Thursday, February 05, 2009

Teaching the Odyssey to Children: The Final Battle

The final battle in the Odyssey is an extremely action-packed story that can be very very fun to act out! You will need:

A simple bow -- one that is large enough to be very difficult for the children to string.
Enough foamy swords for everyone.
Do not bring any real arrows!

1. Hide all the swords in the wine cellar.
2. Everyone is now a suitor, but someone is Odysseus in disguise! We don't know who! Pick the biggest, strongest, tallest student to go last.

3. Have all the suitors try to string the bow. With any luck, only the biggest, strongest kid will get it strung. If it doesn't go that way, just improvise. I had two Odysseuses in the same class, and it worked out fine!
4. Once Odysseus strings the bow, take the bow away and now you become Odysseus. Act out how he transformed back into his glorious strong radiant form, and immediately shot one of the suitors in the throat. Wow! Action! Intensity!
5. Now someone needs to sneak down to the wine cellar and arm the suitors! Have one of the students hand out the swords quickly while Odysseus is making hay with his bow!
6. When everyone is armed, say that they can all try to kill you with their foam swords while you count backwards from 20 to 1. Hopefully, you will survive. If you yell "No killing on the face!" a few times in between counting, you should be alright. But you might want to remove all glasses from you and the children before engaging in this battle.

This activity was planned and executed at our homeschool co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box, for my elementary literature class on The Odyssey. For more of my Odyssey ideas and plans, click on the Odyssey tag at the bottom of the post.


  1. Lydia, what text do you recommend for the Odyssey? I have a Barefoot Books version that I don't love. Thanks for another set of great ideas!

  2. Wow!!! I'm sure these kids will NEVER forget their Odyssey adventures. Incredible!!!