Make a trench/moat in front of the classroom door using a blue bedsheet for the water.
Make a drawbridge to lay over the moat, using a long piece of cardboard with wood-board-patterned bulletin board paper glued to it. Attach paper chains, (or, I found plastic chains at Goodwill when they had all their Halloween stuff out) to each side of the drawbridge and string them up to the door frame.
Make a stone frame around the door using gray construction paper, and mount homemade torches on either side (left and right), made out of paper sacks, twisted into a cone shape, with red and orange tissue paper tucked inside to look like flames. (I used Dixie cups, spray painted to look like iron, cut out the bottoms, pinned them with thumb tacks to the door frames, and set my torches inside of them).
Hang an iron-looking portcullis from the top of the doorway, made of strips of cardboard, held together with brass fasteners/brads, and then spray painted to look like rusted iron.
Make a beautiful sign that says, “Camelot ” to hang above the door
Arrange the student’s desks into a big circle – round table, and place a small, homemade sword on the center of each desk. Make the swords out of long, wide popsicle sticks, with hilts made of smaller popsicle sticks, glued together and spray painted, then decorated with old buttons or jewels.
Make a king’s crown, queen’s crown, maiden’s head covering, lady-in-waiting head covering, magician hat, friar robe with hood and cross necklace, and some knights helmets (lots of ideas for these on Pinterest).
Set up a buffet table with simple foods: Bacon/ham/sausage, fruits (grapes, pears, apples, berries), whole raw veggies (carrots, parsnips, cabbage, sugar snap or snow peas) or a veggie pottage – like mushy peas (remember the old song: Peas Porridge hot, Peas Porridge cold, Peas Porridge in the pot nine days old?), hard cooked eggs, cheeses, various small rustic-type breads (wheat, barley, rye, with seads, etc.), homemade butter (see CRAFTS below), oatmeal porridge, and humble pie (which in reality was animal guts pie, but ours will be mincemeat).
Served on pewter plates or large pieces of flat bread (Naan).
Make a table decoration out of a small pig (toy or stuffed animal) with an apple wedged in its mouth, skewered, and roasting over a spit of fake charcoals
(Food photos from UCA Medieval Feast 2021)
BEVERAGES: ginger ale and root beer, served in golden goblets (grails)
Set up a gauntlet on the playground: First a Balance Beam, then walking on stilts (bed risers with attached ropes), followed by hurdles over alligators, then walking on a teeder-todder beam end to end, followed by having to jump high up to grab a flag, then shooting an arrow (or tossing bean bags) at targets, after that crawling through a large box with crape paper taped all over inside of it like a spider web, then walk on a balance beam again while avoiding swinging balls of various sizes, after that a leap over dragon stuffed animal, and finally pulling Excaliber from a stone
Divide the kids into small groups of 5 or 6 and give each group a different game to play. After 20 to 30 minutes switch the games to another group.
KINGS in the CORNER (2-6 players, ages 7 and up)
FIVE CROWNS (2-7 players, ages 8 and up)
Castle Panic by Fireside Games (1-6 players, kids 7 & Up)
Kingdomino Award Winning Family Strategy Board Game by Blue Orange Games (2-4 players, ages 8 and up)
Queendomino Strategy Board Game (2 to 4 players, orup to 8 players when the game is combined with Kingdomino)
Era Medieval Age (1-4 players, ages 14 and up)
Wiz Kids TOURNAMENT AT CAMELOT (2-6 players, ages 14 & up)
PASSE-DIX (unlimited players) How to play:
3 six-sided dice are rolled: 10 and above wins double the stake, below loses the stake; after each roll the bank passes to the next player.
Probably one of the most, if not the most, ancient dice game in history. Passe-dix was allegedly specified by Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 27:35) as the game the Roman guards played under the site of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth.
