Ancient to Modern World – The Middle Ages

Costume Ideas

GENERIC HINT ONE: Do internet searches for images of specific characters, like “Cleopatra”, or do a generic “Ancient Romans” type of image search for visual representations of costuming.

GENERIC HINT TWO: Do internet searches for Do-It-Yourself costuming pages for instructions or ideas on how to make your own costumes

So, obviously, with the Medieval topic we can expect to see Knights, Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies. Some of these may be a bit difficult to put together but it is possible. For the Knight, as with Ancient World armour, cardboard and silver duct tape work wonders. There are also plenty of plastic versions for sale at toy shops or online from costume shops. With Kings and Queens, the main accessory is the crown which can range from plastic or cardboard to metal or wire ones. With Knights, Kings and Lords, slim fitting pants and a long-sleeved tunic style top belted at the waist are good basics and with Queens and Ladies a long dress with long sleeves is the main element. Then just accessorise with belts, jewellery, swords etc

As with the Slaves of the Ancient World the Peasant or Serf is always an easy option. Just a long tunic style top or dress with long sleeves, belted at the waist and an apron always works well .

Some other options for Medieval costuming that are a bit different are: Vikings, Barbarians, Samurai Warriors, Archers, Plague Doctors and Dragons. There is a vast array of medieval style characters like Prince Charming, Cinderella, Maleficent, Merida (from Brave), Shrek and Princess Fiona…and the list goes on. Again, internet searching for images, ideas, DIY instructions or even ready-made costumes is a good task for students. It not only gets them costumed up it also gives them some insight into the time period.

Here are some links to DIY costuming pages:

Activity Ideas

Archaeological Dig

This can be done for any time period.

  • Organise a large box or small kiddies pool full of sand or soil.
  • Bury ‘artefacts’ – old cutlery, coins, bits of broken ceramics, old dried out chicken or beef bones, bobby pins, bits of fabric, etc.
  • Students can bring tools from home or you can supply them, maybe from your Art Department – various size paint brushes, clay working tools, etc
  • Students can first investigate and research some archaeological excavation techniques They can then use those techniques to find the buried artefacts. They can then classify these items into areas such as bone, stone, ceramics, etc
  • The students can then try and imagine the stories that are behind these artefacts – Who might have owned this item? What could it have been used for? How did it end up lost and buried? 

Other Activity Ideas

  • Do a bit of research with your students on Family Crests or Heraldry and learn about the various design elements. Then have the students design a Heraldry that represents their family. Asking questions like: What is important to you and your family? What images/symbols do you feel represent your family? What do you do together with your family…sport/camping/cooking/watch TV/ go on Sunday drives?
  • Students can research Medieval food and have a Medieval Feast or try and find the most disgusting recipes or foods that Medieval people ate…some Medieval foods sound truly horrible!
  • Have students attempt to make a cardboard suit of armour, learning about the various pieces (eg: what are Pauldrons?) and what they were designed to protect against (eg: some pieces of armour are designed specifically for men on horseback…why?).
  • Make science crafty by making Catapults out of paddle pop sticks and elastic bands and learn about trajectory, tension, inertia and gravity, etc. Below you will find a video on making some different types:
  • Students can learn to play the Medieval board games of Nine Men’s Morris or Fox and Geese; these are strategy games like Chess or Checkers. You can print out some paper boards and use whatever you like as the counters. Here are some printable boards and instructions for how to play:
    • Nine Men’s Morris – Download the rules here
    • Fox and Geese – Download the rules here
  • Paper may have been invented by the Chinese, but it was in Japan that Origami, the art of paper folding, originated. Paper was brought to Japan in the 6th Century and, as a luxury item, was only available to the privileged. Origami was initially purely used for ceremonial and religious purposes but through the years it became a form of art that anyone could practice. Here are some traditional Medieval patterns that your student can make.