Sunday, 9 November 2014

Paint your own shields

We love visiting castles and other fabulous heritage sites.  Partly because they usually have fabulous grounds and gardens which often welcome dogs and usually have adventure playgrounds and quite often cafes.  Partly because they surround children with heritage.  They learn about and absorb a bit of history without even realising.  Whether you're talking about the portcullis, the moat and the murder holes as you go through a castle gateway, or you're talking about how the kitchen would have operated, where the great hall was and what might have happened there, and how the castle got destroyed.  Or you might be strolling the grounds of a stately home and happen upon a ha-ha, so you get started on how the grounds were landscaped and all about status amongst the upper classes.

Either way, the visit needs to be fun.  Sometimes it's good to dress up, or to take along your sword and shield.  In the past we've made some great shields using cardboard and papier mache, and to be fair, they lasted a year, but didn't survive my decluttering before the move.  When I saw plain wooden shields for sale (these ones were from Ludlow Castle - I'm sure I've seen them elsewhere, but can't find them on the English Heritage shop site, or even on Amazon just now!), I thought it was a genius idea, as it gives the children yet another idea to express their creativity and personality.

Bug definitely wanted a dragon on hers, preferably wrapped around its egg.  I drew it for her, and we did the painting together.  C knew exactly what he wanted on his, and got stuck in straight away.  I just drew around the outlines of his design in permanent pen once the paint had dried.  Now I'm going to give them a couple of coats of varnish each and they should last for some time - even if they get some wooden sword action.  They've got quite sturdy handles on the back too.

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