History Themed Ideas and Activities for the Whole Family!
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Inspirational People –
For Inspirational Times...
A closer look at another inspirational figurehead…
Whether you’re inside or outside in your garden, try these fun ideas to keep your mind and body busy!
With a different recipe or foody suggestion for each issue, there’s no need to get food bored!
A pick of five top items for this issue, ready for you to delve into…
Why not enter our themed competition? You could win a Treasure Trails gift voucher in preparation for when we can all get back out there!
Exercise your mind as well as your body with our selection of quizzes!
Leif Erikson – The Original Viking Explorer
If you were asked who the first European to ‘discover’ North America was, you’d answer “Christopher Columbus”, right?
Well, it turns out a Viking named Leif Erikson set foot on American soil nearly 500 years before Columbus set sail!
Leif’s family had a running history of exile, exploring and sailing off course. His grandfather Thorvald Ásvaldsson was banished from his native Norway because of “some killings” and took his young son Erik to Iceland.
Incidentally, Iceland was discovered by Thorvald’s great-great-uncle Naddod, who drifted off course on a journey between Norway and the Faroe Islands.
Leif’s father, Erik the Red, went on to be exiled from Iceland for three years due to an incident between his thralls (slaves) and a neighbouring farm, which ended in bloodshed – see a pattern emerging? Erik packed up his young family (possibly including Leif – it is unknown where he was born, but it’s presumed Iceland) and travelled across the sea. He came across Greenland, which he named to make it sound more appealing than his home in Iceland, and created the first Nordic settlement there.
In 999, Leif sailed to Norway to become a hirdsman to King Olaf Tryggvason, where he converted to Christianity. On his journey back to Greenland the following year, where he was tasked with spreading Christianity, Leif was blown off course. He eventually reached an unexpected land covered in vines and wheat fields. There he rescued two men who had been shipwrecked and headed back to Greenland.
He’d heard the tale of another man who had spotted the same land – a merchant named Bjarni, who’d also been blown of course and spotted the vine-covered area, but never made landfall. He approached Bjarni to hear the course of his journey, purchased his ship and gathered a crew for an expedition.
Leif followed Bjarni’s journey in reverse, first landing in a place he named Helluland – flat-rock land, possibly Baffin Island – then Markland – possibly Labrador – before reaching his ultimate destination, which he aptly called Vinland.
He spent the winter there, returning to Greenland in the spring with a ship full of grapes and timber.
Over time, Historians have been sceptical about this “discovery” and whether it actually happened – particularly since there are only two historical mentions of Leif’s voyage to Vinland, both written 75-100 years after the fact.
However, in the 1960s, the remains of undoubtedly Nordic settlements and artefacts were discovered on the northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, circa 1000 AD and in an area matching Leif’s description. This sealed the deal for Leif’s place in history as an early explorer and North American settler.
Which Poldark Character Are You?
Hey, it’s not just BritBox that can trot out the old favourites!
Take the quiz, identify your character and do a little something extra…
‘Poldark’ the TV series ran for 5 series on our TV screens from 2015 – 2019 and back in 2016, we created this little gem of a quiz to celebrate the return of the show for its second series.
Although the series has now finished, we thought that with our History themed edition of the TT Strange Times we could not only revisit the show – but it could become the basis for an afternoon of fun for the whole family!
All you’ll need for this fun activity, is one single dice, a pen and paper and a creative mind!
The idea is that you run through the quiz below, answer the questions and end up as a certain character from the show.
Then, roll the dice and note down the number it comes up with.
Once you have done that, you need to write and perform a short dramatic piece for the character you have ended up as (only a few minutes worth!) that matches the number of the scenario below that the dice has revealed:
- Ross’s horse is stuck in the stable and he needs urgent help to be able to get to his scythe out
- Demelza’s got lost on the way home from seeing her dad in Illogan
- George has lost his purse at the beach and he needs his ID from it before he can repossess another stately home
- Jud has trodden on a rake in the barn again and needs urgent attention
- Prudie’s accidentally baked something of Ross’s into a loaf of bread
- Elizabeth has to go shopping for urgent supplies but Waitrose is closed
You must remain as the character you were allocated by the quiz and you must find a way to work them into one of the scenarios above!
If you want to, you could film your short piece and present it to us on Facebook, along with the hashtag #PoldarkRocks.
