I saw this really cute idea online at http://www.parents.com and thought it would be terrific for our Wonderful Wednesday group! The idea came from a secular book about the medieval times called Knights and Castles by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell. It had a poem in it that I really liked for it's simplicity in teaching kids the basic idea to remember with regard to feudalism, called The Four Alls. Here is how it goes:
The Peasants who worked for all,
Priests who prayed for all,
Knights who fought for all,
and Kings who ruled all.
There is a diorama activity in the book which is what we used as our guide, along with our imaginations, to create our feudal system diorama!
First we had to get into the mood to travel back in time....so everyone came dressed like peasants! They are adorable!!
We then started in with our lapbooking for Week 2, using www.wisdomandrighteousness lapbooks that we had pre-assembled for the year.
We then began assembling our project. Sarah and I had made ours the day before because I wasn't quite sure how long this project would take and to what level of detail we would have time for in our day. It took us about 2 hours to assemble and embellish our diorama. It was a lot of fun to be creative and think about the various items that might have been used during that time period for those aspects of life. I thought our group had great creativity and diversity in what their final products looked like! It was impressive. We just stood there and looked at them all for a prolonged period after they were completed - noting the detail and the differences in each one's dioramas. This was a top notch project to me and super fun!
The first thing we did was decide in what order the boxes would be stacked.
Two of the girls in our group had gone to Michael's and bought picture boxes on sale. That gave it a nice colored/uniform look and I liked that idea. I used just shoe boxes I had around the house saved, as did one other Mom. Both ways came out great in the end.
I assembled the first three boxes first but then realized that it would be easier to do them one at a time and assemble them at the end. So the next thing Sarah and I did was to work on how to make our Church roof. I did it one way the day before and learned a better way for the group to do it the next. Thus the doing it in advance on this project! Gave me good insight on what worked and what didn't as well as allowed me to help with gluing and assembling to make it go quicker for the group.
This ended up being the best way to assemble the roof: cut the length side of your box across on one side. Next cut your extra shoebox top out to match the part that you just cut (should have a long rectangle attached at one side like picture below). Then glue them together at the top and glue the rectangle you made to the other side of a box with a hot glue gun. Then trace the triangle you have as an open space on the back of the box onto the second extra shoebox top you have and cut it out and glue it to the open triangle.
Then you can begin painting the box and adding your embellishments. I found this great cheap fabric at Walmart that looked like a stained glass window. So we began cutting out stained glass windows for our Church.
Once cut, we hot glued the fabric onto the back of the box wall to become our "window". One of the Mom's had a great idea and cut a hole in the back of the box to match her window and then took a large packaging piece of take to stick it to into the hole. It gave it a cool window look with the fabric/light making it look more "realistic".
Next I took natural raffia and cut it out to make a "frame" around my window. Hot glued that by tacking it around the fabric onto the wall. Like below...We then decided to make a Church cross for our wall. We took popsicle sticks and cut off the ends to make it into a cross, gluing them at their intersection with a hot glue gun.
Next she took gold glitter glue and painted her cross. We then spray painted glitter glue I had into the back of the Church to make it sparkle. Just a fun touch but not necessary.
I then took a popsicle stick and cut it in half and took two more hot gluing them together length wise, to make a Priests alter. We glued some additional fabric I had found that looked medieval
Next the kids made their own versions of goblets and plates for the alter out of model magic.
I took some extra cardboard to cut out and attach to each level of the diorama labeling it's proper "All" for the kids to remember each level in feudalism. I folded them over about 1/2" and glued them to the proper level like below.
Next we worked on the castle Knights level. I took a sponge and cut it so that it made squares when dipped in paint and dabbed onto the back of the box. Sarah went to decorating her castle with paint. We next added these cool plastic knights that I found at Science Safari.The last detail we added was our flags. I cut out of white and red felt, flags and hot glued them to the back of the box. I took the raffia and twisted it to make it look like a wooden bar to hang them by and attached that.
The next level we worked on was the Kings level. I cut out of the box top a castle looking embellishment with a carpenter's knife. Sarah then painted the back and front of the box to look like bricks once again for our castle. We then added some tapestry fabric I found at JoAnn's over the summer. We hot glued it to the back of the wall and I once again used the raffia to be my "pole" holding it up on the wall. I wasn't able to find reasonably priced Kings or Queens for this level as far as plastic pieces - so each person did something different to represent their King. We had some that did chairs with candles, some did big tables, some found online printable images they printed and laminated then glued to popsicle sticks and added into their box. Each let their kids imagination guide them on what they would use to embellish this level.
Our last level to complete was for the peasants. On this level we decided to take brown playdough and the container it came in. We put the container upside down and then she molded the playdough over it to look like a hay mound. We added hay we had around the house and then plastic figurines of animals I found at the Party Store over the summer. We made fences cutting popsicle sticks in half both length wise and width wise. We hot glued them together to form fences and then hot glued them into place on that level.
Then we had our diorama complete! It was really fun and a big project but great for the beginning of school when we're not having to drill as much and do as much since we're right at the start of it all and had more time!
|The next day in costume!
Disclaimer for today: If you are new to CC, then don't feel like the things you may see me or my group do each week is required in any way, in order to be doing CC. This is truly an enrichment activity that we find fun and a great diversion from the normal grind of drilling and working on the 3R's all week. It is not required and if you are struggling with the basics of how to incorporate CC into your day, then don't add this type of activity until you are fully comfortable with just drilling the memory work each day, listening to the music, downloading the materials from C3 to help you drill and feel like you've got it under control. If you're finishing your day and have time and want to add in things to enrich what their learning, then that's where I'm at. :) The last thing I want to do is discourage any moms or make them feel overwhelmed. I blog our Wednesdays because I know lots of Moms (since I've heard from many of you!), enjoy doing what we do or a modified version of it and really enjoy the ideas and creativity. My goal is to encourage and support you Moms out there! Days when I'm not doing Wonderful Wednesdays are filled with math, reading, writing, copywork, spelling and drilling. They're not all "wonderful" and for us that makes Wednesdays more special. I work hard and I play hard. That's my personality! I hope that helps to put what I do into perspective for Moms out there viewing.