Ministry of Children
Ministry of Youth

This is the list of ideas for youth's activities at SCA functions (meetings and/or events).

Banners and/or Garb
Using fabric scraps, treat them with Heat 'n Bond before the event. Allow the kids to cut out shapes for a tabard or banner for themselves; an adult could then iron them on to pre-made tabards or banners.

[Another banner idea was sent in. This is from the text of an e-mail sent by Nichole Bordonne.] Because it was their excellencies' anniversary, I wanted the children to give them something in court. We decided to make a banner of the AnCroisre device. I had an artist draw the device on a piece of material and then let the children color it in with permanent markers. They had a great time and the King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Baron, & Baroness loved it and decided it would fly at our next war.

Blindman's Bluff
Blindfold one person, who's 'it', who then tries to touch one of the unblindfolded folks surrounding them.
Everyone else can tease the person who's it by touching their clothes, making noise, etc. If the Blind person touches one of the other players, they then become the blindfolded person.

Board Games
There are a wide selection of board games that are period in origin or use. Most can be made using paper, markers and colored stones. Amongst some of the games available are:

The Game of the Goose

Boffer Tourneys
There are a wide variety of tourneys that can be done for kids. By making "boffer" or nerf-type weapons and objects, a lot of fun can be had while teaching kids the importance of safety and of chivalry, courtesy and honor. Amongst the type of boffer tournaments possible are Axe Throwing, Spear Throwing, Knife Throwing and Combat Tournament. For use in the thrown weapons tourneys, velcro, duct tape, or other substances may be added to allow weapons to stick to a target. Set up an appropriate target such as stacked bales of hay, archery target, old suit of armor, etc. Weapons are thrown for accuracy. For the combat tournaments protective gear may be recommended (just in case someone gets too enthusiastic). Such possible protection might include fencing masks, bicycle or motorcycle for head protection. Possible other protective equipment such as gorgets, elbow and knee pads, kidney belts, and gloves could be worn. This not only protects the kids, but allows them feel that they are learning to use armour, just as the adults do. This also acclimates them to safety issues. Speak with your local Knight Marshall and Kingdom Superior about any regulations concerning such boffer tourneys. Let the kids run their own tourney with adult supervision and assistance. Age and/or size categories can be set up to keep the really small kids from having to match the really big kids.

Card Games
There are a wide selection of card games that are period in origin or use. These are especially good for older kids. Amongst some of the games available are:


Children's Tourney
Everyone must become involved. Given the above, there are a lot of ways to get a lot of people engaged in engaging the children. This takes a lot of the burden off of the kid-o-crat. To get the fighters involved, try staging a free-for-all tourney, where each fighter picks a child to fight for. Rope off a small "tourney box" area for the children to stand and have them make little "favors" earlier in the day to give to their fighter. Encourage them to cheer for "their" fighter. This works wonderfully in place of a simple fighter's demo.
The same process could be used for Archery as well.

Chinese Court Dragon
For an Oriental-themed event, during the course of the day, have the children constructed a Chinese paper parade dragon. Then for court, allow them to proceed the Royalty, with all the children inside the Dragon.
[PLEASE get TRMs permission for this, before the event.]

Coloring is an activity that kids of all ages enjoy. Supplying colors and/or markers with pictures of medieval related scenes, objects, people and heraldry is fairly cheap and easy to do. This activity can be centered around teaching classes. As the kids color pictures of knights, talk about the concepts of honor and chivalry. As they color shields, teach them about heraldry. As they color pictures of castles, talk about how castles were made, and what life was like, living in a castle.

Construction Ideas
Castles made from popsicle sticks, castles from egg cartons, colorful bead necklace making, design-a-shield color pages (make a page with a blank shield and let the kids design a device!).

Greased Pig
The pig has swallowed the family's jewels! Help us get them back! Big rewards for returned jewels! Get a piņata that resembles a pig, lots of sandwich bags, and a half dozen different colored stones (one for each prize) to represent the jewels. Cook up spaghetti and use food coloring or sauce to make it pink or red. Cook up oatmeal. (Use your imagination! This is supposed to be the innards of a pig after all! :) Let all food cool and stuff into the sandwich bags along with the stones (one per bag). Stuff the bags into the piņata until its full. Close up the piņata. (Yet another use for duct tape!) Place the pig into the center of a field or pig pen and have the participants arrange themselves in a circle. A marshal will call "lay on" or other appropriate phrase and stand well clear. The participants destroy the pig searching for the stones. Stones must be returned to the judge who should stand well clear of the pig pen. Stones may be captured, lost, etc., on their way to the judge. Advertise this as a very messy game and suggest participants bring old garb to wear during the game. Access to showers or at least running water is also a nice feature!

This game is like hackysack. You have a small leather ball (filled with beans, corn, etc) and the players use their hands (only) for batting the ball and trying to keep it in the air.

