For parents of 7-11 year old children

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For parents of 7-11 year old children

Parents as partners

Your child is going to learn about the Tudors and how people lived in Tudor times. This leaflet gives ideas on how you can help them to find out more about the topic. It suggests activities you could carry out at home, things to do when you’re out with your child, and where to go for more information on the Tudors.
By trying some of the activities in this leaflet, you will help your child to understand and remember what they learn in school.


Why is my child learning about the Tudors?

The Tudor kings and queens ruled between 1485 and 1603 – one of the most exciting periods of British history. It is famous for many things, including the life of King Henry VIII, the exploration of America and the plays of William Shakespeare.
Learning about Tudor times will help your child to understand the differences between how people lived then and now.

What will my child learn about the Tudors?

Your child may learn about some or all of these topics:

• how the Tudors came into power at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485

• the life of Henry VIII and his six wives

• Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada

• Tudor buildings

• the daily life of rich and poor people living in Tudor times

• the lives of famous people of the time, such as William Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Walter Raleigh and Mary, Queen of Scots.


Here are some ways that you and your child can find out more about Tudor times when you are at home.
Who were the Tudors?

The Tudors were the kings and queens of the Tudor family. Henry VII was the first Tudor king. He was followed by his son, Henry VIII, who was famous for marrying six times and beheading two of his wives! His son, Edward VI ruled after him, followed by his daughters Mary I and Elizabeth I.
Look at the family tree below with your child. Why do you think Edward became king first when he was Henry’s third child?

Henry VII m. Elizabeth of York


Henry VIII.m 1.Catherine 2.Anne 3.Jane 4.Anne 5.Catherine 6.Catherine

1509-1547 of Aragon Boleyn Seymour of Cleeves Howard Parr

div. 1533 d.1536 d.1537 d.1540 div.1542 d.1548

Mary I Elizabeth I Edward VI

1553-1558 1558-1603 1547-1553


m. – married

div. – divorced

d. – died
Dates – represent dates of reign from/to

New food, New World

The food in Tudor times was very different from today – the kind of meal you ate depended on your wealth and status. If you were poor you would have eaten mainly vegetables, bread and cheese, and if you were lucky some bacon or a rabbit. If you were rich, you would probably have eaten a lot of meat and not many vegetables.
Many foods had only just been introduced to Europe, so they were rare or expensive. Foods like potatoes, strawberries and cocoa were unknown until explorers travelled to the New World (now called America).
Look at these lists of food:

Old World (European) foods

New World (American) foods



















On a trip to the supermarket, ask your child to point out some Old World foods that would have been easily available in Tudor times. You could plan a meal using just Old World ingredients.

Fit for a feast

Tudor kings and queens often had feasts. Eating and drinking well showed how rich and important a person was. Visiting foreign rulers were invited to great feasts, with decorated food served on fine silver dishes.

The recipe below is for Jumbles – Tudor biscuits. These are baked in a knot-shape, so they are decorative as well as tasty. Why not try making them with your child?

You need:

2 eggs

100g sugar

15ml aniseed/caraway

175g plain flour
1. Beat the eggs.

2. Add the sugar and aniseed or caraway and beat again.

3. Stir in the flour to make a thick dough.

4. Knead the dough on a floured board then make it into rolls 1cm thick by 10cm long.

5. Tie each roll into a single knot.

6. Drop the knotted dough (a few at a time) into a pan of boiling water. Let them sink at first, then use a spoon to lift them until they float to the top.

7. After the knots have floated for a minute and have swollen, take them out of the water and let them drain on a wire rack covered with a cloth or kitchen roll.

8. Put the knots on buttered baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes at 180˚C (gas mark 4). Turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes until they are golden.

Playing along

Games were popular in Tudor times as there were no TVs or computers. People went out to the theatre for entertainment, but if they stayed at home, they often played games for fun.
Many of the games we play today are based on Tudor games, for example draughts and playing cards. Look through a pack of cards with your child and point out the picture cards. The pictures are of kings, queens and courtiers like those at the Tudor court.
The playground game of hopscotch and a board game called Merelles are examples of games that children in Tudor times enjoyed playing. Why not try following the steps below and playing them with your child?

