• Imagining History

Live Like A Roman in Britain - Activities for Kids

Updated: Jul 30

Before the Romans invaded, the people of Britain, known as the Celts, lived in tribes that often fought with one another. The Romans thought the Celts were primitive savages in comparison to the way the Romans lived. When the Romans invaded the Celts, they brought with them their luxurious lifestyle and advancements in construction. Soon, settlements all over Britain were developed to look and function like 'mini Romes'.


Follow the progress of this 'Romanisation' of Britain with some great creative activities and crafts for kids:



Roman Villas


In Italy, wealthy Roman people would live in Villas. Villas were large lavish mansions with living quarters, slave quarters, beautiful gardens and more. Some even had their own personal bath houses. They even invented an underfloor heating system, called a Hypocaust to keep their houses warm. At this time, the Celts in Britain lived in small settlements with their tribes in small huts made from mud, straw and wood. When the Romans invaded Britain, they started to build Villas here too.



Activity:

Design and make your own Roman Villa with the guide below provided by BBC History.


Create and decorate the buildings, including a courtyard and a veranda. Then find out more about the underfloor heating system the Romans called the Hypocaust, and create your own hypocaust to heat your mini Villa!


Find the full BBC guide to Make a Model Roman Villa here.



Roman Mosaics


The interior of these expensive Roman Villas were beautifully decorated. Many featured Roman artwork called Mosaics on the floors and walls. A Mosaic was made up of thousands of tiny coloured ceramic tiles arranged to create a picture. Having a Mosaic in your home showed visitors that you were very rich. And only the wealthiest people could actually choose what they wanted their Mosaic to be a picture of. Others had to buy ready-made Mosaics.



Activity:

Create your own Mosaic image using squares of coloured paper instead of coloured ceramic tiles.


Mosaics would often tell a story through the image, such as myths about the Roman Gods or Heroes. Decide what story to tell through your artwork, draw a basic outline then add your coloured paper.


Find the full guide on How to Make Roman Mosaics for Kids here.



Roman Dress


Now you have your Roman Villa and Roman Mosaics created, its time you looked like a wealthy Roman person.

Wealthy Romans followed fashion trends like many people do today. What you wore showed your status to others so it was important to wear the right thing. Common citizens wore different clothing to those in political positions or to those who were married. There were many rules, even down to the colour of your shoes!



Activity:

Create your own Roman outfit to wear using the easy guide to a make a simple Tunic/Toga combo from Show.Me below. All you need is an old white sheet and some scissors. The best bit? You don't have to do any sewing.


Find Show.Me's full guide on How to Make an Ancient Roman Toga here.


If you'd like to create a variety of outfits, or would like to show your status through your clothing just like the Romans did, check out the guides below from vroma.org. These guides include more detailed information on how to create historically accurate Roman clothing for men and women:

Find vroma's guide on creating Roman Clothing for Women here

Find vroma's guide on creating Roman Clothing for Men here.



The web links in this article have been included for reference only and are in no way affiliated with Imagining History. Imagining History has no control over what content is included on these web links so discretion is advised.



Further Reading from the Imagining History blog:

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