Let’s craft a history today and make your own Roman Shield! This Roman shield craft is a super fun and easy educational craft where you can make your own and works well for kids of all ages at home or in the classroom. You can also use this DIY Roman shield as part of a costume or to dress up for a festival.
history of the roman shield for kids
In ancient Rome, shields were very important to the Roman army. A shield would protect Roman soldiers in battle and allow them to build interesting defensive structures:
- roman soldiers would be called something testudo, or “turtle”formation with their shields.
- The first row of Roman soldiers would bring their shields to the front of the bodies while the back rows would raise their shields above their heads.
- The formation looked similar to a turtle’s shell, hence the name “tortoise”. The formation protected the Romans from enemy arrows and gave them a safe way to move across the battlefield.
commander roman shield
There were two types of shields in the Roman army, the shield we are making in this craft is the Legionary Roman shield. The military shield was used by soldiers who were Roman citizens. Learn more about it at the end of this article!
easy roman shield crafts for kids
- This history craft is great for kindergarten or older kids and for adults too!
- Making a Roman shield craft teaches motor skills, creativity, pretend play and history.
- Kids will have fun making this history craft and lots of fun using their own Roman shield in pretend play.
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Materials Needed to Make a Roman Shield Craft
Instructions for Making Your Roman Shield
Gather your materials then take your medium cardboard box and cut a large rectangle out of it.
On the front of the cardboard rectangle, paint it red and let the red paint dry.
Take a disposable cup and cut it all the way down, but not all the way through. Leave about ½ uncut.
- Cut along the diameter of your cup so that its bottom goes ½ in.
- Attach the bottom of your cup to the shield with tape or glue.
- Cover the attached cup with tinfoil and secure the tinfoil to the cup and shield.
This mimics the boss on the front of the shield, which protected the hands of a Roman soldier during battle.
With yellow paint, paint two lines on the sides of the shield.
Along the top and bottom edges of your shield, paint a yellow line. This is the trim on your shield.
Paint alternate leaf shapes coming out of the two lines you painted earlier. This is the laurel wreath symbol depicted on some Roman shields as a symbol of victory.
Let your paint dry.
On the unpainted part of your shield, take your fabric or string and attach it to the shield using staples, tape, or glue. Make sure it’s wide enough to fit your arm, but tight enough that it doesn’t fall off your arm.
Ta-da! Now you have your very own Roman Shield!
1 Hour 10 minutes
Medium sized cardboard box, red paint, yellow paint, scrap fabric or string, scissors, tape/glue, disposable cup, tinfoil.
tape / glue
- Cut out a large rectangular section of a cardboard box.
- paint the front side red and let it dry
- Cut a disposable cup so that only 1 inch of the bottom is left.
- Attach to the middle of the front, making sure the opening is facing the shield.
- cover the cup with tinfoil and tape or glue it to the shield
- Paint two curved lines on either side of the cup with yellow paint.
- Paint the leaf shape with yellow color alternately on the sides of both the lines.
- Paint the top and bottom edges with yellow paint.
- Let the paint dry.
- On the opposite side of the shield, glue scrap fabric tape in the middle. Make sure it’s loose enough to fit your arm but tight enough so it doesn’t fall off.
- Ta-da! Now you have your very own Roman Shield!
Crafted Cardboard Box Roman Shield Craft
This craft can be used as a display, costume or accessory, or it can be used during pretend play. Roman shield crafts are a great way for kids to engage in pretend play as well as learning!
my experience with this craft
When I first set out to make this craft, I wanted to make an ancient Greek hoplite shield, but realized I didn’t have any paper plates. Not one to give up, I searched through all my supplies and found the same box I used to make the Byzantine King or Queen Crown craft. It was perfect, I could use the box to make a different type of shield, the Roman type! I did some Google Scholar searches, as I don’t have too many books on Ancient Rome, and came across the Roman Legion and Auxiliary Shields. As I said at the beginning, the legionaries of the legion were Roman citizens. As such, all of their shields were the same red and yellow with minor design changes. The non-citizens were auxiliaries. Auxiliaries would provide unique fighting styles and tactics to the Roman army as they were usually from border lands and regions of Rome. As a result, subsidiary shields were often indicative of where a specific confederacy was from.
Tips for making this Roman Shield Craft
- It was relatively easy for me to make this craft, although I did have some trouble. It was quite difficult to cut the cardboard box. This resulted in some edges looking a bit rough.
- I didn’t have any glue for this craft so I used some packing tape. Which worked great, but I think glue would be a better option.
- I would also recommend choosing scrap fabric instead of string when you are making this craft. The string will still work, but the scrap fabric will give you a bigger grip and a more secure hold on the shield. If you don’t have any scrap fabric you can make something out of old or vintage clothes. If that doesn’t work, a thick piece of ribbon will do just fine.
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How was your history craft? What are you using your homemade Roman shield for? Please let us know in the comments below!