Hopscotch and Merelles
How to play hopscotch

1. Draw a chalk grid with 10 squares, like the one shown on the right.

2. Find a stone to use as a marker.

3. Throw the stone onto square 1 then hop over it, landing on 2 and 3 with both feet.

4. Hop onto square 4 on one foot, then onto 5 and 6 with both feet.

5. Carry on hopping across the grid like this to 10.

6. Then hop back and pick up the stone, missing out 1 again.

7. Next, throw the stone onto 2 and hop across the grid, missing out 2.

8. Carry on until you have done this for all the squares in the grid.
If you make a mistake, you lose a turn and have to start again!
How to play Merelles

This is a game for two players.

1. Copy the board shown onto a large piece of card.

2. Each player needs a set of five counters or coins. You could use different colour counters, or 5p and 2p coins.

3. Take it in turns to put a counter on one of the dots. The aim is to try to get three of your counters in a row, while blocking the other player from doing the same thing.

4. If you have put all the counters on the board and neither of you has made a row of three, begin to move your counters. You can only move a counter to an empty dot, one space at a time.

  1. The first player to make a row of three is the winner.

Amazing gardens

Wealthy people in Tudor times had large houses with big gardens. Many had different gardens for different things, such as one for flowers and one for growing food.
A garden maze was a popular way to entertain guests – trying to find the centre and then the way out could be very confusing! Most Tudor mazes were made from hedges grown in patterns, with paths between them. Henry VIII’s palace, Hampton Court in Surrey, still has a maze today.
There are lots of different features that can be put into a maze, such as paths that go round in a circle, dead ends and clever patterns. Look at the examples of maze patterns shown here, then help your child to design their own maze on paper or using a computer drawing package.

Here are some ways that you and your child can learn about the Tudors when you go out.
Be a detective

In many places in England you can still see evidence of the Tudor period. Look out for the following clues when you’re out and about.
Half-timbered houses and cottages – they have wooden frames filled with clay or brick, or sometimes cow dung!

Guildhalls – trading societies, called guilds, were formed to protect people doing particular jobs. The guildhall is where the members met.

Barber’s poles – these red and white striped poles were first introduced in Tudor times. Barbers also practised simple medicine like pulling teeth, and the red is for the blood and the white for the bandages!

Stocks – these were a form of punishment and they are still on display in some places (although they are often replicas). Criminals, such as pickpockets, were put in the stocks, where people could throw rotten food at them.

Country mansions – before Tudor times, most big houses were very like castles with thick stone walls and deep ditches around them. The Tudors brought peace to the country, so nobles began to build houses that were comfortable as well as grand, with fewer defences.

Monasteries – many of which were closed down by Henry VIII and are in ruins today.

See how many clues your child can find in your local area or when you are away.

Changing churches

Visit churches in your area with your child. Try to find one that was built before or during Tudor times – your local tourist information office might be able to help. Most churches built before 1547 were colourful, with wall paintings, statues and lots of gold and silver inside. When Edward VI became king, this changed and churches became plainer, with less decoration.
Explore a church with your child. Look at the way it is decorated. Is it colourful with many statues? Or is it plain with no statues or paintings? Try to find out its history during Tudor times – you could ask a guide or look for a leaflet in the church. How did the church change? Can you and your child find out why the changes were made?


At libraries and bookshops

All libraries contain reference books and storybooks on the Tudors. You could spend some time with your child in a library and see who can find the most bizarre fact about the Tudors! There are good CD-ROMs on the subject, some of which include activities with your child taking on a Tudor role. High-street bookshops also sell a range of useful children’s books on the Tudors.

At your local tourist information office

There may well be examples of Tudor buildings in your area – ask at your local tourist information office for information about Tudor churches, monasteries, manor houses and palaces. Visiting buildings like these can give your child greater insight into how the Tudor people lived. Encourage them to imagine what it would have been like to be a child in Tudor times.


If you have access to the internet, you could also go to:
Here you will find:

• the information in this leaflet, along with a list of websites that can help you and your child find out more about the Tudors

• leaflets on other topics that your child may learn about at primary school.

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