Medieval Life Lesson
This is part 1 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Cook & eat a Medieval meal, play Medieval games, create Medieval crowns, and more! These lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. They were created by another mom for our weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, family, after school program, camp, or co-op!
1. Pray. Read & discuss Hebrews 13:17.
2. What first comes to your mind when you think of the medieval period? (Allow each child to answer.)
3. Read Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole.
You will need:
- Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole or other book on the medieval period
Book to Read for Activity 3
In the fun Magic School Bus fashion, Ms. Frizzle and Arnold go on a "field trip" to the Middle Ages. The book defines a castle, labels the parts of a castle, gives some idea of what castle life was like for those who lived in and around the castle (peasants, craftsmen, servants, nobility), shows how a castle was attacked and defended, and describes a Great Hall feast after the battle.
Royalty: Crowns & Jewelry
4. Quickly discuss the feudal system.
5. Show pictures of various types of royal crowns & jewelry. Allow children to design their own crowns. We found it easiest to pass out pre-cut posterboard crowns and allowed the children to decorate them as desired. Younger children were happy simply gluing on pom poms & fake jewels. Older children liked cutting out additional shapes and creating designs using glitter glue. If you'd like to create something fancier, you could try this Medieval Crown Pattern.
You will need:
- posterboard (preferably already cut-out)
- glue (liquid like Elmer's or Tacky)
- items for decorating such as: construction paper, craft jewels, glitter glue, pom poms, fake flowers
- items for further decorating such as tape, scissors, & markers
Medieval Games: Nine Men's Morris
6. Quickly discuss medieval games.
7. (Optional) If you are not limited by time, play Nine Men's Morris. Divide the children into pairs and give each pair a game board and 9 game pieces each. The outermost square should measure 6" by 6". Go here for an example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Men%27s_Morris. Take turns putting one piece at a time on the board. You can only put your game piece on the dots. Both players try to get 3 of their game pieces in a row. (This is called a mill.) Whenever a player makes a mill, he can take off one of his opponent's pieces. After all your game pieces are on the board you can use your turn to move your pieces along the lines to the next dot. Keep trying to get your pieces to make a mill and remove your opponent's pieces. The game is over when one player has only 2 men left.
You will need per pair of children:
- 1 game board
- 9 playing pieces of one color/type
- 9 playing pieces of a different color/type (buttons, stones, etc.)
Medieval Games: Bowls
8. Play Bowls. The bowls playing field is a bowling green, a smooth lawn where competitors roll balls for points. Divide the children into two teams and set up two bowling "greens." A child from each team will roll softballs or baseballs toward a target ball (a tennis ball). Points are gained for how close players can place their balls to the target ball without actually striking the target ball. Players are also able to use their ball to knock out an opponent's ball if it is close to the target ball.
You will need:
- sticks or other markers to line 2 "greens"
- tennis balls
Medieval Games: Hoodman's Blind
9. Play Hoodman's Blind (today called Blind Man's Bluff). The game was called Hoodman's Blind because in the Middle Ages, the blind player wore a hooded cape backwards over the face instead of a blindfold. Have all the children stand in a circle. Ask for a volunteer to be the Hoodman. The Hoodman stands in the middle of the circle and is blindfolded. One of the other children taps the Hoodman on the shoulder. The Hoodman gets 2 guesses as to who did the tapping. If he guesses right, the players change places. If not, the Hoodman stays in the middle.
You will need:
10. Read A Medieval Feast by Aliki. (*Note: This book is also a good option to read if you are doing your Medieval Feast as a class/lesson rather than as a separate event. If this is the case, you can read a different book instead or skip this activity during this lesson.)
You will need:
- A Medieval Feast by Aliki or other book on medieval food
Book to Read for Activity 10
This has delightful illustrations show all the work involved in stocking up with food, hunting, fishing, harvesting, brewing, baking, men, women and children all joining in with the work. The illustrations are full of fascinating details of the lives of medieval people, nobles, and common folk.
Mead & Smothered Bread
11. Quickly discuss what people ate during the medieval period.
12. Make (non-alcoholic) Mead. In the Middle Ages, mead was left to ferment, but we will drink it right away. Divide children into 2 groups and have each group make a pitcher of mead. Stir in 1/2 cup of honey to 2 quarts of cold water in a pitcher. Add more honey until it's as sweet as you want. Add the fruit slices and sprinkle on a bit of nutmeg. Serve over ice.
You will need:
- 2 pitchers
- 2 mixing spoons
- 2 cups of honey
- 2 lemons or oranges (sliced into rounds)
- disposable cups
13. Make Smothered Bread (today called French Toast). Divide children into groups of 3-4. Heat the electric skillet to medium heat or heat the skillets on the stove over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Have children take turns cracking 6 eggs into a bowl with the 2 Tbsp. milk and mixing it with a whisk or fork. Have them dip a slice of bread into the egg/milk mixture and place it in the skillet, browning it on both sides until golden brown. Serve on a plate with butter, honey, or fruit jam.
