DIY Shield & Coat of Arms

Did you know that during Medieval times, knights used special designs and pictures on their shields — called a coat of arms — to identify themselves?  The reason is because one man in armor looked a lot like another, so the coat of arms he carried was used to identify a knight in battle.  During that time, few people could read and write, so pictures were very important.  A coat of arms was like a label or a sign, so you could know instantly who was coming toward you, and, as my kids said, “know whose team he was on.”

This fun & easy DIY project will allow your kids to come up with a design for their own “team.”  All you need is:

  • Cardboard cut in the shape of a shield
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape – to secure the aluminum foil
  • Colored tape (we used some special glittery tape we found) – for decorating
  • Markers (we used Sharpies, which are awesome on aluminum foil, but obviously use your own judgment about that.  My 4- and 6-year-olds are okay, but the 2-year old is quarantined from them.)
  • Packing tape or duct tape – to make the handle

Before you get started, cover the shield with aluminum foil and secure on the back with tape.

Then, it’s pretty much up to your knights-in-waiting to design their coats of arms.  Lady S was happy to create designs using the super-cool glitter tape (you can get similar at any craft store.)

And then colored in the “fields” of the shield with the Sharpies and added some special designs.

We also talked about how sometimes knights had images on their shields – to represent things like strength, or speed or courage.  Sir H decided a lion was appropriate for his coat of arms.  He drew it on a piece of paper, which we then taped to the shield.

He decided the colorful tape was a good addition, too, so created a border for his shield with that.  You could use duct tape (have you seen the crazy fun duct tape you can get at craft stores these days??) or colored masking tape, too.

As the finale, we added a handle to the back.  We took a length of packing tape (duct tape would have been better, but this was what we had) and folded it in half cross-wise (ie., the adhesive part onto itself), to form the handle.  Then I taped each end to the shield.

Now my knights are ready for any adventure!

 

 

 

Q-tip Bow and Arrows

I was so inspired by this Tiny Bow & Arrow set that I saw on the Brooding Hen and thought it would be a perfect activity to try out for Medieval Month! Not to mention my 6-year-old is fascinated with bows and arrows — and a popsicle / q-tip combo seemed like the perfect starter set for him!

In all honesty, much of the actual assembly of the bow is largely a grown-up task (that is, if you have average fine-motor skilled 6-and-unders).  But the good news is that it goes quickly (once your popsicle sticks are pliable – plan ahead!), and then your little knights can be let loose for target practice.

All you need is:

  • A few popsicle sticks (might as well do several while you’re at it)
  • Dental floss
  • Cotton swabs
  • Sharp knife or scissors (for the grown-up – to notch the stick and cut one end off the cotton swab)

Start by cutting two notches into your popsicle sticks on each end.  You’ll want them close to the end of the stick, and fairly deep (I ended up going back and cutting them a little deeper than I have in this photo.)

Then, pop your sticks in a glass of water to soften (so you can bend them into the bows.)  You’ll need at least an hour for this step — and a little longer didn’t seem to hurt it.

When you’re ready to “bend your bow”, start by wrapping the dental floss around one end.  I just wrapped it around 3-4 times, securing it in the notch.  Then, holding the stick in one hand, stretch the dental floss to the notch on the other end — but take care to keep the floss on the same side.  Note: the popsicle stick is not especially “bendy”, so you will need to bend it to shape with one hand, as you stretch the floss tightly across.

Then just wrap the floss around the other end of the stick, again pulling it taut and tightly into the notch.  I just wrapped it a few times again, and then cut it off.

 

Your bow is ready to go!  Your knights can decorate it with markers if they’d like to personalize them (we didn’t have the patience.)

Remember to snip the ends off your cotton swabs (you could also put your kids to work on this, using a set of nail clippers.)

It takes a bit of practice to get the motion down for shooting this teeny bow and arrow, but once you do, it’s great fun!  We found we could shoot those little arrows 10 feet or more!  You could set up targets (using bowls or waste baskets to shoot into, or make bulls-eyes with cardboard & paper) for extra fun.

 

Marshmallow Launcher

The benefit to being an Aunt is you can show up with sugary treats and the supplies to make a “weapon,” without any questioning of your parenting technique.  Fortunately the ammunition for this launcher is edible and soft, ensuring serious harm was unlikely.  When I spotted this Marshmallow Launcher on the Real Simple website, I knew my niece and nephew would love to help test it out.

Image courtesy of Real Simple

 

The supplies you need are indeed simple: Balloons, scissors, cups (preferably paper), mini marshmallows and rubber bands (optional).

All I had to say was “marshmallow launcher”, and my nephew, niece and son were at the table. Would they come running as fast if I said “brussels sprout” launcher?

First they cut the bottom off the paper cup.


I tied the balloons for the younger kids, and the kids then cut the tops off of the balloons.


Stretch the balloon over the cup.


You can add a rubber band to for extra security.


Load the cup with a marshmallow and pull back to launch!


My nephew immediately decided if one marshmallow is fun to launch, a handful is even better.  He was disappointed in the explosion as the marshmallow just toppled over the rim of the cup.  He did clean up the mess, by consumption. The physics teacher of my previous career had to resist going into a lecture on Newton’s Second Law of Motion and Elastic potential energy.  The kids got the idea through experimentation.  More stretch, more boom.  More marshmallows, less boom.  More marshmallows?? Yes, please!


Medieval Fun | DIY Shield & Coat of Arms

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Did you know that during Medieval times, knights used special designs and pictures on their shields — called a coat of arms — to identify themselves?  The reason is because one man in armor looked a lot like another, so the coat of arms he carried was used to identify a knight in battle.  During that time, few people could read and write, so pictures were very important.  A coat of arms was like a label or a sign, so you could know instantly who was coming toward you, and, as my kids said, “know whose team he was on.”

This fun & easy DIY project will allow your kids to come up with a design for their own “team.”  All you need is:

  • Cardboard cut in the shape of a shield
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape – to secure the aluminum foil
  • Colored tape (we used some special glittery tape we found) – for decorating
  • Markers (we used Sharpies, which are awesome on aluminum foil, but obviously use your own judgment about that.  My 4- and 6-year-olds are okay, but the 2-year old is quarantined from them.)
  • Packing tape or duct tape – to make the handle

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')"> Before you get started, cover the shield with aluminum foil and secure on the back with tape.

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

Then, it’s pretty much up to your knights-in-waiting to design their coats of arms.  Lady S was happy to create designs using the super-cool glitter tape (you can get similar at any craft store.)

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

And then colored in the “fields” of the shield with the Sharpies and added some special designs.

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

We also talked about how sometimes knights had images on their shields – to represent things like strength, or speed or courage.  Sir H decided a lion was appropriate for his coat of arms.  He drew it on a piece of paper, which we then taped to the shield.

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

He decided the colorful tape was a good addition, too, so created a border for his shield with that.  You could use duct tape (have you seen the crazy fun duct tape you can get at craft stores these days??) or colored masking tape, too.

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

As the finale, we added a handle to the back.  We took a length of packing tape (duct tape would have been better, but this was what we had) and folded it in half cross-wise (ie., the adhesive part onto itself), to form the handle.  Then I taped each end to the shield.

Medieval Fun | DIY Shield and Coat of Arms')">

Now my knights are ready for any adventure!