This is a short unit study about the Ancient Celts. This first post will include all the resources we used during this study.
Celtic Themed Informational, Factual Books
Factual books are very important and I try to buy ones with great pictures and at least one with great information. The first and third book fall into the first category whilst the second book falls into the later category.
Eyewitness books are always a hit in our household and Early Humans (DK Eyewitness Books) is no exception. Each double page focuses on a particular topic and the whole book is full to the brim with photos of real artifacts and short descriptions – perfect for elementary aged children (and their mums!) The third book, Celts (Britain Through the Ages) is for older elementary children but is none the less a great little book with stacks of illustrations and information. The second book, The Ancient Celts (People of the Ancient World) is for the older set. It is drier, with less illustrations. However, as the information is so thorough, I like to read these and plan the children’s work around what I learn.
Celtic Themed Audio Books
These are great add-on books, which the children listen to before they go to bed each night. It is a wonderful way to have the children learn a bit more without any input from their mother:
We have been listening to Our Island Story (By: H.E. Marshall) for years now. It is a handy CD to listen to when we drive to Northern Ireland: easy enough for the younger two, perfect for the older three and yet interesting enough for the adults to listen to. I came to Magic Tree House Collection late in my home school journey, but they are fun go-alongs with much truth to recommend them, but told within a very simple, interesting story. Leprechaun in Late Winter is a bit of a stretch for studying the Celts but there are just enough facts to make it worth a read. Celtic Dreams – The Mystic Sound Of The Celts And Their Ancient Yarns is a CD which showcases lots of different artists (think Enya or Lord of the Dance). My children loved this CD and listened to almost daily throughout our studies and beyond. Beautiful.
Celtic Themed Readers
Depending upon the level of your children’s reading, these are fairly easy read. My older children, then around seven, loved them. I will probably read them aloud to my younger set so that B4 can enjoy them too.
These are fun books, typical of their genre- not ideal but full to the brim with learning potential and great reading practice. Famous People Famous Lives: Boudicca is a superbly told rendition of Boudicca’s speech just before going to battle. The book includes black and white pictures perfect for photocopying and colouring in. The Captive Celt (Roman Tales) is an educational, easy to read book, telling the story of the historical Caractacus. It has a great section at the back where the author expands upon the history of the Celts and Romans. Beware, though, it begins with a sacrifice which may be quite scary for sensitive children. I don’t have any of those so there was no problem for us! The Cut-throat Celts (Horrible Histories) is a typical Horrible Histories book. I always want to dislike these books but each time I persuade myself to have a read I am astounded by actually how much history is included and how interestingly it is portrayed. All in all, a great addition to our library.
Celtic Themed Read Aloud Books
My older ones read these to themselves but all three were very strong readers when we did the Celts (aged about 7). A7 isn’t as strong and B4 is not reading at all so this time round they will be read aloud books. Two are by Rosemary Sutcliff who is a master in the historical fiction genre, and is always popular in this house.
Song For A Dark Queen retells the legend of Boudicca. Incredibly well written, with vocab sure to stretch the younger reader/listener, it is also on the violent side with a rather dark ending, so watch out for sensitive younger children. For me though, it is a depiction of an actual historical figure and as such is helpful when it is not too romanticised. Tristan And Iseult is a retelling of this well known Celtic legend. It is another beautiful retelling, with a rich vocab and another sad ending. Mature themes crop up but are not explicit. It is a short book and could be pre-read to check for suitability. Boadicea: Warrior Queen of the Celts (Heroes & Warriors) is another book about this well known woman. A good addition we just happened to own since it was given to us by a relative.
Celtic Themed Activity Books
I love activity books because they are often the spring board for other ideas. They get my creative juices rolling.
I have many of the Step into …books. Step into the Celtic World (Step Into) is full to the brim of activities, with fairly clear explanations and great pictures to follow. Celts (Hands-on History) is a great informational book for all ages. There is an activity to go along with each section, and each activity is clearly explained, simple to do using easy to resource items. The Celts (British Museum Activity Books) was my least favourite of the three activity books above. That said, we did do some of the activities and really, for a penny, you can’t go wrong!
Celtic Themed Colouring and Sticker Books
These are just fun, fill in the time books which are particularly great for using with daughters who need to colour in on a daily basis.
Celtic Stickers: 24 Full-Color Pressure-Sensitive Designs: 24 Full-Colour Pressure-Sensitive Designs (Dover Stickers), Celtic Tattoos (Dover Fun Kits) and Celtic Knotwork, Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Design Stained Glass Coloring Book) are just fun additions to the unit study and not essential 🙂
Any Other Books, Toys or Games I Can Find
In addition to the book above we used ‘make your own shield’ kits bought from Butser Ancient farm. We pulled together dress up using things we had on hand, and the children played at being Celts with things collected around the garden. We did buy some face paints to make our dress up look a bit more ferocious!
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