Dragons and Castles!

Dragons and Castles!

The children have shown a great interest in dragons recently (it is often a feature of their outdoor role-play as they pretend the steam coming from the boiler vent is dragon breath) & so I thought it was about time we had some in the classroom. I decided to link it to castles as so many of the story books with dragons in feature them. Here are some of the things we got up to… .

Maths Area

I found these vintage scales in a charity shop & couldn’t resist buying them for school as another opportunity for the children to explore. We only have plastic balances & scales & so it is a new experience for them. We pretended it was the castle kitchen & the stones, nuggets, wooden chips & gold pebbles were food. Exploring vintage scales - from Rachel (",)   Some children enjoyed having a go at balancing the ‘food’ with the weights but, of course, it wasn’t long before everything was mixed together. The concept of ‘balancing with the weight’ correctly has not quite been achieved for all of the children, but there was some lovely use of the vocabularly ‘lighter’, ‘heavier’ etc. Exploring vintage scales - from Rachel (",) .

Fine Motor Transient ‘Art’

Barely a week goes by when we don’t have some kind of transient art activity. I do like to change the nature of it, though. This week I thought we’d have a bit of a metal & silver theme to it as I decided that it would link castles & ‘armour’. There are lots of examples of this on Pinterest, which have inspired me greatly – but I especially liked this shared by Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching. I already had these silver coloured dishes & it was easy to lay my hands on silver/grey loose parts such as washers, screws & nuggets. I drew silver lines on black card for them to ‘trace’ with the loose parts. A simple & effective way for them to use their fine motor skills & encourage focus & concentration. This is not, strictly speaking, transient ‘art’ as the design is provided for the children, but they were free to turn over the card & create their own patterns if they wished (nobody did)… Transient art with metal, silver & grey loose parts - from Rachel (",) Transient art with metal, silver & grey loose parts - from Rachel (",) Transient art with metal, silver & grey loose parts - from Rachel (",) .

Discovery Table

Small bricks, blocks, glass nuggets & chess pieces for castle building… of course they build whatever they choose… Building castles & other creations... from Rachel (",) Building castles & other creations... from Rachel (",) Building castles & other creations... from Rachel (",) .

Finger Gym

Two activities on here this week – the ‘crown’ decorating is self explanatory, but we also had a ‘Beat the Timer’ game, where the children see how many ‘swords’ (matchsticks) they can thread through the holes in the flour shakers before the sand runs out… Developing fine motor skills - from Rachel (",) Posting 'swords' & beating the timer - from Rachel (",) Decorating a crown - from Rachel (",) .

Dragons in the Small World Area

Dragons, knights & a ‘castle’. They really loved this & the dragons have had great adventures… Dragons, knights & a castle - from Rachel (",) .

Light Box

‘Jewels’ from the castle for pattern making… 'Jewels' on the light box - from Rachel (",)

'Jewels' on the light box - from Rachel (",) .

Dragon Dough

… and other creatures. I provided googly eyes, feathers, matchsticks, stones & brown play dough for the children to make dragons & whatever else they wanted. As well as dragons, there have been buzzy bees, monsters, people & a Minion! Dough dragons & other creatures - from Rachel (",) .

Castle Feast

Metal goblets, dishes etc were added to to the table for a, sort of, medieval banquet… I added natural materials to represent the food so as not to limit their play. They loved it! I’m not sure if Yorkshire pud, sausages, mash & gravy was on the menu in those days, but that’s what I was served! 😉 Feast in the castle - from Rachel (",) Feast in the castle - from Rachel (",) .

Construction Area

Independently, the children chose to create castles in the construction area. Three girls made these with reels & ‘jewels’ from the light box… The girls made a castle with reels & 'jewels' from the light box - from Rachel (",) This one was a collaboration of a few children, both boys & girls. Figures from the small world also made their way onto it… Collaborative castle building in the construction area - from Rachel (",) .

Water Tray

The children loved making potions with the buttons & test tubes on the light box last week, so I simply added a variety of bottles to the water tray for them to continue… Potions in the water tray - from Rachel (",) .There is still a huge interest in these activities, so expect an adapted continuation of this next week…

Thanks for reading!

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8 Comments

  1. So many fab ideas to magpie! I particularly love the metal transient art and the straw and shaker challenge. Thanks again for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks, Claire! The transient art was a mixture of magpied ideas.I’ve seen the flour shaker idea a few times too – good old Pinterest!! 😉

      Reply
  2. I always look forward to my Saturday morning email! It’s inspiring to see how you provide such creative, open ended experiences for your children.
    Thank you for continuing to share your ideas.
    Lisa (Tishylishy)

    Reply
    • Thanks, Lisa! Love your ideas too! So glad we ‘met’! 😉

      Reply
  3. Great ideas to inspire my teaching! Two questions……how does clean up go after these activities? Especially the construction area where so many materials were brought in from other areas. Also, are there any issues with too many children wanting to start off at the same areas? I was thinking of the exciting ‘small world’ area. It looks so inviting that I wonder if many children want to start there but it looks like it can only accomodate a few children. Just thinking of potential challenges in my classroom before trying any of these wonderful invitations to learning! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Sandra!
      The construction area is easy to tidy as everything ‘has a place’ & the children know that everything that has been ‘transported’ must be returned. This doesn’t always happen after they’ve finished playing in an area (as much as I try!), but it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at tidy-up time, to ensure everything is where it should be.
      Sometimes the classroom looks like a bomb has hit it & I can’t imagine how we’re going to sort it, but it always gets done. Admittedly, the children don’t set the areas up quite like I do, but the resources are where they should be.

      As far as the areas accommodating the children goes – I only have a small classroom & although I would love much larger areas, I can’t have them. The children just seem to ‘sort it out’. I don’t have any limits on how many children are allowed in each area (apart from the water, but that’s because I only have 4 aprons). They learn to come back to an area if it’s busy – or sometimes squash right in! With this particular small world, some children ‘got in it’ & some took the dragons, knights etc elsewhere to play. I do try to make all the areas look as inviting as possible so that they have plenty of exciting opportunities to explore.

      Hope that helps! Rachel (“,)

      Reply
  4. Lovely ideas so inspiring, thanks for sharing! Where do you find your lovely resources? Wooden/metal bowls, small bricks etc?

    Reply
    • Hi Emma. thanks for your lovely comment! 😀
      I mainly source my wooden & metal bowls from eBay & charity shops. The small wooden bricks are cheap versions of Jenga blocks (eBay purchase) & the little terracotta bricks are called Teifoc bricks. I think I just purchased them online somewhere, but I’ve had them for a few years now & can’t properly remember. Hope that helps! Rachel (“,)

      Reply

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