I got this idea from someone else’s blog, but unfortunately I can’t remember where I saw it! We had lots of fun with this one.
First, we printed out castle templates so that the kids could assemble their own castle. I printed out the black and white ones, and the kids colored them creatively. This was a simple activity, that required a few printouts, some colored pencils, cardboard (we used old cereal boxes), toilet paper tubes and glue. The castles did not take long to assemble…maybe an hour to make 3 castles (from start to finish, with most of the time spent coloring.)
Next, the kids placed their castles on a large sheet of butcher paper. I wish I had had poster board on hand, but I didn’t….so the paper had to do.
I read a book about castles to them, pausing at the end of each page so that they could decide if they wanted to “add” anything from the reading to their own castle. I had to do the writing for the youngest ones. They made little drawings on the paper to indicate buildings, weapons, and supplies, and then whispered to me what each drawing meant.
I helped them to label their drawings, and then read the next page. We went back and forth like this, pausing after each page, so they could decide what their castle would need to withstand a siege.
After we were done, I used a printout from this Castle Siege game which prompted them to tell what people would be present in their castle. Those names were written down (king, blacksmith, peasants, etc.). They had one last opportunity to mention any supplies, animals, food items, people, buildings, etc. that they needed before the game began. Once the game started, no one could add anything to their castle.
The Castle Siege game has a bunch of cards that you print and cut out. Each player draws a card and adds or subtracts points from their total score, based on how well they outfitted their castle. For example, they add two points if they remembered to include a dungeon, and subtract two points if they forgot. Once they’ve gone through all the cards, the game ends and the player with the highest point total wins.
I wanted a chance to play, too, but it didn’t seem very fair, because I knew exactly what everyone else had put in their castle, and what the cards called for. We agreed that I would use our Fairy Tale Castle puzzle, receiving or losing points for whatever the puzzle creators remembered to put into the puzzle. Let’s just say that the Fairy Tale Castle wasn’t designed very well for a siege, but it was fun anyway.
This puzzle, by the way, is a remnant from the days when I believed that all boys should have gender-inclusive toys. No one plays with it in this house now-a-days. For more on that, please read my post about Boys and Weapons!
This game was fun, and didn’t take very long to play. The longest part of this entire exercise was reading about the castle and getting the boys to label it. But they absolutely loved doing that part, and they remembered so much more than if we had only read it. Thinking about what they would need, labeling and listing everything, and then finding out through the game what was missing was very instructive to them, and they won’t soon forget this material.
I’m so happy we took the time to do this! It was well worth it.