Theseus and the Minotaur

We are introducing the first myth in Greek Mythology today in our History Curriculum.  I was pretty excited to reach Chapter 18 in Story of the World.  Well, at least the Minoans and Crete.

I used to love Greek mythology as a kid, and the first story that our Homeschool Curriculum shares is the classic tale of Theseus destroying the Minotaur. 

I had just finished up our Greek Paper People, and so I was already in the groove of thinking about Paper People and it dawned on me:  Why not create a Greek Myth Paper People set that would allow kids to play out the story?

Being a creative family, we are big on acting things out and I'm a strong believer in play being the best kind of learning.  So, back to the drawing board I went, and shortly thereafter, we had our first two players in the ancient story.  But what is a hero without the heroine?  We must have Ariadne!

 So, I made Ariadne and she was immediately confiscated by my daughter who assumed that the beautiful Cretan Princess must have been made for her.   I also made King Minos and threw in a ball of wool, a torch and a sword for good measure. 

Everything we need for a play-pretend of the ancient story.

Or was it?  Where's the Labyrinth? 

Labyrinths have apparently gotten a recent surge in popularity lately, and there are many do-it-yourself Pinterest pages about how to build backyard labyrinths...which is a pretty fun concept, actually. 

I would recommend showing kids some images of labyrinths, just for fun in advance. 

So we definitely needed a labyrinth and we decided to make one.  Perhaps you can come up with a better way, but here is what we did:

  We began with a cardboard box and I cut the flaps off of it.  I was going to need more cardboard so I made an executive decision and chopped the box in half.

This meant my paper people would be oversized for our Labyrinth, but at least we would get to better understand the concept of what a Labyrinth actually was.

First, we drew a maze on the bottom of our box.

Next, we glued our cardboard pieces onto the lines of our maze, cutting out doorways in advance.

Not quite accurate, since the Minotaur is a good head and chest taller than our Labyrinth, but to be honest, this did not bother my kids in the least.  They were quite delighted with this new plaything and had a blast playing with the characters.

One more item I should mention for those unfamiliar with the story: 

Theseus is a Boob.    Seriously. 

Story of the World doesn't explain this, but he leaves Ariadne on an island instead of taking her with him.  After she risked her neck to save him! 

So, Theseus gets the Boob Award and if you are covering this lesson in older grade levels it might inspire some intriguing conversations about the limited rights of women in the old world. 

Ariadne wins out in the end, though.  Not only does she get one of the Greek gods as a husband, she ends up getting deified later on, so there's definitely a good moral in there somewhere:  Don't be fooled by a smolder and a quick sword, little ladies;  hang on and wait for the best!

You can find our latest product, "Theseus and the Minotaur" in our TpT store.  We have also included the Greek myth, rewritten and our lesson plan for creating the labyrinth above.  As always, we recommend printing on thick card-stock for our Paper People. 

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