Anglo-Saxon Craft Activities for Kids - Living Like An Anglo-Saxon
Updated: Mar 16
The Anglo-Saxons were a mix of tribes that came from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Historians believe that in the 5th Century these tribes were stuggling to farm and grow food in their homelands because of flooding. So three of these tribes decided to find somewhere new to settle. These tribes were the Jutes, the Angles and the Saxons.
In 410AD the Romans had conquered Britain but their Empire was struggling. Soon the Roman Army abandoned Britain and left it's people to fend for themselves. This was perfect for the Anglo-Saxon tribes who sailed across the North Sea, invaded Britain and settled in Kent (the Jutes), East Anglia (the Angles) and Wessex, Essex, Sussex and Middlesex (the Saxons).
Check out the fun craft activities below to learn more about Anglo-Saxon settlements and the way they lived:
The Anglo-Saxons lived in small villages built in areas with good natural resources, such as rivers for drinking and bathing, good farmland for crops and animals and trees to build houses and fences from wood. They would build a large fence around their settlements to protect their farm animals from predators (and themselves from their enemies!).
Anglo-Saxon houses were very basic. They consisted of a a small hut made from wood with a straw roof. They only had one room with a small fire in the centre where the whole family would eat, sleep and live. They rarely had windows but would occasionally have a small hole in the roof to allow smoke from the fire to escape.
Build your own Anglo-Saxon model house using craft resources. Use a cardboard box as the base structure, add lollypop sticks for the wooden planks and wool or straw for the roof. Or why not go outside and choose some sticks from the garden to use as your building materials?
Need some inspiration? Check out Hugo's Anglo-Saxon House model from Family Makes.
Weaving is a process where you interlace threads together to make fabric. The Anglo-Saxons used weaving to make their clothes, sails for their ships, decorations for their houses, blankets, bags and more. It was a lengthy process that started with sheering the sheep for their wool. The wool was then washed, combed and spun into long strands called yarn. The yarn was then dyed using a mixture of plants and natural resources before being weaved into fabric on a loom.
Learn how to weave your own fabric using a cardboard loom and different coloured yarns. This simple under/over method from I.K. Tolbert is practical for all ages and abilities and teaches you the basics of weaving.
Find the full guide on Primary Weaving here.
Both men and women would have worn jewellery in Anglo-Saxon times. They made necklaces and bracelets with glass beads and gemstones such as amber or amethyst. But their greatest skill was in intricate metalwork which they included in many of their accessories. After all, what better way to show off your wealth by draping yourself in gold jewellery? Their metalworkers were highly respected for their work, which included inlaying precious stones into metal, colouring metal with enamel, gilding and metal plating. The most popular metal accessories were belt buckles and brooches for holding together items of clothing.
Create your own Anglo-Saxon brooch using card or embossing foil.
Norfolk Heritage provide two excellent guides to create different types of Anglo-Saxon brooches. Just print out the template and either decorate the design with your own coloured crayons/pens or press the design into foil for an embossed look. Stick to stiff card with a safety pin or badge back to attach to your clothing.
Find the full directions on how to create your Anglo-Saxon Brooch at Norfolk Heritage (scroll to the bottom).
If you're a teacher then you'll definitely want Imagining History to bring their 'How to Survive in Anglo-Saxon England' Interactive workshop to your school.
Our Award-Winning sessions combine role-play, storytelling, demonstrations and drama and performance to bring history to life for your students.
In our 'How to Survive in Anglo-Saxon England' workshop, Imagining History will teach your students everything they need to know to make it out of the Dark Ages in one piece. Your students will:
Learn how to survive and thrive as an Anglo-Saxon peasant, noble and monk.
Discover what life as a Monk was like in a Christian Monastery and try to live through a Viking raid.
Learn how to farm and grow crops the Anglo-Saxon way.
Uncover the secrets behind the Anglo-Saxon conversion from Paganism to Christianity.
Join a Fyrd and transform the school hall into a battlefield to learn how to fight in an Anglo-Saxon shield wall.
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Further Reading from the Imagining History Blog: