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Of course, anyone may wish to try any of these activities, but I've tried to sort them a bit to make them easier to read.
Using either fun foam or bristol board, create a long, cone-shaped base for your hat. You can do this by tracing a circle with a 35-45 cm (12-16") radius (depending how tall you want your hat) and dividing this into two semi circles. Cut them out and fold then fasten by stapling or gluing the straight edges together, adjusting to fit as needed.
Feed the end of a small piece of netting or silk through the tip of the hat to create a tassle. You may wish to add an elastic chin strap by punching a hole on either side of the base of the hat and tying thin fabric elastic through each side, then tie in place.
Supply an assortment of glitter glue, stickers, plastic gems and paints and let the kids go crazy decorating their hats. Have the kids put their initials inside the hat before moving on to the next activity.Wands
You can use a variety of things for your base, such as dowelling, chopsticks (either plain or enamel painted), or old drumsticks.
Paint a base coat if desired.
Supply glitter glue, fun foam shapes, stickers and tinsel for the kids to decorate their wands, being sure to have them keep the ?handle? area bare. Be sure to keep track of ownership by putting an initial on the handle end of each wand.
Every Prince and Princess must learn to dance.
Borrow or rent a video or DVD of traditional court dancing as was done in the days of King Louis XIV. You should be able to find one in your library?s dance history section. Learn one or two of the easier dances ahead, then teach the kids the dances at the party so they can dance the way the royalty really did at the time.
This is freeze dancing with a medieval twist. Play medieval music, or a soundtrack from a movie of a suitable theme, and the kids have to freeze when the music stops. Try and catch theose who are the first to move. You can play by elimination, or just let them keep dancing.
In this variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey, cut out lip shapes and have the kids pin them on a large poster of a frog. Try copying a simple picture from a colouring book or clipart onto green poster board. Add a gold crown for a royal touch. Label the lips with each child?s name, blind fold them one at a time and spin them, then have them place their kiss on the frog.
Use sugar cubes and commercial icing to build a magical crystal castle. Make a cardboard or cookie sheet base. Ice the bottom of the sugar cubes and stick them on the base for the foundation.
Continue building using the icing as brick mortar. Can you make an archway? You may wish to add some cookies for drawbridges. The kids build individual castles, or have them work together to create a larger group castle.
You will need:
With the help of an adult, insert a pin through each wheel and into the bottom of the pumpkin. Decorate the pumpkin with doors and windows.
If desired, tie one end of yarn around each mouse's neck, and make a simple knot in the other end. Pin the knotted end onto the front of the pumpkin coach.
This is made from a dollar store car window sun shade (the metallic silver kind).
Draw a circle in the centre of the shade, about 2-3 cm (1?) larger than your knight?s neck size. Towards what will be the front, cut a slit about 5 cm (2-3?) down from the neck. Fold the tunic so that the right sides face out, and cut out the shape you desire for the finished tunic.
Seal all the cut edges with black hockey, electrical or duct tape.
From the scrap of the shade, cut two strips about 5-10 cm wide and about 10-15 cm long. Tape the long edges together so you have two tube-like pieces. About 10-15 cm from the bottom fasten each side together by taping the strips to the front and back.Helmet:
You can do lots of different things with this, but one of the most effective I?ve found comes from the Cleveland Museum of Art website. Smaller children (toddlers and preschoolers) may enjoy a helmet cut out from a 4 L (I gallon) water or milk jug. Use duct tape to cover any sharp cut edges.Shield:
Using corrugated cardboard, cut out a basic shield shape. For a Viking shield, keep it round. Add a handle at the back by hot gluing a loop of cardboard in the centre, or use a larger and smaller loop to allow it to be worn on the arm. Priming it with a coat of white acrylic paint ahead of time makes the finished product look brighter, but isn't necessary if you run out of time.
Provide tempera paint, glitter glue, stickers etc. for decorating.
For the horses, try using toy hobby horses, tricycles or make your own hobby horse by cutting down an old broomstick or hockey stick, then add a head and bridle made from an old stuffed sock and some ribbon, or fun foam and ribbon.
For lances, use pool noodles, pipe insulation wrapped around a broomstick handle, or cardboard wrapping paper tubes.
To play, you will need to set up the jousting area so that there is a tree branch or other overhead place on which to hang a bucket.
