A Labyrinth of Riddles
The Middle of the Riddle
Copy theMiddle of the Riddle Maze nametag provided at the end of this program. Clipart copyright © 2010 by the University of South Florida, Florida Educational Technology Clearinghouse: http://etc.usf.edu/clipart. Download at the bottom of this page.
Weekly Riddle Contest
Hold a weekly riddle contest. Include riddles, mazes, hidden pictures, and two minute stories. Set up a box where the completed riddles can be submitted. Draw names to determine the winners.
Read an excerpt of “Chapter 5: Riddles in the Dark” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. A good starting place is the paragraph that begins, “Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature…”
Theseus Battles the Minotaur (Adapted from Greek mythology by Megan Clark)
Prop Suggestions: Create a Minotaur horn by cutting a Styrofoam wreath in half and then shaping it with scissors. Add a ball of thread or yarn. Print out mazes and blow up the hoof print of a bull. Photos in the public domain of artistic renderings of the Minotaur are available from Wikipedia at www.wikipedia.com.
Photo and artwork by Megan Clark
The Minotaur was a mythical violent monster that had the body of a man, the head of a bull, and the attitude to go with it. It lived in the Labyrinth, an enormous maze that stretched for miles and miles underground. Every year King Minos selected seven young men and seven young women from his enemies and drove them into the maze. The victims would wander lost and helpless through the tunnels until the Minotaur found and devoured them.
Then one day a young man named Theseus asked his father to let him be chosen as one of the human sacrifices who would be sent into the maze to face the Minotaur. He promised that he would kill the Minotaur and find his way back home. His father did not want him to go because he did not think anyone could kill the Minotaur, and no one had ever found their way back out of the Labyrinth once they had gone inside. Theseus was very persistent, however, and at last his father reluctantly agreed.
Luckily, Theseus had some help. The daughter of King Minos had fallen madly in love with him and she secretly gave him two very important tools to accomplish his mission: a sword and a ball of thread.
Theseus knew that he could never remember how to get back out of the maze, so he used the ball of string to guide him back. Theseus tied the end of the thread to a stone at the entrance to the maze, and the other end to his belt, and set out into the maze with his sword. As he walked into the maze, the ball of string unraveled marking his way back.
The Minotaur was expecting a helpless and confused victim in the Labyrinth, instead he found an armed and dangerous Theseus. Theseus took his sword and killed the surprised Minotaur, then followed the thread until it led him back out of the maze. Much to everyone’s joy, Theseus emerged safe and sound from the maze to claim his reward as the hero and slayer of the dreaded Minotaur.
I-Spy (by Megan Clark)
- Pictures from old magazines or books
- Craft decorating items
- Construction paper
- Markers, scissors, and glue
Photos and artwork by Megan Clark
Show the kids pages from Jean Marzollo’s I-Spy books. Give each kid a piece of construction paper. Have the kids create their own 3D version of an I-Spy page. Have them write the words of objects that are hidden or hard to find on their page.
Using a large open space create a maze with masking tape. Recruit 7 teen volunteers to act as the Greek prisoners. Each prisoner should be given a Greek name and wear a small nametag. Add props and costumes whenever possible. If you cannot recruit volunteers for the activity, draft 7 puppets and attach name tags.
Divide the kids into teams. Their mission is to rescue the 7 Greek prisoners who have lost their way in the Labyrinth. Once they find each prisoner, they must free them from the monster that holds them captive by solving the puzzle that will be given to them. As a team they must come up with the correct solution to each puzzle. If they are having trouble solving a puzzle, they may search for Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who will be walking through the Labyrinth. In return for a 30 second team time delay, Athena can give them a hint sheet to help them solve the puzzle.
Once they have freed all seven prisoners, the team must race back to the beginning of the maze in order to claim their prize. However, the team must be cautious as they proceed through the Labyrinth. If they come upon the Minotaur (volunteer or puppet) they will have a time delay of 3 minutes before they are allowed to continue their journey.
Word Search Maker - Create your own word search by typing in the words you want and clicking a button to have the computer create the puzzle.
Crossword Puzzle Games - Create your own crossword by typing in your words, the hints, and then clicking a button.
Print Activities.com - Find many printable mazes for kids ranging in difficulty from easy to advanced.
Classroom Jr.com - Find several printable Mad Libs for kids to complete.
Mr. Donn’s Lesson Plans and Activities - This website for teachers includes Greek myths for children, games, and activities. Check out a kid friendly version of the Greek myth Theseus and the Minotaur, as well as some neat mazes to solve.
Scholastic’s I Spy - This website has a number of online I-Spy games to play, including matching, puzzles, and bingo.
The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki
Key stories about the Greek gods and goddesses are told in this nonfiction title with brevity and clarity.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
This classic fantasy tale chronicles the adventures of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. It is the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Most suitable for older kids.