack for families to download. The pack includes recipes for ginger beer, lemonade, carrot scones and cheese-and-marmite swirls, as well as tips for dancing lindy hop-style music to enjoy too.

Afternoon tea. Once you have your goodies sorted, enjoy an afternoon tea at home. Include scones and a classic Victoria sponge cake with a nice pot of tea.

Throw your own virtual party. Invite your friends and family to your tea party or picnic using a video call platform such as Zoom, FaceTime or Houseparty.

Raise a glass to the heroes. No party is complete without a cocktails and some canapés. A simple Pimms and lemonade is quintessentially British, but obviously not appropriate for little party guests. Fun alcohol-free mocktails mean that everyone can raise a glass to those who fought for our country. Above all, that’s what it’s all about.

VE Day bunting

VE Day activities for the kids

Enjoy the TV specials. You can even enjoy some of the TV specials planned for Friday, with documentaries, unseen footage and lots more for the whole family. The Queen is also making a speech at 9pm on BBC One. This is the exact same time that her father, King George VI, spoke to the UK 75 years ago. It’s definitely a day to let the kids watch the telly and get their questions flowing. Check out the Radio Times listings.

Get imaginative with fancy dress. Research what children in the 1940s used to wear, and recreate what you can with the kids. Even if you don’t have everything you’d like, it’s a fun research project and conversation starter with children.

Listen to war time songs. Music was such a massive part of the war and keeping everyone’s spirits up. Therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity to educate kids about 1940s music, wartime songs, and artists such as Dame Vera Lynn.

Get crafting. A simple search for free VE Day crafts will throw back hundreds of things to make with kids. Try simple WW2 Spitfire Glider paper craft project and Union Jack colouring sheets that are both free to download.

Enjoy a history lesson. And last but not least, try to get children involved with understanding the significance of the day. There are a whole load of resources in the Teach section of the website, with specific topics and videos about WW2.