Seaside attractions (The Victorians)

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By Jane Bowerspecialist primary teacher of art, drama and dance

Combine history and drama to create your own carousel of Victorian seaside attractions

Victorians is a popular KS1 history theme, however, like most popular themes, it can be difficult to offer something fresh and new – something that is as fun and stimulating for you as it is for the children. What follows are some lovely dip-in ideas that can work with mixed ability and age ranges – from R to Y2. The activities themselves provide lots of opportunity for cross-curricular links, from poster-making and design, to music and literacy skills.

Introducting the theme

Look at any books, photographs and artefacts you have which relate to Victorian seaside holidays. Discuss the differences between such holidays then and now – how did people travel there? What did they wear on the beach? What would they eat? Would there be fast food outlets nearby?

Once the basic differences have been established, move to focus on seaside attractions such as puppet shows on the beach, fairgrounds, donkey rides, penny-in-the-slot machines, dancing, seaside rock (the edible kind!), sandcastle competitions; which of these do we still have today?

Introduce the children to popular Victorian attractions which they may not have heard of – the bandstand, waxworks, phrenology (reading the mind from the shape of the skull) and palmistry.

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