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Castle of Vincennes, a tall white stone tower surrounded by lower walls and towers with a big gatehouse and moat

Castle of Vincennes, Paris (1300s AD)

In the Middle Ages, many people lived inside castles like this one. You can study pictures of different kinds of medieval castles, and the excellent book on castles by David Macaulay (called Castle), and then try designing and building your own model castle (as a group). Check out our pages about medieval castles: the Tower of London, Carcassonne, the Conciergerie, and the Chateau de Vincennes.

First you’ll have to decide on a site for your castle, then draw out the plan, taking into account the need for water inside the walls, and all the different things that made the castles safer to live in, in case they were attacked by enemies. Does your castle have a garden? Does it have a place for kids to play? Be sure to define the scale of your plan.

Once you have a plan, you can begin building your castle. You might use wooden blocks, or Legos, or sand if you are at the beach, or cardboard. How can you match the measurements on the plan to the measurements of your model?

Other activities:

* Making icons
* Building a castle
* Tournaments
* Making chain mail bracelets
* Growing herbs

Bibliography and further reading about medieval castles:

A day in the Middle Ages
More about the Middle Ages in Europe home