Posts Tagged ‘castles’

Tour of San Felipe Castle, Guatemala

Thursday, July 13th, 2017


After our Río Dulce boat ride, we walked up to the beautiful San Felipe Castle in Guatemala. If I had known that there was a real Spaniard castle from the 1500’s just a few hours from where I grew up, I would have gone as a child. My parents thought it was just a fort with one room, but as you can see from the video tour, there were lots of rooms, complete with a kitchen and dining room, bedrooms, a chapel, a courtyard, and a dungeon. There were many towers to look out over the river.

Video Tour of the San Felipe Castle

The day that we toured the castle was sunny with clear blue skies. Although it was sweltering hot, the beauty of the castle was a delight. I have always loved castles, and this was no exception. I found myself going in and out of various rooms and corridors, losing myself in the time period of the colonization of Guatemala by the Spaniards.


Inside the castle was a large kitchen complete with fireplace to cook whatever wild fowl the hunters found in the river. The area was also lush with banana and coconut trees, so those foods must have been incorporated into their diet as well. I love the look of the Spaniard yellowish-stone walls both inside and outside the castle.


I walked both upstairs and downstairs in this castle, as there were many rooms. It wasn’t just a functional fort for soldiers. It was a fully livable home for that time period, with plenty of space for servants. There was a barracks for soldiers, and the fact that there was a dungeon for enemies with individual cells for solitary confinement was creepy.


Cannons decorate the outside of this castle, not only on the top of the castle, but on the grass at the base of the castle, facing out toward the river. Since the castle is situated on the Río Dulce River, it is protected on three sides by the water itself, and the top of the castle gives a commanding view of the area to prevent any attacks.


I love the picture of my family taken at the San Felipe Castle:


If you don’t want to miss any posts in my Guatemala Adventure series, follow my Missionary Kid page!

LEGO Castle

Monday, April 20th, 2015


My 11-year-old son Nathaniel built a castle out of regular LEGOs. You really don’t need to get an expensive castle kit; if you have regular LEGO bricks, you can build a LEGO castle of any shape and size as you study the Middle Ages.


Start with a green base. Find all the white LEGO pieces and dump them in a pile so that you don’t have to keep looking for more pieces while you build. Decide what shape you want the castle to be, and outline it on the LEGO base. Make sure you leave space for the entrance. For our castle, we have four castle keeps, one at each corner.


Start building up the walls, interlocking the LEGOs and staggering them so that the structure is sound. If you put a LEGO brick connecting two LEGO bricks, the structure is less likely to break apart. You can insert a design on the front with a different color, either in a shield shape or any other shape. The entrance can be made either as a rectangle or an arch. My son decided to make an arch with pillars on either side.


Keep building up the structure until you run out of white LEGOs. Then enjoy your LEGO castle!

For more hands-on activities for the Middle Ages, take a look at my Medieval Unit Study Pinterest board.


How to Build a Sand Castle

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014


We saw sand castles on Cannon Beach as we were walking to the tide pools, so we snapped pictures of some of them. I have always loved sand castles! The best ones have a specific method for why they hold together so well. Here are some tips to building a sand castle, followed by a fun video showing each of these steps.

How to Build a Sand Castle

Step 1: Carve a circle, build a trench, and dump the sand in the middle of the circle.

Carve a circle with a shovel in the sand, the area where you want to build your sand castle. (You could make a square or rectangle instead if you want, like the picture above.) Then start digging a trench at the circle line, piling the sand in the middle of the circle in a big heap.


Step 2: Get buckets of water, and dump them into the middle of the sand pile.

You need lots and lots of water, so go back and forth from the water to the sand circle, dumping the water in the middle.


Step 3: Build the castle mountain, from which you will carve the castle.

The woman in the video used a large bottomless bucket to build the main part of her castle, but most of us don’t have that. Instead, you can just build up a mountain of wet sand, packing it down tight as you go, because you will want to carve it next.

Step 4: Carve the castle.

Carve the shape of the castle little by little, starting at the top and moving down. You can add stairs, windows, castle turrets, and other details. Use a simple table knife if you don’t have sand sculpting supplies. You can also use buckets filled with wet sand, turned upside-down.


Step 5: Add the final details.

Add bridges and carve the shape of bricks into the walls of the castle. You can get as elaborate as you want. Then stand back and admire your work.

sand-castle-bridgeHere is a fantastic video I found on how to build a sand castle, using each of these steps:

We saw a Lord of the Rings sand castle as we were walking along. My husband and sons thought the Mountains of Mordor were super cool!

lord-of-the-rings-sand-castleHere is a closer picture from above the Lord of the Rings sand castle, showing more of the terrain:

lord-of-the-rings-sandcastle-2We thoroughly enjoyed these sand castles! Every June there is a sand castle contest where even more spectacular sand castles are built!

Related product: The Wonderful World of Sand and Dirt

Tintagel and King Arthur

Friday, June 11th, 2010


In a land of cliffs and turquoise waters, at the edge of a land called England, there once lived a king, a magnificent king who had a round table. That king’s name was King Arthur…

tintagel-gateFor anyone who loves the medieval time period, or for anyone who loves literature, I would recommend visiting Tintagel in the southwestern part of England. Yes, I know King Arthur was just a legend, but many legends are based on fact and exaggerated over time, so King Arthur could have actually existed.

Even though this castle is a complete ruin with no real walls, the legend that King Arthur lived there makes it magical. At least one doorway still stands, but mostly you will see something that resembles a floor plan of a castle, barely in 3D because most of the walls are a foot or two high.

Green, grassy cliffs hang over the turquoise waters of the ocean. The waves crash against the black rocks, and caves run along the ocean shore. In the town of Tintagel, you can go to a museum where the legend of King Arthur comes to life. Of course, all the items are based on the books, so they are not reality. But for the literature lover, Tintagel is a fun place to visit.


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