Learning Journals

Castles and Knights Project Ideas

Our latest Let’s Explore Castle and Knights learning journal is up on the site so I wanted to take a quick look at some of the activities and the resources we used alongside it.

Our learning journals suit a range of ages and learning styles. They are great for home educators who have more than one child at home because you can all use the same project together but adapt the activities for each child (in fact the child adapts their own activities).

For each of our learning journals, you’ll need a good book to use alongside. This is our preferred method of learning because I believe that teaching a child how to find information is more important than memorising answers. It also offers opportunities to talk about reliable sources of information.

We really like these DK Find Out! books because they have colour photographs and clear text. They have loads of topics so are great to use alongside many of our projects. We also enjoy using Usborne books.

Choose a book that suits your child. Use what we have at home or visit the library and choose some books together.

So, let’s take a look at some of the Castle and Knight project ideas that this learning journal will guide you through.

(The full version of our Let’s Explore Castles and Knights Project includes many more activities that your child can complete in a way that suits them.)

  • Field Trip Planner

We start each project by talking about where we could visit to learn more about the topic. With this castle and knights project there are lots of lovely castles in the UK that are open to the public so there are plenty of options. You can browse Historic UK’s interactive maps of castles EnglandScotland and Wales to discover more.

  • Bayeux Tapestry

You can view the entire 70 metre Bayeux taperstry here. We scrolled through the tapestry as I read the text. We spotted the various events and people it talked about.

We created our own pieces of art using the tapestry as inspiration. You could paint, draw or photograph scenes that you join together (we used Lego minifigures).

  • Motte and Bailey Castle

Take a look at how and why the first castles were built in the UK. This website has a good description of Motte and Baily Castles and explains how they changed over time.

Talk about the features they had and create your own. You could use junk modelling bits, paper mache or you could even make an edible version! (We used jelly to make the Motte!)

  • Medieval Castles

Think about how Medieval Castles were built. How did they move and shape the giant pieces of rock? How did they built tall towers?

This video shows Europe’s biggest medieval castle building project – The Guédelon in France – has been under construction for over 20 years now.

English Heritage have created a helpful short animation about Medieval Castles.

  • Design a Coat of Arms

Explore the meanings of the various colours and symbols used on a Coat of Arms and create your own. You can use it to decorate a DIY shield.

  • Build a Trebuchet

You can find simple instructions to make your own Trebuchet using lollypop sticks here or make a more simple catapult.

You can watch how a Trebuchet works here.

  • Make a bow and arrow

Find out about the Medieval bow and arrow and make your own.

When we make a bow and arrow we usually find a bendy stick, make a notch either end and attach some cord. You can also make one like this if you have the materials to hand.

Once you have your bow and arrow you can try shooting some cardboard targets. Cut arrow slits (like those found in a castle wall) and see if you can get your arrow through the narrow opening.

  • Explore Castles Around the World

From the comfort of your home you can take a tour of castles around the world on Google Earth or visit some Medieval site in Europe. You can either use the tour or find your own by using the search.

  • Become a Jester

Find out what a Jester did to entertain the wealthy and put on your own show.

  • Make a goblet

Glue gems to a wineglass to use at your Medieval feast.

  • Medieval Feast

Organise your own Medieval Feast! There are lots of Medieval recipes to choose from here. This BBC resource is also great for planning a Medieval Feast.

  • Medieval Games – Blind Man’s Buff or Bluff

Learn the rules to the game and give it a go.

  • Worst Jobs in Medieval Times

What do you think a gong farmer did? Can you think of any other horrible jobs during Medieval Times?

This video takes a look at the disgusting role of a Gong Farmer.

This documentary looks at more disgusting jobs from Medieval Times.

Useful Medieval Websites and Videos

An interesting article about life in the middle age for an older child to read independently or for an adult to read with a younger child.

This site provides a great overview of the Battle of Hastings and its consequences.

Join our Facebook page and Facebook Ideas Group for more ideas and resource updates. We also love for you to share your activity photos with us so please do!

I really hope that you enjoy using our Let’s Explore Castles and Knights learning journal and I’d love your feedback.

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