One of the most fun aspects of the King Arthur block was page training. A page is a young squire in training, while a squire is a knight in training. Marsha gives ideas in her Arthur block regarding page training.
In addition to her suggestions, I also added:
This involved tossing beanbags of poison into the dragon’s mouth (lest your sword be lost in battle). I used a wide piece of PVC pipe that is used for our rola-bola, but a basket would work just as well.
We also used the beanbags for the following verse:
Table of the finest wood
Mankind has ever seen
Without head and without foot
A sign of eternity.
All knights are equal here
And so is even the king
Our swords point to the center
Giving us the power to win.
I kept thinking that I should think of a better word than ‘win’ at the end… something more selfless, perhaps?
We would say the whole verse 3 times: 1 – simply pass the bean bags rhythmically from hand to hand, 2 – pass back and forth under opposite legs, and 3 – pass to the person on your right and receive from the person on your left at the same time. My son and I even managed this with only two of us when my daughter was too sick to participate.
Excalibur Jumping Jacks
We did jumping jacks to the verse Marsha supplied:
Formed with magic
Made with wisdom
Lead us forward
For all who live
Under the sun.
You have to be physically fit to be a knight… able to jump, run, or leap at any danger. We practiced jumping across our room.
1 – Jump all the way across and back, keeping feet together.
2 – Jump all the way across and back, on right foot. (easy for my 4th grader, not easy for my 2nd)
3 – Jump all the way across and back, on left foot.
4 – How few jumps can you make to get across the room?
Manners and Etiquette
Of course being a knight is more than just physical ability. One must also be trained in the polite ways of courtly living. Chivalry is of utmost importance.
We played a version of “Mother May I” called “Arthur May I”. I wore a crown, and the children lined up on the other side of the room. The children took turns answering questions about etiquette. If he got a question right, he could ask for steps (not to greedy, or Arthur says no)! The goal is for both of the children to get all the way across when Arthur runs out of questions… well, that was my goal, anyway. This was a ton of fun, and it began some much-needed discussion!
Here are the questions I asked. I know, they did not have silverware during the time of King Arthur, but maybe Merlin knew silverware would be coming and wanted the pages to be prepared.
King Arthur’s Etiquette Quiz
Is it ever okay to eat with your fingers at the table?
Yes, if the food is meant to be eaten with your fingers.
If the food is meant to be eaten with a fork, is it okay to use your fingers if you prefer it that way?
What should you say when someone gives you food that you do not like?
How do you eat a roll at the table? Do you eat it like a butter sandwich, or tear off bite-sized bits and butter them?
Is it ever okay to rest your elbows on the table?
Yes, if the dinner is casual and you are not eating. If you are eating or the dinner is formal you may not put your elbows on the table.
If you reach a door first, and there is someone behind you who is going through the door as well, what should you do?
Hold the door open for the person to pass. *Practice this with the children later… if the door opens in, pass through and hold it open, etc. Also, explain gender differences.*
If someone is walking or standing ahead of you and you wish to get around, what should do you do? *My children have been pushing me out of their way lately… I must get a handle on this!
A – Wait behind them patiently or say ‘Pardon me’
B – Gently push them aside as you pass
If someone gives you a gift that you do not like you should
A – Say “Thank you. This is a nice gift.”
B – “I don’t like this. It is not what I wanted”.
If you lose a tournament you should:
A – Throw your spear on the ground and sulk.
B – Congratulate your opponent on their success and keep practicing.
When someone pays you a compliment, on your shining armor for instance, you should:
A – Smile and say “Thank you”
B – Explain why you don’t really deserve the compliment. “No, my armor really is not very polished.”
If you are standing outside on the castle steps talking with another knight and a maiden stops to say hello, what should you do?
A – Begin a conversation with the maiden while the knight waits.
B – Introduce the maiden to the knight.
Do you mention the maiden’s name or the knight’s name first when introducing them?
Maiden – woman goes first (Silk Maiden, this is Sir Fancy-Pants)
Do you help yourself before passing food to a guest?
Is it polite to wipe your fingers on a napkin?
Would it be right to blame someone else for something you did if you thought that no one would find out?
Do the knife and fork belong on the table when you pass your plate for a second helping?
No – they never touch the table again after you pick them up — put them on the plate.
When visiting, do you have to follow the rules of the castle, or your own castle rules?
Rules of the castle you are visiting
Does a knight walk on the inside or outside of the lane when walking with a maiden?
Knight walks on the inside, so the maiden is not trampled or splashed.
When you are a guest in another castle you should:
A – Find your favorite seat at the dinner table and sit
B – Wait for the hostess to tell you where to sit