You will need:
- 2 loaves thick bread (French bread, Texas Toast, or something similar)
- 1 dozen eggs
- 6 tablespoons milk
- non-stick cooking spray
- 2 skillets or 1 electric skillet
- whisk or fork
- pancake turners
- small disposable plates
14. Eat smothered bread & drink mead.
15. Review what we learned today.
Joke: Who invented King Arthur's round table?
Materials Needed for This Lesson
-Book: Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Medieval Castle by Joanna Cole
-posterboard, construction paper, craft jewels, glue, glitter glue, fake flowers, tape, staplers, scissors, & markers
-(per pair of children): 1 game board, 9 playing pieces of one color/type & 9 playing pieces of a different color/type (buttons, stones, etc.)
-cones, sticks or other markers to line 2 "greens," softballs, & tennis balls
-Book: A Medieval Feast by Aliki
-pitcher, mixing spoon, 2 cups of honey, nutmeg
-pitcher, mixing spoon, 2 lemons or oranges (sliced into rounds), ice, & disposable cups
-1 loaf thick bread (French bread, Texas Toast, or something similar), 1 dozen eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, non-stick cooking spray, 2 skillets or 1 electric skillet, whisk or fork, pancake turners, & butter
-1 loaf thick bread (French bread, Texas Toast, or something similar), 4 tablespoons milk, non-stick cooking spray, 2 skillets or 1 electric skillet, whisk or fork, pancake turners, jam, small disposable plates & forks
More of Our Favorite Medieval Children's Books
Good Children's Books on Medieval Royalty and Famous Battles
- 1066: The Crown, the Comet and the Conqueror by David Hobbs is a picture book on the Battle of Hastings describes why it happened, where Normans and Saxons stood and fought, and the consequences of Duke William's victory.
- Tales of King Arthur: King Arthur and the Round Table (Books of Wonder) by Hudson Talbott is part of our favorite series that includes the King Arthur legends. Hudson Talbott has taken the tales of King Arthur and divided them up into various picture books. Both my boys (ages 5 and 9) loved reading all of them. Afterward they would grab their toy swords and act out the scenes. They also enjoyed the King Arthur tales written by Stephen Krensky, Margaret Hodges, and Robert Sabuda.
- Richard the Lionheart: The Life of a King and Crusader (Graphic Nonfiction) by David West is a great book on Richard the Lionheart written in graphic novel (comic book style) format.
- My older son (age 9) also really enjoyed the chapter book We Were There with Richard the Lionhearted in the Crusades by Robert N. Webb.
- King Alfred: England's Greatest King by Christina Dugan and Alfred the Great: First King of All England by Howard Closs are both picture books that are prefect for introducing King Alfred,the first king of England.
- My older son (age 9) also really enjoyed the chapter book Alfred of Wessex by Frank Morriss.
- The Norman Conquest by C. Walter is definitely worth finding! It is a 32 page picture book about William the Conqueror with plenty of factual information written in an action-packed manner.
- Also look for The Namesake: A Story of King Alfred and Magna Carta, both written by C. Walter Hodges.
Ready for the next lesson?
Bake medieval meals, create a medieval village, design stained glass window cookies, hold a jousting tournament, and more during this fun 4 or 5 week hands-on unit study of the Medieval Period or Middle Ages!
- Medieval Life Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Cook & eat a Medieval meal, play Medieval games, create Medieval crowns, and more!
- Castles Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Build model castles, weapons, and more!
- Medieval Art Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Mix together and paint with egg yolk paint, design and eat stained glass window cookies, create colorful tapestries, and more!
- Cathedral Lesson - This is an optional lesson in this unit focusing on Cathedral design and architecture. Decorate stained-glass cookies, design a dome using blocks, sketch each type of cathedral, sing about the true foundation of cathedrals, and more in this fun lesson on cathedrals!
- Knights & Ladies Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Create a Coat of Arms and swords, hold a jousting tournament, act out a knighting ceremony, and more!
- Medieval Feast and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 (or 5) week hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. We held a festive medieval feast complete with entertainment and much merriment. Also included are the field trips we took during our unit.
- Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for links to all of my unit studies and lessons? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources.
Ready for Our Favorite YouTube videos?
The Middle Ages in 3 1/2 minutes
Kings and Queens of England: Episode 1: Normans
Kings and Queens of England: Episode 2: Middle Ages
The Dark Ages...How Dark Were They, Really?: Crash Course World History #14
A short rhyme to help memorize British royalty in order: The Story Beast: All the Kings & Queens of England
Horrible Histories: The Monarchs' Song: The English Kings and Queens Song
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active children!
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2011 Shannon