Our first themed day of the summer holidays! The idea for a Roman day came about after my friend suggested it in a light hearted manner, and I decided that it was actually a very good idea! My children are only 5 and 3 so it was only a brief introduction to a few Roman ideas for them, they'll have plenty of time to learn about other aspects of Roman life when they are a bit older!
Hama bead mosaic
The Romans used mosaics to decorate their homes - tiny coloured pieces of stone placed together to form patterns and pictures. We've been doing so much Hama beading this holiday, so making a mosaic with Hama beads seemed the obvious choice. We looked at some pictures online, and Harry particularly liked this banana mosaic. He used it as inspiration for his own Hama bead mosaic. We also have a guidebook from Fishbourne Roman Palace which we looked through, we definitely need to visit it soon as it's just down the road!
In the past we've also made mosaics with pieces of coloured paper and dyed eggshell mosaics, which would also work well for this theme. I've also come up with some designs for Roman style mosaic borders using Hama beads.
I took a strip of gold cardboard (green would work too) and measured it to fit around the children's heads. Then I taped a strip of double sided tape around it and gave them a bowl of green leaf sequins to stick around it. They were held in place with a strip of normal tape. If you don't have green leaf sequins you could use green or gold paper cut into leaf shapes, or even use real leaves!
Both children loved the idea of dressing up as Romans, although when it actually came to it they were less keen! Along with their headbands they wore sandals. I found a shawl which made a good toga for Harry when pinned into place over a white t-shirt, and Mia wore a white dress which my Mum bought her on holiday, along with a small scarf. They reluctantly posed for a photo, but I'm afraid that the costumes didn't last long!
We have a Playmobil Roman Gladiator Arena set which was perfect to play with today. It's quite large so we don't leave it set up all the time, and when I brought it out the children played with it for ages. I didn't go into the bloodthirsty side of Gladiators, instead I just left them to play with it and they came up with their own games using the figures. When their play was coming to an end I brought out our flat wooden blocks and showed them how to make some straight Roman roads for the people to march down.
At lunchtime, we ate Roman style lying down! I made a low table with a bit of wood balanced on boxes and covered with the shawl. Then we piled cushions all the way around and set the table. We just ate our normal lunch, I didn't attempt any Roman cuisine, but we did have grapes and plastic wine glasses. The play continued after lunch while I washed up and they set the table again using pretend food and plates from the toy kitchen. I tried to suggest that we all had a siesta after lunch, unfortunately that suggestion wasn't taken seriously!
We also looked at photos of when Ram and I visited Rome a number of years ago (although Harry was more interested in the fact that Ram was a little podgier then than he is now).
Roman printable activities
I found some fantastic resources on-line to help us with the topic. I always turn to Twinkl first, and I wasn't disappointed. Although many of the resources are aimed at older children, there were still plenty that Harry could work on. I printed out a Roman Empire Word Mat (free) and I printed out several copies of the Vocabulary Matching Mat (free). I used pages from the Vocabulary Matching Mat to make a simple game for each child. Mia had to match up identical labelled pictures, and Harry had to match up the word with the picture. Many of the words were unfamiliar to him, so it was a great way to increase his vocabulary.
Harry enjoyed the Romulus and Remus Wordsearch (free) and the Romans Wordsearch (free) and he also liked the Label a Roman Soldier Worksheet (platinum).
Twinkl also have a nice poster to help children with Roman Numerals (free), and I also printed out for Harry a Romans Timeline Ordering Activity (free).
Elsewhere on-line I found some free Ancient Roman colouring pages for Mia to do while Harry and I concentrated on the more advanced activities. I also found some lovely Roman teacher resources over at the BBC which we didn't get to today but I've held on to for future use.
Roman baking - Roman cookies
We didn't get around to any baking on our Roman day, but if you are looking for more ideas then I love these Roman Cookies from Ofamily Learning Together, a great way to have some fun with Roman numerals.
We had a lot of fun on our Roman day! We seem to be very busy already this holiday, but I'm hoping to fit in at least one more themed day.
If you feel inspired, here you can find the posts about our other themed days:
Under the Sea Day
Disney Frozen Day
And some tips on how to hold a themed day at home for children.