originally printed in May 2003, by Dame Marcella Visconti
children, kinder, kids, bairn, babes, youngsters, little m'lords and ladies. We call them all kinds of things, occasionally even "the little monsters" (usually when they are off in the distance screaming like barbarians). Because we have children, we've spent some time figuring out how to best make them happy. We have found a number of successful period activities for them to participate in.
They're almost always in the mood to play some of the period chase games such as "duck duck goose" (or King, King, Queen), "Mother may I?" (Duchess may I?) "prayer tag" (just like freeze tag but when you're about to get caught you drop to your knees in a prayer stance). There are many more but running around always seems to be a hit with the average kid.
Wooden spinning tops and wooden yo-yo's, home- made clay marbles, leather or wooden balls and decks of cards all go a long way for keeping kids from boredom. Another good idea is to teach your children a few simple songs such Jolly Red Nose or Greensleeves which are easily learned on the recorder, they get to participate in Bardics and that let's them feel like they're contributing their part to being .period. and still having fun.
Our kids like playing cards or dice; One evening at war all the youngsters gathered around a table, about 6 of them or so and played poker and dice ...it was strange to see a 4 year-old trying on his best .poker- face. but they seemed to be intent and having fun.
For day events or over nighters, arts projects are great. For example, coloring Heraldic devices printed out before you go, I recommend markers, they don't melt. The other heraldic art example is to set them up with examples of heraldic devises and pieces of felt or wool scraps and let them make mini banners.
Croquet of course, is a period game as is Bocce ball, those are both available at a store near you and usually are available in wood. Board games are very popular as well. Including but not limited to cribbage, Nine Men Morris, Chess, or checkers; which wasn't called checkers in period but is exactly the same game.
There is a game called 9 Pin that is period, it's 9 wooden pins (a la bowling) and a period ball (leather ball stuff with wool the size of a soccer ball) and you roll the ball at the pins trying to knock down as many as possible at one time...sound familiar?
Keeping the kids busy is vital to keeping them enthusiastic about attending events especially as they hit the 10 and up age. Being a lady-in-waiting or a page for the pre-teen is encouraging for them as well as the beginnings of the knighthood track. They like to have someone beside a parent teaching them how to dress, speak and act in court... or fight, sew, cook, shoot archery and so many other things that a Knight can offer them. Serving the Ruling Noble is quite an honor and is taken seriously by even the youngest members.
An all-time favorite, for the adults as well as the children, is Rounders. It.s a period precursor to baseball. It's sort of a cross between baseball and cricket and it is a blast, all ages can participate at the same time and makes participation a family activity.
Those are some of the day event options, camping
weekends filled with courts and lists and battlefields
can be wearying, and boring as well, for children so
remember to take some time from your busy schedule
at War to spend with your bairn. We often co-op these
activities at War which allows all the adults to get some
time with the kids and some free time to fight or judge
or explain your arts entry which is impossible to do
with a child at hand. A nature hike, a swim, a game of
.telephone. or a game of "I spy" are all fun ways to
pass time with children to keep them as enthusiastic as
their elders while in the midst of the distant past.
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