As a geek, often we find ourselves feeling isolated. Alone in our quirks. I noticed just the other day when I logged onto Facebook and there was a discussion on a geek parenting page about the Oscars. It was no surprise that pretty much none of the self-proclaimed geeks had watched any of the Oscar-nominated movies as they were all too busy playing table top games and reading books and admittedly watching “less popular” movies.
I believe it is this detachment from mainstream society’s interests that leads us to want to gather with like-minded persons. Online we have countless websites, forums, and social pages dedicated to our individual fan-doms. In real life we frequently can be found in large groups at comic conventions, Magic tournaments, and of course the Renaissance Fair.
When I think of the Renaissance Fair and all things medieval, I can’t help but reflect on the castles we visited when we lived over seas. Amazing structures, castles are. Studying castles lends its self to all sorts of things such as architecture, war strategy, history.
To get LittleMan excited to learn about castles I started by making two castles (one red, one blue) and two catapults to go with them.
The castles were made from duct tape, using the duct tape cloth method that I explained earlier this week. Securing 5 sides together and leaving the top open, I trimmed the edges of the top with scissors.
The catapult is made from popsicle sticks. It is a common design that I learned as a child and have seen floating around the internet quite a bit, I merely covered the popsicle sticks with matching duct tape to give them a more unified look.
For ammunition I simply ripped up and crumbled small pieces of construction paper, though I did talk to LittleMan about how rocks were used to weaken the castle walls. I also mentioned that sometimes catapults were used to throw severed heads over the castle walls as a means of intimidation, LittleMan being a typical 5 year old found this disgusting tidbit fascinating. (For more fun facts like this, I suggest checking out Horrible Histories.)
Once everything was made, I set up the castles and catapults a few feet apart from each other and we had a lovely time shooting at each other, trying to get our paper balls into the other person’s castle.
Of course the duct tape castles I made were hardly historically accurate. To help LittleMan understand all the various parts of a castle, I created these Parts of a Castle Nomenclature Cards (click here to download this free printable).
This post has been part of The ABCs of Raising Well-Rounded Geeklings series.