When it comes to homeschooling we love doing unit studies. Both of mine are into castles, knights, and princesses, so this year we planned a castle unit. One of our favorite activities for the castle unit was designing a coat of arms. Of course you don’t have to homeschool to enjoy this activity. It makes a fun stand-alone craft for kids of all ages.
During our castle unit we had fun reading about medieval life and learning about what life REALLY was like for those living in a castle. (It sure wasn’t like the Disney movies!) We also talked about how hard it was to recognize knights in battle since they were covered head to toe in armor. That’s why a knight’s coat of arms was so important — it allowed people to identify them.
Before my kids designed their own coat of arms, we spent a lot of time reading and researching the meanings behind all the different colors and symbols on medieval coat of arms. (This site was super helpful in learning about heraldry symbols.)
Originally my daughter wanted to use purple, but then she discovered it was usually reserved for royalty. So she chose green, representing beauty and joy. To represent her artistic nature, she chose the swan as her symbol.
My son chose blue to represent strength. For his symbol he chose a dragon, guardian of treasure. Depending on the age of your child you might want to let them create their own coat of arms with the things they really like, or you might choose to have them research what each color and symbol represents.
Coat of Arms Craft
It helps to have your child sketch out their ideas ahead of time. As they research the different colors and symbols, let them create several different ideas on paper, using crayons or colored pencils.
Next, cut out large shield shapes from cardboard. You can use paint to color the background color on the shield, or you can do what we did and use construction paper. (Construction paper means you don’t have to wait for paint to dry.)
Both of mine chose not to divide their shields, but if your child wants to use an “X” or another shield division, now is the time to add it to the design. Again, you can paint it on or use construction paper.
Finally, it’s time to add any symbols. Your child may choose to draw his/her symbol on the shield. For ours I simply went to Google and searched for a coloring page with each of the symbols they had in mind. Once they were colored, we cut them out and glued them to the coat of arms craft.
They were super proud of their coat of arms craft when they finished!
Some of our favorite castle books: