Last week in our homeschool history lesson I showed your our knight’s shields we made as part of our King Arthur study, now you get to see how we used the shields: a super fun Jousting activity. I’ll warn you this is super messy, and you need to wear clothes you can ruin (though I will include a less likely option to not permanently stain your clothes).
Hi, Future Ticia 2023 here, I’m updating the post and I’m going to add in a few comments as I do that. Also, I’m changing up what affiliate links I have in here since some of the former affiliate programs are gone.
Side note, I’ve had this activity in my mind since we did a lesson on King Henry VIII last semester in our the Mystery of History 3 lessons because King Henry VIII really liked to joust. Though this activity could easily go into a Middle Ages unit, or with your general studies of the Mystery of History 2 (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, or maybe King Richard comes to my mind).
While we often picture jousting going on with King Arthur, the most common dating for when Arthur might have lived is before jousting was commonly done. Most of those types of stories are added in during the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Jousting Activity Supplies
these links are Amazon affiliate links: white men’s undershirt (think giant paint shirt, the bigger the fewer stains you get on your clothes), pool noodles, acrylic paint (one color for each person or team playing, more on teams at the end), if you want a less likely to stain version get poster paint (yes you will need large quantities), paper plates (I buy them in bulk at Sam’s club, but you’ll need to weigh them down because otherwise, the wind will blow them away)
Jousting Activity Inspiration
Lancelot, Tales of King Arthur (affiliate link)- Okay, so this is not the book I found. The book I found was a slightly different tale of Lancelot and his jousting ability, but since using the book 2 weeks ago I’ve lost the paper I had the exact title and author name on, and there are a lot of books on Lancelot, there are also A LOT of romance novels using his name, so this is similar, but I can’t vouch 100% for the quality of this one.
What I loved about the Lancelot book I found it talks about Lancelot realizing he’s in love with Guinevere, but instead of acting on those feelings he leaves, and eventually falls in love with a woman who rescues him. I like that both Lancelot and Guinevere stay true to their vows.
Enough about my general annoyance with how the King Arthur story is done, and on to my Jousting Activity!
The oh so
exciting messy jousting activity
Each participant will need their own pool noodle, and their own paint color. This is so we can visually see who hit and where.
- You may only aim for their shirt, no other part of their body. Any hits not on the shirt do not count.
- You can not hit from the back, that is dishonorable, any hit on the back is disqualified.
- No hitting anyone not carrying a weapon or who is reloading their weapon.
All right with those boring bits out of the way, here’s how it went.
You dip the end of your lance in the paint. Then you choose someone to fight, and the two of you run at each other and try to hit the other person’s shirt.
You of course are trying to block that hit with your shield, and this is why the design of your shield is important. This is also why you need a well-reinforced shield with lots of duct tape on it.
We did a few rounds of official jousting, and then it just turned into a free for all. With everyone pretty much covered in paint by the end, and if you get hit often enough the paint goes through your shirt, so I had paint all over. Don’t count on your shirt protecting anything really. It’s more of a hindrance to the paint. I think that’s how Princess ended up staining her brand-new shorts, the paint went through her shirt.
Turning this Jousting activity into a team activity
My boys thought this would be a great birthday party activity, and once they said that in my mind I was thinking of how to do that.
I’d planned t-shirts saying “Jousting party” and opening activity of painting shields. But they’ve since decided on a Nerf gun party.
But, here’s how I would modify the jousting activity for two teams:
- I’d buy two colors of pool noodles, so you can easily identify teams
- Two bowls of paint, with two different colors, possibly more bowls to more easily reload
- No set rules on hitting the back, this is more of a free for all, the other two rules are still in play.
- Set a timer, and just let them have fun going at each other.
And that’s it, but since they changed their minds before I could do much with it, I can’t tell you if this great theory works.
Looking for some more history ideas?
I’m going to pick a few more ideas from Middle Ages and Renaissance and Reformation, I just realized I never created a landing page for that era, better fix that.