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Studying castles in kindergarten
A Kindergarten Unit on Castles
3 Feb, 2016. 2 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science, Kindergarten Social Studies. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Studying castles in kindergarten

The past three weeks we have been learning all about Medieval Times in our kindergarten classroom. My students had shown a huge interest in building castles and asked a lot of great questions about them in the weeks prior and thus birthed our newest unit.

We began learning about medieval times by reading the book, “A Medieval Feast.”

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This was the perfect book for my group of young learners. They have a passion for cooking and tactile activities and therefore, this book answered many of their first questions about castles and they loved every minute of the story. After reading the book and talking about the story, we watched a part of this video.

This lead to a wonderful conversation about Medieval foods and times. During exploration centers that day, my students prepared food for our “king” and used many of our new vocabulary words! It was great to see what my students had just learned in their play that day.

kindergarten students have fun during a castle unit

(Our fearless king! Costume from Bella Luna Toys)

The next day, we dug a little deeper into our inquiry and read about the different parts of a castle. I drew one and we practice labeling it during our morning meeting.

Kindergarten students practice labeling a castle during their morning meeting

During guided reading, we practiced syllables using our new vocabulary words.

Kindergarten students practice castle vocabulary words by clapping out the syllables in each word and marking the correct number with a gem. Kindergarten students practice castle vocabulary words by clapping out the syllables in each word and marking the correct number with a gem.

We then read a brief passage about the different parts of a castle.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles

During writing that day, we worked on a castle “can, have, are.”

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles

Next, the REAL fun began! I had been saving giant boxes and this presented a fabulous opportunity to repurpose them. My class decided that they would love to build a castle that they could play in. To come up with a plan, we read a page in our “Knights and Castles” book that taught us about the people who worked on a castle. I wrote each job on an anchor chart (masons, blacksmiths, carpenters, and ditch diggers) and my students got to choose which job they would like in our castle construction. (It worked out perfectly and each job had students who wanted to complete that task! I could not have planned it better.) Then each group took out tools and books to research and plan how they would complete their task in our castle project.

The masons took out the blocks to plan what shape the castle should be and what features we should add to it.

Kindergarten students come up with a plan for a castle using blocks

The ditch diggers got out some of our books and started to draw out their plan.

Who says kindergarten students can't research topics? Here they are researching how to construct a castle in a reggio-inspired castle inquiry/project

My drawbridge team took out our castle blocks to document how they wanted the drawbridge to look.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles.

After our planning time, each group shared their ideas and were beyond excited to begin construction the next day. (Truth be told, I barely slept that night because I was so excited as well!!)

The next day, we began construction and painting. I set out a paint table with mixing bowls, paint brushes, and paint. My students mixed all of their own paint colors.  Each group referred to their plans, our pictures, and resources to create the “perfect” color for their job.

Learning about castles in kindergarten

I also set out our resources so that students could easily access them during the process.

Our "resource wall" while studying castles in kindergarten! books to use while learning about castles in kindergarten

Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit.

Each team carefully worked on their part of the castle.

Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit.Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit. Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit. Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit.

Students worked very carefully and diligently on their tasks and took such pride in their work.

The next day, my students worked on adding the “stones” to the castle walls. To achieve this, they mixed a lighter shade of gray and used large sponges.

Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit. Kindergarten students create a life-sized castle while studying castles in a reggio-inspired unit.

Since our castle was almost finished, my students wanted to know how we would defend it! Again, we referred back to our “Knights and Castles” book to read about defending a castle. My students LOVED this. So much so, that as a STEM challenge, I gave them paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls and had them attempt to make catapults!

(This was a HUGE hit!)

Kindergarten students create catapults out of paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls!

After they launched their wool balls, they measured how far they traveled with unifix cubes and wrote their name and their farthest distance achieved on the board. Kindergarten students create catapults out of paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls!

Yes, I had wool balls flying everywhere in my classroom, but the excitement, math talk, and strategizing was wonderful! I loved how my students worked together to twist the rubber bands, and came up with different designs using wooden blocks.

Kindergarten students create catapults out of paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls! They then measured the distance each ball flew using unifx cubes. Kindergarten students create catapults out of paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls! Kindergarten students create catapults out of paint stirrers, rubber bands, and wool balls!

After this experiment, my students were very confident that they could ward off an invasion! 😉

The next day we read the book, “The Making Of A Knight.” Boy did this book captivate my young learners. They hung onto every single word and wanted to become pages, squires, and knights so badly. To make this come to life for my students, we learned about a coat of arms and created them out of cardboard, paint, and sharpies.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out shields from cardboard and have students decorate them! Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out shields from cardboard and have students decorate them! Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out shields from cardboard and have students decorate them!

They also designed cardboard swords.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out swords from cardboard and have students decorate them! Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out swords from cardboard and have students decorate them!

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles. Simply cut out swords from cardboard and have students decorate them!

While this center was open, other students were creating tapestries at our weaving station.Students enjoy a unit on Medieval Times. This center encouraged them to make a tapestry.

Students enjoy a unit on Medieval Times. This center encouraged them to make a tapestry.

Grinding spices for the king.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights. For this center, students ground spices using a mortar and a pestle! They turned their spices into a pie for a king.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights. For this center, students ground spices using a mortar and a pestle! They turned their spices into a pie for a king.

And turning their ground spices into “pies” for the king.
Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights. For this center, students ground spices using a mortar and a pestle! They turned their spices into a pie for a king.

Other students worked hard at creating a castle out of Trio blocks.

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights

While others got to play in our castle!

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights

“Lower the drawbridge, I’m crossing the moat!”

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights

“We are knights! We are defending the castle!”

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knights

Having fun with a quick photo opt. (I wish I had a better angle to take the picture!!)

Kindergarten students enjoy a unit on castles and knightsTo say we loved our castle unit, is an understatement! We had an absolute blast!

If you would like to teach any of these lessons, they are all available in my Castle unit along with so much more! You can find it in my TpT store HERE.

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2 Comments
  1. Your classroom is an ideal setting for any child to learn and grow!! I have the classroom decor pack and my students just love all the beautiful visual references. Your room is filled with them!! I noticed that you have Three Dimensional Shape Posters in your classroom. Will you have those available for purchase soon?

    • Jodie- Thank you so much for your kind words! I just added the 3-D posters to my store!

2 Comments

  • Your classroom is an ideal setting for any child to learn and grow!! I have the classroom decor pack and my students just love all the beautiful visual references. Your room is filled with them!! I noticed that you have Three Dimensional Shape Posters in your classroom. Will you have those available for purchase soon?

    • Jodie- Thank you so much for your kind words! I just added the 3-D posters to my store!

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