Passe-dix is played with three dice. There’s always a banker, and the number of players is unlimited. The first gamer rolls: every time he throws UNDER ten he (and all the other players in the game) lose the specified stake, which goes to the banker. Every time he rolls ABOVE ten (or PASSES TEN–whence the name of the game), the banker must return double the stake to all the players in the game. After three losses of the roller (no matter how many wins), the roller position is passed to another gamer in the circle. The banker changes after each roll.
E.g. if there are four people in the game (remember one is the Banker, and one is rolling for everyone else) and the stake is 1 penny, then a loss will result in the banker taking 1 penny from each other player, but a win will involve the banker giving 2 pennies to each player.
❤ Pendragon, Sword of His Father | Burns Family Studios (2008) Rated G. This is a Christian, Dove Award movie set in Brittain’s dark ages with a wonderful message of faith, courage, and vision. This was my first pick for our classroom party!
❤ The Kid Who Would Be King | PG (2019) ‧ Fantasy/Action ‧ 2 hours. I liked this movie. I thought it had a thoughtful plot, great acting, and wonderful cinematography, that took from the story of King Arthur/Merlin and made it a modern message that I think kids today could really relate to. This was my second pick for the classroom party.
Walt Disney’s The Sword and the Stone (animated). This movie is a little too childish for upper elementary, in my opinion.
Merlin (1998) PG-13 | 182 min | Action, Adventure, Drama. This would be a fantastic film for upper elementary aged kids, except for a couple unfortuate scenes, which make it unrecommendable. It is a 2-disc movie that first tells the story of Merlin (disc one), and then the story of Arthur and Merlin (disc two). Reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movies, sort of, in the type of movie that it is. This is the parent’s guide
First Knight (1998) PG-13 (for some brutal medieval battles). This again would be a wonderful film for upper elementary, if not for a few unfortunate scenes. Parent’s Guide
King Arthur (2004) the PG-13 version – NOT the Director’s Cut! Rated for intense battle sequences, a scene of sensuality and some language. This movie was alright, I guess, but I personally wasn’t a fan of the sort of manly, feminist portrayal of lady Guinevere. All the Merlin magic was absent. Reminiscent of the movie Troy in the type of movie that it is. This is the parent’s guide
Free MUSIC: (to be played while the kids eat or do crafts, if desired, reminiscent of a Renaissance Fair)
Make Butter from Heavy Whipping Cream: Fill 2 or 3 pint-sized glass jars about half way with the heavy cream. Screw the lids on tight. Have the kids take turns shaking the jars vigorously, and passing to another kid when their arms get tired, until the heavy cream separates into butter and buttermilk. Use the butter to spread on their bread. The kids can drink the buttermilk if they want, or it can be saved to make cornbread or pancakes.
Make Catapults (either using the Boy Craft Catapult Wars boxed game, or let the kids make catapults using popsicle sticks and rubber bands, erasers as ammunition, and disposable cups as targets) and have shooting duels
Create individual Coat-of-Arms using cardstock, crayons, markers, stickers, stamps, stencils, etc. These can then be transferred to clothing or made into flags using iron-on transfer kits and an iron.
Party Planner’s notes: I always tell myself, “This time I’m going to keep it simple,” but am rarely successful in accomplishing that. My imagination swirls and swoons with so many dozens of ideas and I don’t want to give anything up. I want to do it all, and cram as much as possible into a small block of time. It’s not until I’m in the middle of my ambitious plans that I realize IT’S TOO MUCH!!!! Hopefully you’re looking for ideas for a child’s birthday party, or a homeschool unit study activity, or family reunion, or something else where you can make good use of all of this stuff. Our party however will probably consist of making butter, filling plates with snacks, grabbing a beverage, watching a movie, and if we’re extra fortuitous, perhaps a game of Passe Dix or catapult wars, before the teacher wants her classroom back for educational discussion.
