Europe and Castles for Kids

Europe and Castles for Kids - Mud Hut MamaWe finally got around to learning a little bit about Europe. My girls love fairytales that feature kings, queens, knights and princesses so I thought I would capitalize on those interests in our study of Europe by focusing on castles and monarchies. This post contains affiliate links

The Usborne book, In the Castle by Anna Milbourne, was a great way to introduce our castles for kids unit. This story begins with the question, “Have you ever visited an old, tumbledown castle and wondered what it was like to live there, long, long ago?” It then goes on to show, through text and illustrations, what castle life was like in the Middle Ages.

We also read the Magic Tree House book, The Knight at Dawn, my girls were really enjoying this series and it is a fun way to learn a lot of interesting facts but shortly after we began reading these books Kooks started having nightmares so they are on hold for a while. She tells me that she thinks she’ll be ready to try them again when she is four which will be in two months time.

Castle Websites:

We explored a couple of fun websites:

  • Castles for Kids: This site has some great kid friendly information about what castle life was really like. It also describes the different parts of the castle and what they were used for as well as the different people who lived in a castle and what their jobs were. I skipped over some of the information as I wasn’t quite ready to explain murder holes to my three and four year old but we found lots of other interesting information on this site.
  • Kids’ Castle: We also really enjoyed exploring this castle. You can click on any part of the castle and read a description of what happens there.

Monarchy Mapping:

I wanted to impress upon the girls that monarchies are not just a thing of fairytales and once upon a time so we learned that a monarchy is when one person is the head of a country and that when they die usually their son, daughter or other relative becomes the monarch. We used this list of modern day European monarchies to see where in Europe there are still active monarchies. Since our jellybean distribution map was such a hit, we decided to cover each country that has a monarchy with a gummy bear. I probably should have found smaller candies since the bears were larger than some of the countries on our map but it was a really fun way to play with mapping and of course gave us a treat to look forward to.

Monarchy Mapping - Mud Hut Mama

Arts and Crafts:

I surprised the girls with construction paper princess hats one morning and they had so much fun decorating them with jewels and glitter glue. I followed the directions at First Palette and used part of a dress that Kooks had outgrown for the veils.

Decorating Princess Hats - Mud Hut Mama

Later we made this castle from Activity Village out of a cardboard box and some milk bottles. It was the perfect size for our Frozen Finger Puppets and the girls have been having so much fun with it.
Puppet Sized Castle - Mud Hut Mama

Language Arts:

I had the girls tell me what they would do if they were the queen and I wrote their answers down on these printable scrolls from Teaching Ideas. Of course Boo told me that actually she was the king! They dressed up in their princess hats and took turns “reading” their scrolls.

If I Were Queen - Mud Hut Mama

YouTube:

We watched this funny video from Mr. Histor on Medieval Times.

I also showed the girls the highlights of the Royal Wedding. I thought they might find it a little bit boring but they loved it and asked to watch it again. Nothing like seeing a real life prince get married and Prince William really did look straight out of a fairytale in his military uniform.

Song of the Week:

The song of the week had to be “I’m Not Ready To Be A Princess” from Sofia the First. It’s one of my girls’ favorite shows. They got the movie for Christmas and have been singing this song regularly ever since. I thought it might be fun to watch the movie and talk a little bit about fact vs fiction but when I realized that my three and four year old firmly believe in flying horses I decided that I was really okay with that and dropped that lesson for the time being.

Other Ideas:

If you want to go big you could do what one reader from the Isle of Man did for a princess party and make a play castle out of cardboard. I’m sure my girls would have preferred this to our puppet sized version. Isn’t it cool? It even has a working drawbridge! Thank you to Princesses Izzy, Lucy, Shannon, Vicky, Sophia and Graihagh for sharing your creation!

Play Castle - Mud Hut Mama

If your kids want to dress the part, Mama Smiles has a great tutorial for a king costume and a 15 Minute Princess Gown.

We have been invited to a local harvest festival at the end of May by a Zambian princess. The girls are so excited to meet a real princess and it has added an interesting element to our monarchy studies as we discuss what to expect and the similarities and differences between Zambian chieftaincies and European monarchies.

Did you watch Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding?

 

 

About Jody Tilbury

14 Responses to “Europe and Castles for Kids”

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  1. I did not watch their wedding, but maybe I should watch the highlights with my kids sometime – I imagine they would enjoy it.

    I love your cardboard castle, and those Frozen finger puppets are cool! It sounds like you had a lot of fun with this, and I really like that you tied it into Zambian chieftaincies.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      We did have a lot of fun and it has been interesting talking about chieftaincies – the girls have been asking if I think the princess will show them all her tiaras!!

  2. Also, thank you so much for linking to my tutorials!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      You’re very welcome – I need to actually try to make some of your costumes and dress up clothes. My girls would love them!!

  3. Tonianne says:

    Sure did! I can’t believe she’s almost four – that’s unreal. I cannot WAIT to see you all. Counting the days… oxoxo

  4. Frances says:

    How nice to see a homeschool post of yours. This is such a great post, and the girls look precious with their princess hats! :)

  5. Heather says:

    This looks like a lot of fun for girls!

  6. This is so fun to read! I love that she wants to be king, and how funny that scary movies and games feature big on both of their lists :) Great post, as always!

  7. Btw great resources – those castle websites are really cool!

  8. sara says:

    what an awesome lesson. i have a huge sofia the first fan here. we listen to the cd daily. i’ve been brainstorming a similar lesson since christmas when santa brought a wooden castle and royal figurines. thanks for great inspiration! i will definitely be using the you tube video of the royal wedding. it’s just enough for the little ones! good job, friend!

  9. We had a Royal Tea Party for my girls and invited a few friends over for the Royal Wedding. It was a fun excuse to dress up and serve cucumber sandwiches. LOL
    This looks like such a fun lesson. I love your gummy bear map!

  10. Lisa Nelson says:

    Wow, I love the castle and finger puppets. What a fun project. My daughter would absolutely love this unit study.

    And boy, does she love frozen! And – Let it go! That song…that song…enough of that song!

  11. Becky says:

    I can’t wait for the day until I can take my kids to see a real castle:)- until then, these books and activities are so fun!!! Plus kids love imagining a world in which they are in charge! Ha!0 wouldn’t every kid want to be king/queen for a day? What a fun theme.

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