The war in Ukraine is such an unfortunate situation that doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. With the Ukraine war dominating our daily news, it’s natural for kids to be curious.
I’m all for telling kids the truth as is age appropriate. Some students will be learning about Ukraine as an already existing lesson component in social studies or history.
Or, you may want to add some Ukraine activities to the end of this school year.
War in Ukraine
The most recent Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February of 2022. The latest on the Ukraine tells us that Putin and Russia have no plans to withdraw any time soon. This could go on for years.
I’m very Polish (like very Polish on my mom’s side) so I do feel a certain kinship and camaraderie with the Ukrainian people. We have been talking about this with my 13-year-old when he asks about it. We are one of ‘those families’ who has the TV on quite often, and in the evenings it’s network news.
Of course, he is only 13. So, he has asked things like “well, why don’t we just go kill Putin if he’s killing all those people?”
It can be difficult to explain that without exacerbating his anxiety. Or mine! But, since Russia owns more nuclear weapons than anyone else, it is a complex situation.
Still, this will likely be a defining world event of their lifetime, so they should learn it.
I’m excited to share this PDF workbook with you. All 66 pages of it!
Learning a new alphabet can be fun. The bulk of this free PDF on the Ukraine is the Cyrillic alphabet, which the alphabet that Ukrainian people use.
You can look online for YouTube videos that will demonstrate the sounds of how to pronounce the Cyrillic alphabet. That’s a nice complement to this activity.
You may want to ask your class if they have any friends or family from the Ukraine who may wish to come speak and share traditions.
The Philadelphia area (where I live) actually has the largest Ukrainian population in the USA. It’s not hard to find some authentic Ukrainians here! And, relief efforts are at Ukrainian churches all over the place. You may want to do a fundraiser or dry goods drive as part of your lesson.
Ukrainian Culture Workbook
This workbook is 15 pages and a lot of fun. Interesting facts about Ukraine too.
Please note that this workbook does contain a prayer page with Prayers for Ukraine. Depending on your setting and your beliefs, you may or may not want to include it. I know many Ukrainian churches will be using lessons like these as part of Sunday School, so I wanted to leave it in.
There are also some Ukrainian recipes if you’re feeling brave. A map of the Ukraine is included for kids to color in, as well as some fill in the blank and other activities.
Teaching Kids about Ukraine War
Whether you’re doing this at the end of school 2022, or in the beginning of next year in the fall, this is an informative curriculum about Ukraine. Kids will have questions, but they should learn about world events.
I hate that everything is so politicized these days, that I feel I have to overexplain myself even about providing a unit about Ukraine. Helping kids learn the truth about our world, even the atrocities, is essential. It’s unfortunate that some folks out there still do not even believe that this is happening. Because what is happening to the Ukrainian people is awful.
We don’t do kids any favors by shielding them from this information, and it can be presented on an age appropriate level.
I hope this makes a difficult topic easier for you to teach. I know it’s much more fun to do something like Gallon Man.
And, for those of you directly affected by the War in Ukraine, know that lots of people are thinking about you, donating, and doing what we can.
Lisa Lightner is an award-winning and nationally-known Special Education Advocate and Lobbyist who lives in suburban Philadelphia. She has or is serving on the Boards of numerous disability and education related organizations including the Epilepsy Foundation and PA Education Voters. She also has testified before State House and Senate committees relating to special education issues and education funding issues.