Hawk Amongst the Hens
This Tag-like game is an old African game. Two long lines of children (the Hens) are formed with about 20 feet or so between the two lines. One person is selected as "it" (the Hawk). The hens must scamper back and forth between the two lines continually. The Hawk will try to tag them before they get to the other line. If they make it to the other line before they are tagged, the Hen is safe. If the Hawk tags the Hen before they get to the other side, they must sit out. The last Hen left is the Hawk for the next game.

Hot Pot Game
I have found that "hot pot" usually keeps the kids going for a long time. You simply gather up some fabric scraps and make the 'hot pots'. They are just a stuffed bulb shape with streamers of various colors attached. The children then play a game very similar to tag with them. You throw by holding the streamers (which are the 'flames' of the hot pot) the receiving person must either dodge it or catch it by the streamers. If you are hit by it you are on fire and out of the game. Kids seem to enjoy it.

This is sort of a reverse Blindman's Bluff game. One person is selected to begin the game as Jingles. A necklace or arm/leg band with very jingly bells is placed on Jingles. (Belly-dance coin belts, Christmas bells, cow bells or anything that makes a noise upon movement will work.) All the other players are blindfolded. Jingles must slip in and amongst the blindfolded players without being caught. The person who touches Jingles is then "it". This game must be refereed to preventing people from walking into walls, trees, etc. while blindfolded."

Loot the Knight
Use a cutout figure of a knight with knight regalia which was knights chain, white belt, spurs, sword (all fakes of course) for each team of children. This was a team event where you had relays and were timed. The team to kill Sir Knight from a distance with a javelin or combat bow and arrow or here you could use a bean bag and it had to be a good kill and then the race to bring all his stuff back one article at a time and the team with the best time wins. A reverse of this game is also popular, called
Arm the Knight. In a relay race, the teams try to equip the cutout figure of the knight with his regalia (one piece at a time). the team that gets the knight equipped first wins. [Cardboard pieces with velcro works well for this game.]

Maiden Carry
"Fighters" in "full armor" (could be made out of cardboard or other found materials) without helms carry a maiden around an obstacle course. Race is timed. Best time wins. The maiden is a large rag doll appropriately dressed and very durable.

Make a Village
Get a huge peace of paper and have them draw a village or a castle. For little kids draw in some of the main roads or castle and then let them fill in the rest. This activity will work for older kids also. ( It is not recommended that kids under 5 working with older kids on this.)

Make masks using paper plates. Cut the plate into halves and then use a craft stick (shaped like the stick from a popsicle) to provide the handle. These masks are easier for kids since they are less like to limit vision (They just hold up the mask when they want to wear it) Provide construction paper, glue, tape, feathers, glitter, etc.

Mouse Trap
While possible not historical, this is a fun game for children. It requires 2 adults or older children to start. You need a "Cat", and lots and lots of "Mice". The two adults (the trap) will hold both hands, with arms raised so the "mice" can pass underneath in a continual stream. The Cat will stand so that he/she cannot see the mice or trap. As the mice pass in and out of the trap, the cat will suddenly shout "SHUT". Down go the Trap's arms. Any mice caught in the trap are then recruited to be part of the trap (they join the link, making more places for mice to enter and exit.) The last Mouse left becomes the next Cat.

Painting Activity
Host a children's activity based on medieval painting (may be best done by an experienced scribe). Start with where did the illuminators get the paint.... Knowing that Wal-Mart was not an option in those days, let the children suggest ways that medieval painters made paint and what from. End with a free for all painting session for everyone. The paint was made the same way as period paints were, with a slight twist. Mix the medieval binding medium glair (whipped egg whites and a little water. Made at home 2 days ahead of time and carried to the event in a jar.) with pigments (kool-aid). This gives you a paint similar to a water color, not to mention it smells good. The children choose what *flavor* pigment they want and mix it themselves. Most SCA scribes use a paint called guache. It contains a small amount of white pigment that gives it an opaqueness rather than the transparency of watercolor. The modern recipe for non-toxic homemade guache 1 Tablespoon white vinegar mixed with 1 Tablespoon baking soda (yes, it bubbles) Wait until it stops and add 4 Tablespoons of corn starch, 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup,and food coloring. Add water as needed for consistency. Pour it into plastic medicine cups and make about 15 different colors. The remarkable thing about this recipe is that it can be dried out and reconstituted like the store bought kind. Make it ahead of time and take it dried to the event. The children...and adults... got to see why modern tubes of paint are more convenient and accurate in color. They all got to see the differences between watercolors and guaches. And they got to paint pretty pictures to take home with them. Not only did they have a good time, but they learned something in the process.

Paper Dolls
Make paper dolls and then provide xeroxed sheets of 'clothing' to color and cut out. Girls especially like this, but make sure to make 'boy' dolls also.
[Dover Books has some wonderful, inexpensive, medieval paper doll books that could be photocopied to make some of these.]

