The Victorian era was so named when Queen Victoria ruled Britain (1837 to 1901).
During Queen Victoria’s reign Britain managed to build a huge empire. Britain became the most powerful and richest country in the world. It was the largest empire that had ever existed, ruling a quarter of the world’s population.
A thaumatrope was a toy that was popular in the Victorian era. It had a disk with a picture on each side which was attached to two pieces of string. When the strings were twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appeared to blend into one due to the persistence of vision.
We made one of these as part of the Victorian topic at school. Rather than using string we stapled together two pieces of cardboard and put a pencil in between so that the kids could spin the pencil in their hands fast to see both images combine together.
The Victorians loved to play group games such as Tag and playing with balls. They also liked to play hopscotch. It’s such a simple game to make and try at home. Just grab some chalks and draw on paving slabs or concrete. Don’t worry it should wash off with water or the rain!
It’s always fun to dress up, and school’s often like children to dress for an era so that they can feel what it would be like. We managed to use a dress we currently had and then adjusted it slightly to have the Victorian style. Victorian ankle boots were a little trickier… I’m not sure they had sparkles on them then!
Books and Videos
It’s great to find a good book. There are lots out there available to help children understand the Victorian era. I’ve also added a link to Horrible Histories… kids love this and it really helps them remember facts about History.
Places to Visit
I’ve mentioned Milestones Museum before, but it’s a fabulous place to visit as a family or with a school.
Children get to experience a Victorian School lesson in a Victorian classroom. There are even Victorian clothes for children to try on to really experience what it was like.
Milestones is a Living Museum where you can wander around cobbled streets and immerse yourself in the past. Located in Basingstoke… it’s well worth a visit!