"Dragons, Dreams & Daring Deeds:" Activity Ideas

Help! Our shire has 14 demos! Dame Aoife, Children's Officer and former librarian, offers suggestions for handling demos for libraries during this summer's "Dragons, Dreams and Daring Deeds" reading club program.

Aoife writes:

Since I'm a Children's Officer and a former Library Director, AND the topic has come up umpty-'leven times here in our PA group: Here's a list of book suggestions, activity suggestions and web resources for those bazillion requests for Library Demos and Assistance requests from Libraries in Pennsylvania, all who are requesting the help of local Pennsylvania SCA groups during July and August. Their Summer Reading Theme is "Dragons, Dreams, and Daring Deeds." We're getting a lot of requests for Demos. So many in some cases that we can't honor them all. I'd meant to web these ideas and suggestions, but time is running short. Please pass them along to wherever you feel they might do some good! Also please feel free to pass them along to those Libraries you are UNABLE to help with Demo requests.

Here's some of the activities ideas we've come up with locally (We're making up a "Library Demo" box with some of these items and activities ready to go):

The "Please Touch" area: Armor, artifacts, etc. Possibly an item of Chain mail to try on, a drinking horn, goblets, belt favor, etc. each item with an outrageous story behind them (or maybe the truth: Would they believe that it was given by the Queen? Won in a flirting contest? Was a prize for "Best Death"? Used during the War to repel a vicious attack of Normans?)

Medieval Board Games: Hnefetafl, Fox and Geese, Nine Man Morris, etc. Rules will accompany them. Worthy opponents to help play these games.

Medieval-oid crafts: Drop-Spinning & wool combing, etc. Poss. Embroidery for older ones

Medieval Communications:

  • Illumination:
    We will provide a "medieval" style black and white scroll for kids to add color w/ water-color paints. Possibly try their hand at a calligraphy style from the Book of Kells. They can practice writing each other messages, as well
  • Viking Runes (Futhark):
    Write your name in Runes!
  • Speak "Old English" (Anglo-Saxon):
    Some short sample phrases to impress Mom and Dad such as "Wæs þu, Faðir, hal!" ("Hi Dad!") and "Min nama is Michael" ("My Name is Michael"). From the website Hwaet! (link below under the Aethelmearc webpage, which has audio pronunciation examples for these phrases).
  • Medieval Maps:
    An exercise in making the familiar seem exotic. If you "medievalized" a map of your town (or your room, or the Library), how would it look with the edge of the earth, sea serpents, dragons, and fierce nomads added?
  • Who was the real Robin Hood? Information about Robinhood abounds on the web. Possible Nerf Archery Shoot at typically fun SCA target with Robin Hood Theme.
  • Sagas. How would a simple story be effected by a run through the incredible "saga machine"? Requires a SCAdian volunteer with the gift of BS and the gab :) to translate the story of a normal day into a Saga. Call up a volunter and ask the child to describe in detail what they did that day. Good for lots of Laughs.

Book Suggestions (my sources tell me that lots of the book suggestion in the Library program guide are out of print, which makes it tough for smaller libraries to pull up enough reading material on the subject. These are all fairly new and are in print):

  • Medieval Times Activity Book by Linda Milliken ISBN: 1564720497
  • The big book of medieval activities by Steve Henrich ISBN: 0926473255
  • How Would You Survive in the Middle Ages (How Would You Survive Series) by Fiona MacDonald, David Salariya, Mark Peppe (Illustrator) ISBN: 0531153061
  • Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages (Kaleidoscope Kids) by Avery Hart, Paul Mantell, Michael Kline (Illustrator) ISBN: 1885593171
  • Days of Knights and Damsels: An Activity Guide by Laurie Carlson (author of Huzzah Means Hooray ) ISBN: 1556522916
  • Knights & Castles: 50 Hands-On Activities to Experience the Middle Ages (Kaleidoscope Kids) by Avery Hart, Paul Mantell, Michael Kline (Illustrator) ISBN: 1885593171
  • Eyewitness: Leonardo & His Times by Andrew Langley ISBN: 0789462907
  • Knights (Discovery Program) by Rachel Firth, Lucy Owen (Illustrator), Glen Bird (Illustrator), Helen Wood (Illustrator) ISBN: 0794503853
  • The Art of the Renaissance by Lucia Corrain ISBN: 0872265269
  • Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley (Illustrator) ISBN: 0688162940
  • The Silk Route : 7,000 Miles of History by John S. Major, Stephen Fieser (Illustrator) ISBN: 0064434680
  • Do Knights Take Naps? by Kathy Tucker, Nick Sharratt (Illustrator) ISBN: 0807516953
  • In the Time of Knights (I Was There) by Shelley Tanaka ISBN: 0786806516
  • A Medieval Feast by Aliki ISBN: 0064460509
  • Design Your Own Coat of Arms by Rosemary Chorzempa ISBN: 048624993X
  • The Making of a Knight: How Sir James Earned His Armor by Patrick O'Brien ISBN: 088106355X
  • Life in a Medieval Castle and Village Coloring Book by John Green ISBN: 0486265420
  • Medieval Fashions Coloring Book (History of Fashion) by Tom Tierney ISBN: 0486401448
  • Market Day (Trophy Picture Book) by Eve Bunting, Holly Berry (Illustrator), Harpercollins ISBN: 0060253649

Activity Websites: