Paper Colosseum

What’s going on at the Colosseum?

Ancient Roman Colosseum
Click the photo to view or print the pattern and instructions for the Colosseum craft.



I have always been fascinated by the tragedy at Pompeii.  It’s just unimaginable to think about people living their lives one minute and being swallowed by molten lava the next.  Then thousands of years later, archaeologists uncover the city to find stone mannequins of people going about their everyday lives.

Not everything about this time period conjures up images of tragedy.  In fact, this is another super interesting historical period that students really enjoy learning about.

I remember my fourth grade teacher reading Aesop’s fables.  I loved them.  I think my favorite was The Fox and the Grapes.  I felt a connection to the “I didn’t want those sour grapes anyway” attitude of the fox.  All of the stories have great morals that teach us about human behavior, though animals are playing the parts of humans.

There’s an episode of the Simpson’s where Bart needs to escape by choosing the correct door, but the doors have Roman numerals.  He complains, “I should have paid attention in school.”

Another enjoyable connection to this time period is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  Every time they call Socrates “So Crates,” I laugh!

Most of our Western ideas for democracy, theater, education, and building come from the ancient Greeks and Romans.



#10 ATHLETIC GAMES:  Greeks had Olympic Games – Romans had Gladiator Competitions

#9 ROMAN NUMERALS:  You need to know them for the Super Bowl and to read some copyright dates.

#8 AESOP’S FABLES:  These ancient Greek stories are still fun to read!

#7 THEATER:  Comedy (Lighthearted plays that made fun of celebrities and politicians) and Tragedy (Serious plays with moral lessons.)

#6 SOLDIERS & WARRIORS: Greek soldiers were known as Hoplites. The Spartans were the fiercest warriors of ancient Greece.  The Romans had one of the most successful armies in world history.  The soldiers were well-trained, well-equipped, and very organized.

#5 FAMOUS BUILDINGS:  Greek Parthenon and Roman Pantheon and Colosseum

#4 TECHNOLOGY:  The Greeks are remembered as great ship builders.  The Roman were great road builders.

#3 MYTHOLOGY:  The Greeks had Zeus and Hera.  The Romans had Jupiter and Juno.  There is a huge supporting cast of gods and goddesses in both mythologies.

#2 GOVERNMENT:  Our ideas for democracy come from ancient Roman ideas.

#1 GREAT PHILOSOPHERS:  We still appreciate the great minds of the ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.


Make the paper Colosseum.  Click the link to get the pattern for this craft.


You’ll need:  An empty plastic bottle (detergent bottles work well), poster board, tape, newspaper, scissors or paper cutter, flour, water, mixing bowl, spoon, plastic lids, glue, orange and black paint, paintbrushes.

Instruction for Paper Mache' Greek Vase Craft
  1. Clean and dry the plastic bottle. (I used an ALL detergent bottle.  I removed the plastic cover and the pour spout.)
  2. Cut two 1” X 6” strips of poster board for handles.  Tape a handle to each side of the bottle.
  3. Cut newspaper into 3/4” X 3” strips.
  4. Mix equal parts of flour and water to make paper mache’ paste.
  5. Dip each piece of newspaper into the paste and place it on the plastic bottle. Cover the entire bottle and paper handles with paste-covered newspaper strips.
  6. Cover both lids with newspaper strips.
  7. Fold newspaper strips over the lip of the bottle to finish off the top. Bend the wet paper out to give the top of the vase a flared look.


  1. Paint a base coat on the vase and base pieces. (I mixed the orange with a dab of black, but I think I could have used less black, maybe a dot instead of a dab.)  Look at examples of Greek vases on the internet to get ideas for the base coat design.
  2. Glue the base to the vase.


  1. Paint a picture story on your vase.
Paper Mache' Greek Vase Craft

Click this link to go to the Classical Ancients page on my website for FREE activities or to purchase the unit.