It’s with a heavy heart that I confess I was unable to throw this party, what with our world being in the early throes of the #CoronaVirus pandemic, which turned everything upside down, forced the shut down of schools, caused the grocery store shelves to be barren, and took a terrible toll on the health and well being of our economy and our most vulnerable citizens as well. So much uncertainty, which was not unlike the medieval dark ages themselves, where raiding Saxons and Anglos robbed the Brittons of their gardens, farm animals, livelihoods, safe homes, and personal freedoms. Terrible plagues and famine ravaged towns and villages. It almost seems apropos to be studying the middle ages in such times as this. Perhaps remembering this part of history will help us not to have to repeat it? I pray that evil will not prosper, that we will take cleanliness much more seriously, that we will be brave to stand up to antiheroes and bullying, controling governments, and be kind and generous with our family, friends, and neighbors when it is within our power to do so. It seems good to remember the value of a brave and virtuous leader, like King Arthur, the honor, chivalry, and loyalty of his knights, their courtesy, justice, and readiness to help the weak. I pray for my countrymen and this beautiful planet, that our stressful time passes quickly, without causing too much distruction to our economy and our lives, and though our weeping might last for a night, that there would be joy in the morning as we see the mighty hand of God who got us through it.
2020 UPDATE: So, the kids did not come back to school after spring break, March 2020, but unlike many schools they did resume in the fall of 2020. My grand daughter had moved on to the next grade by then and I was diagnosed with cancer, so I call it my “lost” year. BUT, in the fall of September, 2021 I got to use my decorations, which I had feared would go to total waste, for a Medieval Feast for the high school kids. The teachers decorated a room and set it up with a feast, and all the students dressed the part, ate and drank, and played all the games that were set up for them. And the 4th grade teacher asked if I would do a Medieval party for her class for the last day of school. So, yay. The decorations won’t go to waste.
The 4th graders read Robin Hood instead of King Arthur, so after Spring Break I got to throw a Robin Hood party for them. I didn’t get to use my Camelot decorations. Instead, I used scene-setters (large canvas backdrops of forest scenes) to and make a maze at the entrance of the classroom – a secret passageway into Sherwood Forest. I thought it would be fun to blindfold the kids and lead them into the classroom for the first time, to make sure they could be trusted. We had deer jerky and garden items to snack on (veggies and berries), (root)BEER and (ginger)ALE to drink, and then I made them each pay a fee for their meal, which they paid me in pencils! Lol. And then the kids played Kingdomino in two groups for the next hour or so. No movie. No robbing passing students in the hall, or getting into sword fights with the sheriff’s men, who might have come sniffing around, although that would have been fun to arrange had I thought of it ahead of time. The dollar store had nerf-type swords which would have been perfect. I could have placed them in a bucket for the kids to grab if such an occasion arose. At any rate, we had fun.
2022 UPDATE: The school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX ended the school year 2 days early for the whole district – which was definitely appropriate! I am so thankful my children weren’t in harms way, and my heart is broken and grieving for the parents and families that suffered loss. So the last day party was canceled and the decorations will just have to keep
2022 fall update… my granddaughter’s world studies class is studying the Renaissance! I get to use the decorations for her class party. Woo-hoo! And in a couple years they will hopefully get used for the other grandchild. Perhaps in the meantime I will donate them to 4th grade. BTW. I’m creating an Escape Room for our Renaissance party. If it turns out I’ll certainly blog about it!
May our LORD hedge us in with His protection, cover us with His glory cloud, and lead us through these chaotic times with His pillar of fire. May He help us not to be afraid, and comfort us in our sadness. May He suit us up with His Spiritual Armor and give us courage and faith. May He forgive our trespasses and clothe us in His white robes of righteousness. May God pour out His Spirit into our hearts until our cups and lanterns are overflowing, and May He cast out fear as we walk with Him through every storm. May we have spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear, for our adversary prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. May we find safety and shelter in the wings of our God. And may we be ready and watching for Him when He comes to snatch us away. May He bless us and keep us forever. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray. Praise be to God! Amen.