Time now to play the quiz to reveal your character!
Fresh air fun:
The Treasure Trails Garden Games Modern Pentathlon for 2020
You made it, athletes, it’s time for the final event of your Garden Pentathlon! We hope you’ve had fun taking part. It’s not over yet, though! Who will win? Let’s find out…
If you’ve missed the previous events, where have you been? Don;t worry – you can click on the following links to head back and participate in the first event, The Paper Aeroplane Javelin the second, the Synchronised Garden Swimming the third, the Egg and Spoon Steeplechase, and the penultimate event, the Baloon Target Shooting.
Before we get onto this final event, here is a last reminder of the ground rules on scoring, and those suggestions on how to make your events even more spectacular!
- If there are enough members in your household, create teams of two people to compete instead of competing as individuals.
- Points are awarded per event. After competing in each event, rank the teams from first to last. The winning team should be awarded five points, the second team four points and so on.
- The team that has the most points after completing this final, fifth event will win the gold medal (and eternal glory!).
Some Fun Ideas!
Don’t forget that to enhance the experience, you could…
- Create your own Garden Pentathlon torch.
- Split into teams before you start tackling the events and have each team design and create their own flags.
- Hold an opening ceremony, with teams marching into the garden, with their flags and torch, to the tune of Chariots of Fire.
- Prepare sporting themed party food if you’ve got the supplies, or channel Wimbledon with post-event strawberries and cream.
- Create your own gold, silver and bronze medal ribbons, and hold a closing ceremony for the prize-giving (to the tune of We Are the Champions, of course!).
Ready to get started? Let’s crack on with your fifth and final event!
Event 5: The Three-Legged Sprint
Just as the 100m sprint is the blue-ribbon event of any great sporting event, the Three-legged sprint should be the same for your Treasure Trails Garden Games Modern Pentathlon for 2020.
You will need:
- A piece of fabric, tape or similar to create the start and finish line.
- Pieces of fabric or rope to tie athlete’s legs together.
- A cone or marker for players to run around.
- A starter whistle.
Get each team to stand side by side with their partners, then go along and tie their inside legs together.
After the teams have practised, line them up and then blow the start whistle to see who can be the first to the finish line!
Ensure that the course has a marker which the teams have to run around to watch some tricky cornering manoeuvres!
Garden Games Committee rules:
- Both players’ feet must stay in contact with the ground. You are not allowed to carry your partner.
- Any team hindering the progress of another team will be disqualified and placed last!
That was some amazing and wonderful competing, athletes – you all represented your household gardens fantastically!
Now that the final scores from all the events are in, remember to hold your closing ceremony to award the medals to the winning teams!
Now that The Treasure Trails Garden Games Modern Pentathlon for 2020 have come to a spectacular close…
It’s YOUR chance to challenge US!
We want you to come up with a brand-new historically themed Mediaeval Garden Games event and enter our competition below for the chance to win a Treasure Trails voucher!
Fancy eating like a King for this edition of TT Strange Times?
Oh good, you’ve come to the right place then!
While the majority of Tudor families lived on a diet of vegetables, pulses, grains, maybe bacon and some dairy, Royal chefs at the palace were tasked with creating huge feasts of around 13 wildly varying opulent cooked meals every single day!
King Henry VIII was reputed to have quite the sweet tooth and particularly fond of fruits, mostly cherries and strawberries which he would enjoy fresh, while other fruits were often baked and stewed into various recipes to make pies and tarts.
The King was also particularly suspicious of being poisoned and employed his own personal chef, who was handsomely paid for his duties.
Huge banquets were often the order of the day, with such dishes as game, either roasted or baked into pies, lamb, swan and venison. For particularly lavish events, conger eel and porpoise was also often served!
Some of the weird and wonderful sounding meals from around that era, were Roast capon (Spiced roasted chicken), To fry whitings (Fried whitefish in and onion or apple sauce), Compost (Cold spiced vegetables in honey & wine sauce), Stew of the Flesh (Beef and chicken stewed in wine, herbs, and spices), Malaches of Pork (Pork Quiche) and Jely Ypocras (err, some sort of jelly thing we presume?)
