Medieval Stew

Food preparation is not only a fun, engaging activity for children,  but one that can be used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages. For one thing, hands-on cooking activities encourage a sense of pride and confidence.

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The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve. Working with food also inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations.

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Additionally, creating snacks offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.

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Lastly, chopping, squeezing, mixing, and spreading materials help develop a child’s small muscle control and hand-eye coordination. For this activity, we used a few ingredients to create a medieval stew (a staple in most medieval homes).

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We used a variety of beans, and placed them into bowls! Once we were finished, we pretended to eat up our yummy creations!

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Play Dough Crowns

March is Medieval Month! This means that we are learning about all things royal!

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Throughout the month, we have been learning about castles, peasants, lords, and ladies. We have learning about how they live, what they live in, and what they wear.

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As part of our royalty week, we constructed crowns using play dough and jewels.

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Students enjoyed manipulating their jewels, and were encouraged to count them once all applied.

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Castle Cups

Block play is a great way to build skills that we ordinarily think of as academic or school-related.

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Blocks are especially beneficial when children are allowed to freely explore and manipulate the blocks in a variety of engaging ways.  Children’s creativity is further expanded through encouragement to make their own accessories from throw away junk items.

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When it comes to blocks, it’s all in their imaginations.. As part of our medieval theme, we spent one week learning about castles. During this week, we constructed castles with a variety of different materials. For this one specifically, we created castles out of golden cups. Students were encouraged to create their structures, and then once finished, to count them.

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Castle Block Play

Provocations are materials or the way we present materials to create a context where the child can explore.

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They are designed to encourage to extend their thinking.

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Provocations provide a challenge to move children to deeper levels of critical thinking of how to design their structures and how to expand into more complex play.

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For this provocation, students were presented with regular blocks, castle blocks, and toilet paper tubes.

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Students were encouraged to construct their “castles” as part of our medieval theme.

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Parking Posts

Medieval residents did not enjoy the paved parking lots that we take for granted today. Horses were the preferred mode of transportation. As travelers shopped, visited friends, and went about their days, they would hitch their horses to posts. These were often adorned with varying colors to indicate class and wealth. The first component of this activity included decorating our “posts” with colorful pipe cleaners and yarn. Each child selected a variety of pipe cleaners that they were to “attach” to their preferred post. This fostered fine motor skills as it involved your little one twisting and fastening the pipe cleaner to make it adhere to the tree. The second component involved dramatic play. Here, your little one rode around on their own horses, exploring their medieval villages and parking their horses when they needed to rest. Dramatic play provides a host of social skills for your little one to practice. When they engage in pretend play, they exercise their negotiation and cooperation skills. They are encouraged to share and dictate roles. As they relate to one another, they foster their problem solving abilities and impulse control. Lastly, they learn to appreciate each actor’s role in the play. These all contribute to building important life skills.

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Cobblestone Roads

Cobblestone roads have been used to fulfill transportation needs since ancient times. They appealed to medieval residents because of their durability in harsh weather. Though they were poorly maintained, they provided an integral component to medieval life. To facilitate our understanding of what a cobblestone road is, we created our own! Using cardboard for our roads, glue, and wood pieces as our “stones”, your little one constructed their own version of a cobblestone road. By fabricating their own roads, your little one was applying their awareness of what a cobblestone road is, and how it functions. Doing this also enabled them to practice a variety of skills imperative to their educational repertoire. By manipulating the “stones” they were practicing physical and cognitive skills. As they arranged them within the scope of a predetermined shape, they were learning spatial skills, logical and mathematical skills. Lastly, it encouraged creative thinking on account of the planning that was involved.ImageImageImage

Mead

The people of the medieval ages did not enjoy water as we do today. Most citizens received their water from wells and other communal sources. This water was almost always tainted with bacteria, caused by human waste and poor sanitation. To compensate, people would add alcohol, honey, and other fruits to the water to make it “cleaner” for consumption. Using honey, limes, and water, we created our own version of mead. Before we began this activity, we discussed what germs were and how important it is to exercise proper hygiene. Your budding historian also learned about why medieval water was so dirty, and how they can ensure cleanliness in their own lives. When young children are active in creating their learning experiences, they foster meaningful connections between new information and their understanding of it. This is an important component in the capacity to problem solve. As they add and manipulate levels of ingredients, they amplify their ability to think creatively, as they create new and unique combinations of ideas and materials.ImageImage

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Knights and Shields

Medieval shields were designed to protect a knight or “soldier” from their enemies. They were also used as weapons throughout the middle ages. Learning how to manipulate a shield required years of training, aimed at increasing skills such as strength and agility. These weapons of war were also decorated with symbols that served to identify the knight, both in tournaments, and on the battle field. Using foil, cardboard, and glue, we created our own shields! This activity hosted a variety of developmental skills. As your child placed the foil on the cardboard, they practiced their fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. As they arranged the foil on the shield, they engaged their ability to manipulate space.

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Custard Tarts

Custard tarts first emerged in Britain during the middle ages. They were a popular treat among people of all classes, and were flavored in several different ways. To enable your budding historian to grasp a better understanding of the middle ages, we explored the ingredients in this tasty treat. Using crumpets, jam, cream cheese, and plastic knives, we made our own custard tarts! When young children are given opportunities to prepare food, they are practicing a host of important life skills. When they are given the ingredients to create their masterpiece, they are practicing listening skills. As they are instructed to add ingredients to create their treat, they are learning order of operations. Lastly, as they learn about new foods, they are acquiring new vocabulary, which promotes literacy.

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