Practice Being a Victorian with these challenges.

Challenge 1 – Get Active – Play Hopscotch

Did you know that a lot of the games we still enjoy today our Victorian ancestors also played?

Popular pass times included skipping, marbles, tag, catch games and hopscotch.

It’s really simple to set up and play hopscotch, all you need is:

  • Chalk or tape to mark out your grid.
  • Markers for each player to throw e.g. a plastic bottle top, button, pebble even a rolled up sock.

If you have room outside in your garden use tape or chalk to mark out your grid, inside its best to use tape on a surface such as a laminated or lino floor (always make sure you have enough clear space around you to play safely and your parent or guardians permission to play). How to play:

  • Once you’ve got the hang of the game you can make it more challenging by throwing your marker onto each square in numerical order. The first person to land it on each square in turn and successfully complete each pass wins.
  • If you really want a challenge put a time limit on how long each person has to complete each turn. This is also a great way of challenging yourself if you’re playing on your own.

Challenge 2 – Get Creative – Make your own Snakes and Ladders board game

Snakes and Ladders was another popular Victorian pass time. Why don’t you try designing your own board?

You will need:

  • A piece of paper or cardboard big enough to make a grid with 100 squares, each square should be around 2.5 cm on each side. Why not try flattening an old cereal box for this or sticking together two sheets of A4 paper or card?
  • A ruler and multi colored pens or pencils for drawing your grid and designing your snakes and ladders.
  • Alternatively you can use lolly pop sticks, pipe cleaners, left over wrapping paper, modelling clay, wool or any other materials you have that you think you could model your snakes and ladder from, glue or tape to stick them down with, safety scissors (under adult supervision).
  • A die for rolling.
  • Counters for each player, these can be made of anything small enough to fit in the squares or you can make your own out of card.

Let’s make it:

  • Start by drawing out your grid and then numbering each square as illustrated, or if you have access to a computer and printer you could make your grid digitally :
  • Once that’s done its time for the really fun part, making your ladders but even more importantly your snakes! It’s up to you how many of each you make, where on the board you place them and what you make them out of, they can take up as many squares as you want just remember that the head and tail of the snakes shouldn’t occupy the same square as the top and bottom of the ladders.
  • Once you’re happy with your board it’s time to play.
  • Each player starts on square one and takes a turn to role the die, highest role goes first and moves to that square on the board and onwards on each turn from there.
  • Land at the bottom of a ladder and the player can skip up to its top square but beware the snakes, land on one of those and your right back own to the bottom of their tails!
  • First player to reach the 100th square wins!

Challenge 3 – Make Memories – make a scrapbook

The Victorians loved to keep scrap books, they would fill them with pictures, newspaper clippings, their own drawings, poetry, dried flowers, journal entries, whatever took their fancy.

Why not try keeping a scrap book of your own, you can use an old exercise book or notebook or if you’re feeling really creative you can make your own from scratch, follow this link to find out how:

If your using an existing notebook why not decorate the outside using a technique called decoupage, the link above also explains how to do this and it was also very popular craft technique in Victorian times.

Once your scrap book is ready you need to start filling it up. Here’s some ideas on how:

  • Keep a diary of your day.
  • Draw a picture. The Victorians were very keen on nature and many of their journals included illustrations of flowers and birds.
  • Make a list of your favourite things like your ten favourite movies, books, animals.
  • Cut out interesting pictures from old magazines and newspapers your family don’t need any more or download and print images that interest you. Don’t forget to make a note about what interested you about them in your scrapbook to look back on later.
  • Make it a happiness journal. Think about what makes you feel happy it could be a certain place, a special food, a favourite sport or hobby, friends, family, pets,  then record this in your book, you could write a short story or a poem to go with each entry and include photographs or your own drawings to help illustrate what makes you happiest.

You can fill your scrapbook with anything you like, it’s a record for you to keep that you can look back on in years to come.

Challenge 4 – Perform – Memorise and Perform a Poem, Song or Piece of Music

Victorian children were expected to learn a poem or verse that they could perform perfectly for guests.

  • Choose a poem, song or piece of music you would like to perform.
  • Practice until you have memorised it perfectly.
  • Using your family as your audience recite your piece.
  • If you have siblings you could work together to create a whole performance, you could each recite a piece from a longer poem, perform a set of songs or enact a favourite story by each playing different characters.

Challenge 5 – Research – Become a Historian and Research About Scarborough in the Victorian Era.

Scarborough was a very popular holiday destination for wealthy Victorians and is widely believed to be the first seaside resort in the country. Did you know it is still the most visited place after London?  

Become a history detective and find out about Victorian life in Scarborough:

  • Though going to school was compulsory many children from poor families were still forced to work as well. Research a job a poor Victorian child in Scarborough may have been expected to do then try to imagine what it would have been like for them by writing about a day in their lives.
  • Find out what a visit to Scarborough would have been like for a wealthy child, how they got here, what they wore to the beach, what entertainment/ treats were available to them. Draw a picture of a Victorian child enjoying a seaside visit.
  • Research which famous Victorian architect built the Italian Steps in South Cliff Gardens. What else was he famous for?

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