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Medieval Church for Kids

This week in our hands on middle ages for kids unit in our homeschool we looked at how the church shaped the middle ages. We read some great books, made statues, created illuminated manuscripts, feasted on homemade pretzels, and continued our medieval literature study guide.

Medieval Unit on the Influence of the Church - fun, hands-on history for kids study with lots of clever ideas to teach kids about the middle ages including the origin of the pretzel, illuminated manuscripts, making statues, and more! #historyforkids #middleages #homeschooling

Medieval Church for Kids

The Importance of the Middle Ages Church

During the beginning of the  Middle Ages much of Europe was ruled by tribes of barbarians. As missionaries converted many barbarians the raids slowly ended. Churches were built and communities were established . Churches were important as monks were one of the few people during Medieval times that could read and write. They not only preserved and recorded history, but they taught others to read and write too. Churches also served to temporarily house travelers as there were no inns, feed the poor, take care of the sick, and provided education to boys in the local community.

Some of the most magnificent churches in Europe were build during the middle ages.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Rome, Italy)

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Notre Dame in Paris, France

Illuminated Manuscripts

Creating Illuminated Manuscript for Hands on Homeschool History Unit: Medieval TimesIlluminated Manuscripts is a manuscript where text was decorated by initials, borders, and illustrations. They included gold and silver paint that shimmered or ‘illuminated’. We made our own illuminated writing.  I created various templates to help my children practice handwriting while at the same time make an illuminated manuscript of their own using scripture, like must of the medieval illuminated manuscripts would have. There are pages for preschool, kindergarten, and elementary age.

>>> Download {FREE} Illuminated Manuscript Templates <<<

Exploring Illuminated Initials from the Middle Ages with foile

Another great hands on way to explore Illuminated Initials is with this fun project by Angelicscalliwags.

The Origin of the Pretzel

The Origin of the Pretzel

Did you know the origin of the pretzel? Pretzels were first given to children by monks in Medieval Times as rewards for learning to say their prayers correctly. Their shape is suppose to be a child’s hands while praying –  who knew, right?!  Here is our favorite Homemade Pretzel Recipe


Monks worked as scribes and spent all day copying books to make new ones. They often times suffered poor eye sight as a result and were the first to wear eyeglasses. Scrolls were made from parchment paper (dried animal skin) but you can practice writing something on a rolled up piece of paper.

The Invention of the Printing Press

In 1450 Johannes Guthenburg invented the printing press – it meant monks didn’t have to spend their lives copying books. It also meant books were cheaper so everyone could have books!

The Invention of the Printing Press

Making a printing press is a great activity to help kids understand how they had to move each letter to spell out words backwards. See our Printing Press Activity here.

Sculpt a Statue

making statues from plaster of paris Artists created statues to decorate churches. They used wood, metal, ivory, or stone to make tiny figures. We decided to make our own statues by using plaster of paris and sculpting with a spoon and toothpick. This is a great go along for the movie suggestion below! 

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out so well. Did you know not everything works out perfectly at our house either! It just wouldn’t chip away easy enough.

sculpting statues out of playdough   exploring cathedral art with kids

So we made statues out of our play dough recipe. They made some creations the way they were use to.

exploring cathedrals for kids   kids activities learning about cathedrals

Then we used a toothpick to “chip” away the playdough the way they had to in the middle ages when decorating cathedrals. I think our statue and face came out pretty good.

Book Recommendations



Books are a HUGE part of our learning. These are books that we own and LOVE! (click on the book to see more)  My absolute favorite book was Marguerite Makes a Book. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a girl who helps her grandpa illuminate a book – a technique used in the Middle Ages.

This week we read this continued to read The Door in the Wall and complete the Door in the Wall Study Guide & Lapbook .  The Door in the Wall is a Newberry Award Winning book recommended for grades 4-8. My 1st grader really enjoyed it. It will help though if children have an understanding of the time period. This book has rich vocabulary and is a great story, it is just a little slow to start.

 Medieval Unit Movie Night Pick

If you are looking for a movie to go along with your study this week Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is from this time period and shares a lot of images of Notre Dame, an incredible monastery built during the Middle Ages.

As with all movie & book recommendations, you know your children and what is appropriate for each of them. Please be consider your child’s individual needs.

Journey back to the time of castles and knights with this fun middle ages for kids hands-on history lesson for kids!

Vikings for Kid s- this is a fun hands on history unit that will help make history come alive including history activities, history crafts, free history printables and more for learning about early explorers #vikings #history #homeschooling Native Americans Plains Tribes Lesson civil war for kids free printable board game

History Lessons for Kids

Check out one of or MANY engaging, Free history lessons for kids

  • Explore American History for kids including lots of fun, hands on activities and free printables
  • Dive into Mesopotamia History to learn about Gilgamesh
  • 4 week lesson about Early Explorers for Kids
  • Learn about castles, knights, and more in this exciting Middle Ages for Kids
  • Make a teepee, dig for arrowheads, color our printable books and more in this Native Americans for Kids lessons
  • The Colonial America for Kids lesson takes kids on a journey back to the first permanent settlement in America – Jamestown. Students will learn about colonial life with lots of hands on projects like eating Gruel, making a Wattle & Daub house, and creating a tin lantern will make the settlement come alive.
  • We will make westward expansion for kids come alive for kids as they learn facts about the time period from about 1783-1898. In addition to learning about the Oregon trail, pony express, gold rush, transcontinental railroad, students will also learn to match animal trails, map the united states, and learn about North American animals too.
  • Civil War for Kids – students will learn about slavery, famous Americans from the Civil War, famous battles, and how our nation stayed together. Lesson includes printable worksheets, mapping activities, printable civil war board game and more!

16 Printable Country Studies for Kids - children will have fun learning about countries around the world with this fun resource perfect for pre k, kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 including Kenya, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico, China, Philippines, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Chile, Colombia, Australia, and Costa Rica. FREE Printable 50 Us States coloring pages Kids will have fun learning about Children Around the World using these free printable worksheets for kids of all ages. #childrenaroundtheworld #christmasaroundtheworld #geography

Looking for more resources and free worksheets to teach students about geography for kids? You will love these coloring sheets, printable maps, books, activities and games:

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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