Ever since my three year old begged me for a Knight In Shining Armor Birthday Party this past summer, both my boys have been obsessed with playing knights, fighting dragons, and building castles. Knights of old certainly are exciting to read about and make believe. There are also so many ways to include knights in our crafts and homeschooling activities! One way is to create a coat of arms!
Short History of the Coat of Arms
A Coat of Arms was the image, icon, or “herald” of each family back in medieval times. Families would choose symbols and colors that held certain meanings for their history and reputation, and these would appear on their clothing, banners, shields, crests, and other important objects.
Colors were important and could reveal whether you were royalty, or in the military.
The shapes, stripes, chevrons all had meanings too, but that was a bit too detailed for my little boys, so we stuck with colors and symbols.
How to Create a Coat of Arms Activity
I created a printable with twelve symbols that I thought would hold strong meanings for my boys: bear, fox, eagle, lion.
The boys selected a shield (or crest) shape, and cut it out. Then they choose four different symbols. After coloring each one, we colored the background of the shield, then glued the symbols down in each corner.
Then we mounted the shield onto a larger piece of construction paper.
My son chose the owl for wisdom, the arrow for protection, the bear for fierceness, and the eagle for strength. He colored his shield green, blue, and gold (hope, loyalty, generosity).
Creating a coat of arms is a simple project. You could do this project along with some read-aloud time, or as a family bonding activity. Even kids as young as my three year old can understand that a bear represents strength. It’s also a great literacy start towards teaching symbolism in literature and art.
Extending the learning
You can extend the connection from symbolic meaning to real-life action. After your kids complete the Create a Coat of Arms Activity, discuss:
- What does it mean to be strong?
- When might you have to be strong?
- What is generosity?
- Who can you show generosity towards?
Once kids understand the meanings, embark on a knightly quest for good deeds! That’s exactly what we did!
Our quest was ongoing, so we used a checklist of Knightly Good Deeds. You can read all about this coordinating activity and grab THAT printable to print and hang for your kids to try to check off each one!
Kids of any age can learn to be chivalrous and show generosity through good deeds towards others. A historical topic like knights in shining armor adds high-interest value to your discussions and activities.
I always think it’s great when kids can connect history learning with real-life outreach activity!
Grab your FREE Coat of Arms Printable!
Our coat of arms activity turned into a wonderful hands-on learning experience. PLUS I’m sharing a free printable for you to make a coat of arms with with your kids!
Tell me your ideas for more knightly good deeds!
When have you connected history to real life for your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas!
This post is written as part of my partnership with Melissa & Doug as a guest blogger. All opinions are my own.