Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ancient Egypt activities for children

There are lots and lots of teaching resources for Ancient Egypt, so I didn't really have to come up with many activities on my own. One thing that was a big hit was ordering this Egyptian game, Senet. I think scholars admit that we don't really know for sure how it was played in ancient times, but they have come up with rules for it and my kids really liked it. They like board games anyway, but this was one even the kindergartner could play! It's just a two-player game (as you might not be able to tell from the picture) but it's quite fun! 
One book suggested making dried apples and talking about how much of food preservation involved salting or drying back in those times, especially in hot dry Egypt! You just cut apple slices and put them in a 200-degree oven until they look dry and leathery. Or you can use a fruit dryer. My children have done lots of fruit drying with their grandma, so this wasn't new to them, but it was kind of fun anyway. It relates sort of to mummification also! :)
But to really talk about mummification, we did the ol' Apple Mummies activity. I feel you can't swing a cat on the internet without smacking a page about the Apple Mummies activity, so I won't recap it much here, except to say that it's not the very yuckiest option you can do, so that's good. You use salt to approximate the natron Ancient Egyptians used for their mummies. Here's an alternate version of this project.
Another fun thing to try is making Egyptian reed boats. We just picked some hollow-ish reeds from a stream nearby and held them together with twist ties while they dried. They do, indeed, float! And the children liked floating little toy soldiers on them in the bath.
A lot of pyramid-building play went on during this unit, which was fun to watch!

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