Rope, tape or chalk off the jousting area so that there are two lanes side by side, with a bucket hanging over the centre of it all. The bucket should be somewhat higher than the heads of the tallest kids so that the lances are aimed away from the players? faces.
Fill your bucket with your choice of material: water, wet sponges, packing popcorn, confetti, etc.
The object of the game is to hit the bucket such that it dumps more of its contents on your opponent than on you.
This can be a relay race, or an exercise in persuasion.Race:
Each knight must first slay the dragon (hit a dragon pi?ata, bat away a balloon dragon, move a stuffed dragon to a cage, pop dragon breath soap bubbles with a toy sword, etc.), then rescue the princess (a doll trapped under an inverted laundry basket) and put her in the castle tower (use your imagination).Persuasion:
Have one or two adults per team.
You can have both princess and dragon as adults, or one only and a toy for the other, but you need at least one to be an adult, and each team should have the same # of adults.
The object of the game: rescue the princess from the dragon and take her back to your team?s castle before the other team does.
This is a medieval style obstacle course. You will need to adjust your obstacles to work with kids of different ages, sizes and abilities.
Some potential obstacles:
- kiddie pool of water, jello, balls etc. to navigate with wobbly ?stepping stones?
(these are wooden boards with a half of a tennis ball stapled to the bottom) to help
A word of caution when using catapults (or any other shooting apparatus):
- always use soft and lightweight ammunition, such as marshmallows or foam balls
There are two simple catapults I?ve found patterns for. One uses wooden spring-style clothes pegs, the other uses a clothes hanger.
Clothes Peg Catapult
You will need:
Wooden clothes pegs
Scrap piece of wood for a base
White glue, carpenter's glue or an adult wielding a hot glue gun
A plastic spoon
Several elastic bands
Glue one side of clothes peg to the base and let dry. Glue another one (or a craft / popsicle style stick ) in the same direction half way up the first peg and let dry. Glue the spoon handle along the top peg or stick so that the scoop is at the top and most of the handle is glued to the peg or stick. Hold this in place by wrapping elastic bands tightly around the handle and let it dry.Hanger Catapult:
You can put your catapults into action for this one, or just hand-throw bean bags, water balloons, etc. for a similar effect.
For maximum effect, I recommend building two appliance box castles, but you can use picnic tables, lawn chairs, sports nets, etc. as your castles as well.
Place a ?flag? (scarf, t-shirt, etc.) behind each team?s castle. Give each team an equal amount of ammunition. The goal is to steal the other team?s flag without losing your own first.
Variation: Anyone tagged by the other side has to go to the tower and have a black water balloon ?ball and chain? attached to their leg. They are freed when one of their own team members stomps on the balloon for them.
You can set this up anywhere depending on how you go about it.
First, create a list of questions, puzzles and challenges relating to the theme. For example, you can make or adapt a word game based on the theme so that it reveals a code. A crossword puzzle found online could be adapted by highlighting the spaces of various letters that make up a word which points to the next clue.
If you have older kids, consider adding more historical and geographical references, and make any codes more challenging as well. You can add trivia and history to this if you like, and make reference materials available if you want to really challenge them. Younger kids might be content with clues like ?look under the table that has the same shape as the one King Arthur used?.
Tell the guests about the legend of the Holy Grail. What would the Holy Grail look like? What material would it be made of? You can try hiding ?red herrings? here and there to put seekers off the trail.
Try and vary the challenges so that they require different skills to complete. If the kids work on this in teams, usually three to five challenges work well.
Purchase clear acrylic goblets, plastic adhesive gems, and metallic puffy fabric paint and encourage the guests to decorate their own Grail. You can also use transparent paint (aka stained glass paint) to decorate these. If you do, try using metallic puffy paint to make shapes, then fill the shapes with the transparent paint. Be sure to have the guests leave enough space at the top of the goblet for drinking.
You can do this on the shields described above, or make a separate banner from poster board, fun foam or similar. Provide scraps of construction paper and coloured cardstock, and/or various colours of fun foam, scissors and craft glue.
Challenge the guests to think of symbols that reflect something about their families and also themselves, their personalities and their interests and use these to create their own coat of arms.
You can use plastic Easter eggs for this, or make your own paper mache dragon eggs.