Thursday, February 18, 2010

knight all day

It's been all about the knights around here these days. A cardboard and duct tape castle has arisen in our living room, guarded by brave Sir J and gallant Sir Boy. They've been spouting on about chivalry and quests and damsels in distress. They wear their personalized capes day in and day out. They wield swords and design shields, and gallop about on stick horses. They speak in very formal Olde English, and plan jousts with imaginary lances. They claim to be from lands with very exotic made-up names. They present me (and I've been declared a Queen, I'll have you know!) with defeated rivals so that I might grant them mercy.

J with his self-designed shield and sword (only an active imagination can magically turn a plastic flute into a medieval weapon....).

It's all a very natural consequence of our focus on the Western European culture and reading about St. Francis' early days dreaming of being a knight in the village of Assisi, Italy. But I added fuel to the knightly fire by choosing King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, by Roger Lancelyn Green, as our read-aloud chapter book to go with our theme. The boys are enthralled with this book, particularly J who claims "When you read us that book, it's like we're all IN it, having those adventures."

They've been known to shout out advice to King Arthur as we read ("Don't believe her, she's a liar!"), and after I'm done reading, they jump right up and race for their capes and swords and spring right into play. Which to me is a clear indication of how well this story is "meeting" them. They act out scenes from the story, and make up endless unique quests and adventures. All of their creative energy seems to revolve around this book at the moment.

They've even assigned related character roles to the wild birds we feed at the feeding station on our deck. This is King Cardinal. He has a Queen (Queen Cardinal of course). The King has knights of course, Sir Junco, Sir Chickadee and Sir Titmouse. And the Queen has servants -- the plethora of house sparrows who frequent our feeders. Princess Blue Jay drops by every so often to convey her royal greetings, and yesterday we enjoyed a brief visit from Prince Nuthatch.

Even the Pokemon figures have gotten into the act -- here is the King (out in front of everyone else), his empty throne next to the Queen guarded by legions of loyal knights.

The really cool part of all this to me is that these stories have been told for centuries, and have been inspiring this same exact sort of play in little boys for just as long. Seeing my children embracing this universal connection quite literally gives me goose bumps.

But alas, I may not tarry at the computer any longer, I must away to serve my noble knights who sit at meat.

1 comment:

michelle grimes kindig said...

I love love love the castle!!!