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Medieval Family Adventure Kits: Information for pre-booked self-guided EYFS groups

These kits have been created as part of the Norwich Castle: Royal Palace Reborn project, and they contain a selection of items to add a little Medieval sparkle to a self-guided journey around the museum with your Early Years group.

How many kits are there available to book?

There’s one set of five Medieval Family Adventure Kits available to be booked and used by self-guided school or EYFS groups visiting the museum. Each kit is suitable to be used by a small group of children and their adult(s). For instance, one kit per key worker group could work well, or kits could be shared between two or three children if you have a smaller group.

How do we borrow the kits?

First, you’ll need to book the kits – please contact or 01603 493636 to check availability. Once you’ve booked the kits, they’ll be available for you to pick up on the day of your visit at the information desk in the Rotunda at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery. The Rotunda information desk is also where you’ll need to sign in your group when you arrive. The kits are free to borrow.

How long will we be able to use the kits for on the day?

You can keep and use the kits for as long as you are in the museum on the day of your visit. Just pop them back to the Rotunda information desk before you leave.

What’s in the kits?

  • A copy of I See a Family, a specially made Medieval storybook for Norwich
  • A ‘poppet’ doll. This is a little Medieval character who would love for your children to show them around the galleries
  • A sensory item. This is something the Medieval poppet has brought from the workshop where they were made to share with you and help you explore the galleries

Will the kits be suitable for the children in my group?

Each kit has been designed to be inclusive for a broad range of ages and stages. We hope the kits will offer lots of access points to support different needs.

Ideas for using the kits with your group

We’ve compiled some suggestions for ways you could use the kits with your group to inspire learning.

Using the 'I See a Family' interactive story book

The notes below can guide you through an interactive reading of the book, but you could also just select a couple of pages and explore those. You might like to start with the family workshop pages and the parade page towards the end.

I See a Family is narrated by the stars, moon and sun, and it follows the story of five families in Medieval Norwich. Each family has a different trade: wood, wool, stained glass, metal or apothecary. The families have been instructed by the Mayor of Norwich to make gifts for Queen Elizabeth, who is visiting their city the next day for a big royal parade. Opportunity to talk through the different trades and find things in the museum that link to them, e.g.: the wooden floor, a metal table, a window or glass case, some textiles, leaves/berries that potions could be made from.

Once they’ve finished making the gifts, the families run to get the gifts delivered on time. In their hurry, the families all fall over into a big heap, and the gifts are broken. Opportunity for role play and discussion: wobble on the cobbles, spin around the corner, faster faster crash. How do you think the families felt when their gifts were broken? What do you think the mayor will say? 

At the same time, an announcement is made that the queen is bringing her three little daughters to Norwich, and that she is pregnant with a son. Opportunity for singing: She'll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain When She Comes. Can you come up with new ideas for verses?

The families work together through the night to make new gifts from all the broken bits. They make things that they think the royal children will like, such as kites, toys, capes and drums. They deliver the new gifts before falling asleep as the sun starts to rise. Opportunity for discussion: what sort of presents would you make for the queen and her family? Back at your setting, you could try creative making of gifts using materials (e.g. foil, twigs, fabric, coloured acetate, leaves) that link to the trades in the story.

A few moments later, two letters are delivered to the families. One is from the mayor, who is very angry that the gifts they made were not what he ordered. He bans the families from attending the parade and banishes them from Norwich! The second letter is from the queen, who says she loves the presents, and that they are all re-invited to the parade as her special guests. Opportunity for discussion: what would you reply to these letters? Led by practitioner, pull together collaborative letters back to the mayor and the queen.

The family rush to make special outfits to wear and flags to wave that afternoon. Back at your setting, try creative making of things to wear and wave using materials that link to the trades (e.g. foil, twigs, fabric, coloured acetate, leaves).

At the parade, the queen and her children give the families a special thank-you wave. The mayor apologies to the families and asks them to stay in Norwich. Opportunity for singing: The Wheels on the Bus, changing the lyrics to suit the parade (e.g. ‘The children at the parade go...’). Role-play staging your own parade.

The book ends with waving goodbye to the queen and her family, and the Norwich families finally getting some sleep. Opportunity for quiet time, lie down, singing: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

Poppet dolls, letter and sensory objects

Each kit contains a poppet doll (as if made by the medieval children in the story from scraps in their workshop), a letter written from the poppet doll and sensory items. Each kit has a different doll/letter. Below are ideas for exploration and play.

'Meet' the poppets

One doll per small group of children with discussion led by practitioner, or if a small group – one doll per child. Explore the dolls. Look closely at the clothes and hair, feel the fabrics and textures, smell the doll's bag (apothecary doll only), listen to what the dolls sound like (especially the metalworker doll).

Talk about which family you think the doll belongs to, and what gives you a clue

For example, ‘I think this poppet was made by the metalworker family because their dress is silver and shiny like metal.’

Explore the sensory objects in the bag that relate to the doll

What do they look like, feel like, sound like, smell like?

Read the letter from the poppet together

The poppet will ask the group to take them to things the poppet particularly wants to see: shiny things, soft things, colourful things etc.

Take the poppet on an adventure around the museum galleries

You could point out things you think that particular doll would really like to see.

Before leaving, talk through all the things that you showed the poppet doll in the museum

What do you think their favourite thing was? What was everybody else’s favourite thing? Say good night and put them back in the bag to go to sleep. You could sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star here, just like at the end of the I See a Family story.

Images credit: Rose Feather