[ANSTHRLD] Heraldry for kids?

Jennifer Smith jds at randomgang.com
Wed Jan 25 18:45:01 PST 2006

> Whats this about a program for teaching children about
> heraldry?  I have been asked, in a general way, if I
> could find a way to teach, or have taught, a
> children's heraldry class in the fairly near future. 
> I had not yet put much work into it, but had been
> letting the idea float around in what passes for my
> mind.  I had intended to ask on the list if anyone had
> any ideas about how I might approach this task, but
> hadn't done so yet.  But now I see mention of an
> existing program...nifty.

I don't know anything about an existing program (unless perhaps you refer to
the revived children's "badges" (not armorial badges), and there is one for
heraldry, but that's about all I know about that), but I have taught
children's heraldry classes before. (Whew, there's a sentence for you...)

I've done both "felt" and "construction paper" classes. The former also
works for adults, but doesn't work as well for kids who want to take
something home. The latter works best for kids. It works like this:

1) Get a variety pack of bold color construction paper. Separate out the
orange and brown and pare it down to only one shade of blue.
2) Print out a bunch of basic charges on plain white paper. I make mine
about 3-4" square, and do basic geometrics (mullets, lozenges,  annulets),
some animal charges (lions, eagles, dogs, heraldic dolphins), then odds and
ends (swords, escallops, cinquefoils).
3) Get a bunch of el-cheapo 8-color crayon packs (RoseArt, whatever's on
sale, etc), and remove the orange and brown. Extra Credit: redo the wrappers
with new ones that read "Gules" instead of "Red", etc. (A herald up in
Northkeep thought that one up!)
4) Don't forget cheapy kid safety scissors and glue sticks!
5) Enjoy.

I usually start out with a brief explanation of how heraldry is useful so
you can figure out, when all the fighters are in armor, which one is your
dad. Or fighting your dad. I introduce the tinctures, and tell them the
funny names we call them all ("azure", instead of blue, kind of like "azul"
like Dora says). We talk a bit about common signs (big "M" for McDonald's),
and street signs (to get the point of contrast across, think stop signs).

Then at some point, judging on the fidgety factor, I let them pick out the
color for their background, and then let them pick one or two or three
charges and hand 'em crayons and scissors and let 'em go to town.

The older kids can handle the idea of field divisions, and even some basic
ordinaries, and arrangement (three and one, one big central thing with stuff
around it or in chief, etc). But after a point I just let them color and cut
and glue all sorts of wackyness. Watch to see which kids picked up on the
contrast idea, and feed them more heraldic tidbits, particularly as they get
older. :)


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