Posts Tagged ‘medieval’

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:


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Shield Cake

Monday, April 11th, 2016


Instead of cooking a medieval feast as a culminating activity for a medieval unit study, why not bake this simple shield cake? You can have fun creating a coat of arms with candy on the top of the cake.

Begin by baking a rectangular cake, preferably chocolate. Cut one end of the cake into a triangular point. Then tape some foil to a piece of cardboard that is larger than the cake. Upend the cake onto the prepared foil.

Grab two tubs of white frosting, and tint one of them to be the background color for the shield. You can choose any color you want. Frost the entire cake, including the sides.


Now comes the fun part. Divide the second tub of frosting into different bowls, tinting them whatever colors you want to create your coat of arms, dragon, cross, or any other shape. Place the tinted frosting in a plastic Ziplock bag and snip off the corner. Draw whatever you want with the tinted frosting.

We used white frosting to frame the outline of the shield. We also outlined a Peppermint Patty and drew a cross in the center of it. You can now use whatever candy you want to embellish your shield cake. We used colorful M&M’s to go around the entire cake.

Now enjoy eating your medieval shield cake!

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.


Sword of the Spirit Craft

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013


When you teach the Sword of the Spirit to your children, you can make a simple cardboard sword. All you need is cardboard, a razor blade (or knife), and silver spray paint. To make it more fancy, you can use black acrylic paint, fake jewels, and a hot glue gun.


First cut a sword shape out of cardboard. I drew it with pencil first. You can use a ruler to get the sides of the sword straight.


Spray paint the sword silver on one side. Let it dry a couple of hours. Then spray paint the other side. After drying a couple of hours, the kids can paint the hilt of the sword with black acrylic paint. Let dry before hot gluing fake jewels to it. (You can also use white school glue to attach the fake jewels.)


Enjoy your finished Sword of the Spirit. Read about the armor of God in Ephesians 6: 10-17. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and it’s our only offensive weapon against sin in our lives.

For the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 KJV


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If you enjoyed making this Sword of the Spirit, you will love Using Simple Costumes and Props to Teach the Bible. You receive this 2-hour video for free when you sign up for the Unit Study Treasure Vault, which has an enormous Bible section!

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