Red Lion Game
One child is "It", the lion, and has a den. The runners come away from the base near the den and chant "Red lion, red lion, come out of your den; whoever you catch will be one of your men," after which the lion chases to catch. Whether a tag or a catch is required depends on the age and disposition of kids, and on the terrain, and on the disposition of the parents to let the kids play rough or not. The "it" team grows, and the last runner caught is the new lion.

Scavenger Hunt
Make up a list of items to be found on site. Fun items include: a peer, a scroll, a stuffed animal in chainmail, a
broadsword, a coronet, a ruler, etc. If an item can have more than one connotation, you can discover just how creative some people can get. A coronet could be a metal circlet or it could be the local royalty!

Make simple scroll blanks (perhaps xeroxed) to be COLORED by the little ones. In court, the Royalty can hand out the proper scrolls to the proper child. Being called in court is exciting for everyone, even the little ones.
[This is especially good for Baronial Courts.]

Sponge Wars
[This is from the text of an e-mail sent by Nichole Bordonne.] One of the other activities we did was to make shields. I cut shield shapes out of plywood, sanded them, put handles on the backs, and primed them with a coat of gray paint. The idea was to let the children create a device to paint on them, however, most of the children were too young and just enjoyed painting them in heraldic colors. (which was fine with me) We let them dry and then that afternoon, we had a water war. We filled a large bucket with water and then put sponges and sponge balls into the bucket. The kids hid behind their shields from the inbound missiles and had fun throwing them a each other and us. Because we reused the sponges after they fell on the ground, everyone was a dirty mess, so we let them rinse off in the pool showers in garb. Needless to say, they were then soaked! But, everyone had a great time and it had been such a hot afternoon, it was nice to cool off. (Plus it thunderstormed after that and everyone was soaked anyway.)

Sport Games
There are a wide selection of sport games that are period in origin or use. Amongst some of the games available are:


Toss Game
Take an old plain blanket and applique simple shields on it. Make up flattish bean bags with matching devices and use it as a toss game. Can toss for matching charges, tinctures etc. The bean bags are a great way to use up fabric scraps.

Viking Ship Building
Materials: many colors of construction paper, tape, glue, crayons, and scissors
Teach the children about Viking longships, then let the kids craft their very own Viking Ships. Then give each a random number. The ships can be displayed and voted on by the event attendees. We've used a token/cup voting system with success. Give a prize to the one with the most votes and something nice to everyone who competed.
[The "competition" can be divided into age groups, if desired.]

War Toys
Make a set of Medieval GI Joes. Use the standard GI Joe bodies, but sew Tunics, pants, capes, and the like. They also have swords, shields, and even a rapier or two. Also look for small plastic horses that can be "barded." A "village" to defend would also be a good addition. Many of these can be purchased extremely cheaply at garage sales.

Wooden Building Blocks
Have those wood workers sand down their scraps and throw them in a box. Bring them to an event and let the kids at them! Any shape will work and enhance creativity.

Wooly Wooly Wolf Game
Wooly Wooly Wolf is similar to Red Lion. The difference is the signal for running isn't the end of a jointly-chanted verse, but it's this bluff by the leader of the sheep (runners): "I spy the wooly wooly... DOG" (anything besides wolf is a false taunt and the wolf can't run). "I spy the wooly wooly BEAR" or whatever, until finally he says "I spy the wooly wooly WOLF and the wolf comes out and catches some to be wolves with him."

Working Children
Children have made banners for the feast hall, the older ones have served as heralds in our courts, and the little ones have made tabards and acted as guards. Older children should be allowed some responsibility. Hands in the kitchen are hands, whether they are big or small. Use them as errand runners, but make it official. Kids take their responsibilities more seriously when they are "official". Baldrics really help.


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Many of these ideas were gleaned off other internet pages, including the Northshield's Children's Activities Page. Other ideas are the input of various populace members including, but not limited to: Mistress Ælflæd of Duckford, Lady Eibhlin ni Chaoimh, Aoife , Katherine Kerr of the Hermitage, Yumitori, John Petrie, Drisana Amineh Ayieshia, Nicolaa de Bracton, Lady Gwyneth, Lady Rhondalynn MacLeod, Edwin Hewitt, Lady Lęofsige Õ Caoimh, Lady Alianora de Gray, Lord Mongke Gal, His Lordship Nakano Tadamasa Zenjirou, Lord Roberto Carlos Dominguez, Baroness Jadwiga Marina Majewska, Baroness Briana Etain MacKorkhill and Baron Modar Neznanich .

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This Ministry of Children's Activities Page is published by Ron Knight (known in the SCA as Modar Neznanich) for the edification of the members of the Barony of Forgotten Sea, its cantons, the Shire of Cúm an Iolair and the members of the SCA. It is not a corporate publication of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. and does not delineate S.C.A. policies. In cases of conflict with printed versions of material presented on these pages or it's links, the dispute will be decided in favor of the printed version unless otherwise indicated. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.