We don’t expect you to come up with anything as lavish for this issue of Getting YUMMY With It… (We’re not even sure that ‘porpoise’ would even have been considered particularly yummy at all!) but there is a nice simple recipe that would have been popular at the time that you should definitely be able to have a go at, which is:
A DYSSCHFUL OF SNOWE
This version of the recipe is adapted from Cooking & Dining in Tudor & Stuart England, by Peter Brears, which is available through Amazon.
(ALLERGEN ADVICE – If you wish to try this recipe for yourselves, it contains uncooked egg white).
- 1 pint of strawberries, washed and cut into halves
- 1/2 cup caster sugar (if you have it, if not, regular granulated would be fine!)
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger (fresh for authenticity, ground if more convenient)
- 1/2 pt whipping cream
- A few drops of rose water
- 1 egg white (Are we CRAZY? How are we supposed to separate eggs???)
In a medium sized mixing bowl, place all of the strawberries and mix them carefully but thoroughly with HALF (1/4 cup) of the sugar, the spices and then place aside in the pantry, or refrigerator, to chill for 2-3 hours.
In 2 separate bowls, whip the cream up in one and then whip the egg white in the other.
Once done, gently fold the whipped cream into the whipped egg white Add the remainder of the sugar and rosewater GENTLY.
To serve, portion the spiced strawberries into serving bowls, then spoon the whipped cream mixture onto the strawberries
Serve immediately and enjoy!
(Sometimes – this recipes used stewed apples instead of strawberries!)
History doesn’t need to all be old and boring!
I remember as a kid at secondary school in the mid-80’s (1980’s!), that the most exciting thing about history back then, was the fact that Mr Toms, one of the history teachers (who was in the form room next door) had a gorgeous shiny cherry red 1971 Datsun 240Z.
Even more amazing, is the fact that as of June 2020, he still has it to this day…
Although, back then, history as taught by the curriculum, was a subject as dry and dusty as the books it was written in, nowadays, it’s all completely different – with fun, vibrant, colourful and imaginative pages shouting creative and engaging prose to make the past come vividly to life in the present!
So we now present, for your delectation and delight, our pick of the TOP Five… History Books (for kids).
Horrible Histories Blood-Curdling Box of Books
You can’t sugar coat what happened in the past and just avoid talking about the bad things that have happened – it is after all how we have shaped and formed societies as we have today – but there is a way to approach such sticky subjects with children – and these books are a great way to do this!
If your kids love the TV series, then why not expand their knowledge base with this accompanying set, which, although not a definitive collection, is a great starting point for them to jump on. The set contains 20 books, including Rotten Romans, Terrible Tudors and Awesome Egyptians.
Be prepared to have gruesome facts quoted to you for ages!
The Lost Book of Adventure: from the notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer by Teddy Keen
As former Senior Patrol Leader for 2nd Camborne Scout Troop from July 1987 – December 1988 (only edging out Eddie Dymock on account that Scout Leader Keith said that I tended to be “a bit more vocal” – sorry Eddie), this book would truly have been my Bible.
It contains descriptions, methods and techniques that made boys real boys back in the day. In fact, it very much reminds me of a book I had, that my dad handed to me as a kid of 9-10 – ‘The Book of Interests’ by Andrew Scotland and John Mackenzie Wood, first published in 1939 – up to the edition printed in May 1953, that informed and educated me in my most formative years.
Best of it is, it’s sat right in front of me here on my desk at home as I write this piece. I’m going to go through it later and remind myself about Tangrams and the Blue Riband and a story about an Irishman that I can’t possibly recount here.
Anyway, I digress – The Lost Book of Adventure is an ideal accompaniment to a few garden activities, or even venture further afield once our lockdown restrictions are lifted. One thing’s for sure, once tempted away from the Xbox with this book, you’ll struggle to get them back indoors…
And if Bear Grylls endorses it, who am I to argue?
History Year by Year: A journey through time, from mammoths and mummies to flying and facebook by DK
Recommended to me by my wife Sam, (who is now a Practice Nurse but was formerly a reception class teacher), DK books, in her eyes can do no wrong!
This one doesn’t look any different, with a nice colourful breakdown of the eras covered within and bright, vibrant images and infographics that deliver key milestones and information in easily to digest bitesize chunks. Comprehensive, informative and concise, with enough detail to keep younger minds engaged for hours!
Don’t be surprised if you even find yourself sneaking a peek after the little ones have gone to bed!
Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art by Michael Bird
The Doctor Who TV series has brought several key historic figures to prominence through recent episodes such as Rosa Parks in ‘Rosa’ & King James I in ‘The Witch Finders’. It also did so just as effectively on 5th June 2010, with the Richard Curtis penned episode ‘Vincent and the Doctor’. That touching episode highlighted the troubled life of Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh and his creative genius that he seemed to be unable to see for himself.
This book daubs large blocks of colour through history’s most famous artworks, starting right back with prehistoric cave drawings and looking at the diverse works of such varied artists as Michelangelo (artist, not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle – come on, I knew you were thinking it!), Rembrandt and Jackson Pollock.
BrainBox – World History by The Green Board Game Co.
Okay, So I’m bending the rules a bit here as it’s not ‘technically’ a book (In fact, it’s not actually a book at all! – Ed) but what better way to make the past fun exciting and engaging, than by playing a game about it? There’s still plenty of reading to be done as you play this little gem of a game.
Packed with historical facts and trivia, before you know it, your little Hetties and Harrys will suddenly be spouting more facts and trivia to you than Bamber Gascoigne! (Ask your parents – to Google him for you…)
Great value and a little something that you can revisit to play again and again, just for ten minutes, or to while away that drizzly afternoon…
Want to know how long the Berlin Wall was? Order it now from Amazon.
Our Survey Says…
That’s our top five for some historical mind-filling fun and entertainment – but as always – we’d love to hear yours too! Tag us on social media using #OurSurveySays to let us know your go-to kids history books that you turn to for keeping your youngster’s brains active!
Mediaeval Competition Time!
Dust off your smocks and indulge in a pudding bowl style haircut (you’ll need it by now!) as it’s time to announce…
“The Treasure Trails Indoor or Outside in the Garden Games Mediaeval Tournament for the Year 970!”
(Ooh, snappy, I think we should trademark that…)
Okay – here’s the idea.
You’ve already seen and taken part in The Treasure Trails Garden Games Modern Pentathlon for 2020 – and now we want to see your suggestions for events to compete in – but with a Mediaeval twist!
- We need you create a Mediaeval Games event and take a picture of you posed as if you were taking part in the event from that era.
- Send us your entry with a description of your event and attach an image of your family taking part in it!
Here are some ideas to help get you going…
- The 5 metre Byzantine wormcrawl
- The Anglo-Saxon super sponge shotput
- Jousting with pillows
- The great Crusades forward roll face off
- Star jumping dressed as Halley’s Comet
So, send us your suggested events using the Entry Form below and include the hashtag “#OldGames“. (Don’t worry, we wouldn’t make you type out “Mediaeval” in the hashtag!)
From all entries received, a winner will be chosen and the creator of our favourite event will win a Treasure Trails gift voucher!
We will also publish the winning entry on this page.
Closing date for entry is midday, Friday 18th June 2020.
Goode lucke! (See what I did there?)
Entry Form for #OldGames:
So now’s your chance to get your mind active…
Here are our latest puzzles for you to sit down and work through.
To get your hands on them, click on the following image below to download:
The Treasure Trails Great British Summer Wordsearch
Summer is upon us! Which can only mean one thing…
Storms, wind, gales and cancelled events of course!
Don’t panic though – we’ve filled that summertime void with The Treasure Trails Great British Summer Wordsearch.
Download and enjoy.
(If you get stuck, don’t worry, you can find the answers for it here!)
A Journey Into History Virtual Mini Treasure Trail
Climb aboard that Time Machine to journey us and with Mike from Neighbours, as we pull the lever to reverse (avoiding those dodgy looking Morlocks trying to eat Samantha Mumba, or something). We’re going to head the other way, into the PAST, with our Journey into History Virtual Mini Treasure Trail.
This is our fourth MINI VIRTUAL Trail for you to explore with. All you need is a device with internet connection and access to Google maps and Streetview.
Click the image to the right to download the Heroes Mini Trail – and good luck!
(Stuck? don’t worry, the answers for it can be found here!)
The Treasure Trails Extreme Dot to Dot…
Thought that dot-to-dot drawing was simple?
Then oh boy, have we come up with a challenge for you!
Click the image opposite to download our extreme dot to dot puzzle within a puzzle – and best of luck, we think you’ll need it!
Show your love for our NHS Heroes – by downloading and printing out this poster to put in your front window:
and don’t forget to show your support by sending a heart via this NHS Gratitude map:
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