Thursday, 24 August 2017

Ancient Egyptian Day

After the success of Minecraft Day, it was time for our second themed day of the summer holidays - Ancient Egyptian Day. This was Harry's choice, inspired by having studied Ancient Egypt at school last term, and he had some ideas of his own. In fact I found so much to do that Ancient Egyptian Day actually spilled over into the weekend and inspired our activities for several days!

How to hold an Ancient Egypt themed day with children

As usual, I set up our dining table with some of our favourite Ancient Egypt books and my little cat statue that my parents brought me back from Egypt after I regretted not buying one after our own trip. The night before I printed out a set of Ancient Egypt Matching Flash Cards from Twinkl (Premium resource). This is a set of cards which make up text and image pairs. I stuck them up all around the house. The children loved spotting them when they came down to breakfast, and when they had finished we played a mad matching game which involved them tearing about the house trying to match up the cards - they loved it!

Twinkl resources for Egyptian theme

They were ready for some quiet activities after that, so I settled them down with an Ancient Egypt Wordsearch (Premium resource) and a Design an Ancient Egyptian Death Mask printable. Mia in particular really loved this activity, she spent ages making sure that her mask was symmetrical.

While she was getting on with it Harry spent time reading his Explore 360: The Tomb of Tutankhamun book which we received to review a little while ago. There is a free app that goes with the book but can be used independently and I'd really recommend it. It's called TutTomb 360 (TutTomb 360 for Android, TutTomb 360 on iTunes) and you can use it for a virtual tour of King Tutankhamun's tomb. Harry has spent ages exploring using it, there is lots of information about the objects that were found in the tomb.

Design your own death mask craft

Then we moved onto our baking activity and made some gingerbread mummy biscuits. I used my favourite gingerbread recipe from Tesco. I know that it makes loads of dough so I reduced the quantities down to one third and it made enough for about 12 mummy biscuits. When the biscuits had cooled we used a spoon to drip white icing over the biscuits to form stripes like bandages - they looked brilliant and were delicious!

Gingerbread mummy biscuits

Our next craft was another mummy one - making our own mummy models. This idea came from a great book that Harry received for his birthday - Egyptian Things to Make and Do. The book is packed with crafts to do with Ancient Egypt which all use materials that are readily available and are really imaginative. The mummies were made using tin foil pieces, scrunched up and placed together to form the shape of a person and a cat, then covered with more in foil to hold everything together firmly. Then the children used thin strips of kitchen roll, dipped in water and wrapped around like bandages.

Making mummies craft with children

When they were dry I painted them with a slightly diluted mixture of PVA glue to keep everything stuck down firmly. They really enjoyed making their mummies and it was interesting to see how the bandages had to be positioned to wrap the bodies most efficiently.

Ancient Egypt day making mummies

All this mummification reminded Harry of something that he'd done at school - mummifying a tomato. I found some simple instructions here - how to mummify a tomato - and we gave it a go. You basically just scoop out the inside of the tomato, give it a wash, pack it with salt to preserve it, then leave it somewhere warm and dark. Ours is currently sitting in the airing cupboard, I'll be checking in a few days to see what has happened to it!

How to mummify a tomato

After lunch we had a go at playing the Ancient Egyptian game of Senet, using another printable from Twinkl - Ancient Egyptian Board Game Senet (Premium resource). The game involves throwing sticks to determine how many spaces to move your counters, and racing to move all your counters off the board, with lots of extra goes, swapping, and safe spaces. It was a bit complicated to start with but we worked it out and it was a lot of fun to play!

Ancient Egyptian game Senet printable

It was time for more crafting, and we decided to attempt some headbands. Harry found one in a book that he wanted to try but it was a bit complicated, so we used this Egyptian Snake Head Band printable from Twinkl (Premium resource). It was simple to put together and looks really good! There are also some other fab papercrafting printables over at Twinkl, you can make a Mummy, a Pyramid and a Sphinx (Premium resources).

Printable 3D Egyptian headband from Twinkl

Then Harry pulled out a hieroglyph chart and ruler that he bought on a trip to the British Museum. The ruler has a stencil for drawing the different hieroglyphs, and he loves writing little messages.

While he was doing that I began to work on some cases for their mummies, again using instructions from the Egyptian Things to Make and Do book. You make a basic shape for the case using a shaped piece of cardboard and a cardboard strip taped up the sides. I gave the case several coats of white paint to cover up the printing, then left overnight to dry.

The next day we covered the cardboard cases with papier mache made from white tissue paper and glue. This made sure that the edges were covered evenly and the whole thing had a smooth finish. Then we painted them with a gold coloured acrylic paint. When it was all dry the children decorated them using stickers from the craft book and their own designs, with a hieroglyphic alphabet for some writing. I think they look pretty good!

Ancient Egyptian mummy case craft for children

Finally, we had to involve Minecraft in our themed day somehow. Harry set them both up in a desert landscape, and I challenged them to build a pyramid.

Playing Minecraft with an Egyptian theme

These are the books that we used while we were learning about Ancient Egypt, I can fully recommend all of them!

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Our other themed days so far:

Space Day
Antarctic Day
Dinosaur Day
Under the Sea Day
Beach Day
Disney Frozen Day (a guest post from my sister)
Roman Day
Transport Day
Australia Day
Minecraft Day

I have been provided with a Platinum Plus subscription to Twinkl in exchange for sharing their resources on my blog from time to time. Amazon links are affiliate.

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