The ancient Egyptian mummification process prepared a person's body for when its spirit returned to it in the afterlife. Great care was taken to remove all internal organs, except the heart, and preserve the body with natron, a powdery salt. The body was rubbed with spices and resin, then wrapped in layers of cloth. Kids will love experiencing history firsthand by mummifying a chicken leg. Over five weeks, kids can prepare, dry and decorate the mummy for burial.
Peel the skin off the chicken leg. Wash the chicken leg thoroughly, then pat it completely dry with paper towels.
Rub salt all over the chicken leg and place it in the resealable plastic bag.
Fill the plastic bag with salt so that the entire chicken leg is encased in salt.
Place the bag in the shallow plastic bin, and put it somewhere it won't be disturbed. Let the bag sit for one week.
Open the bag and remove the chicken leg. Pat the chicken leg dry with paper towels. Throw away the bag with the old salt. Place the chicken leg in a new plastic bag and fill it with new salt so that the entire chicken leg is covered in salt.
Repeat Step 5 four more times for a total of five bag-and-salt changes over the course of five weeks. By the fifth week, the chicken leg should be completely dried by the salt.
Remove the chicken leg from the bag and carefully wipe off the salt. Rub oil all over the chicken leg. Sprinkle spices and rub them into the chicken leg.
Wrap the chicken leg tightly in the white cloth strips so that it's completely covered.
Seal the mummy by applying a layer of shellac over the cloth strips with a foam brush.
Decorate the mummy. Draw hieroglyphics with a permanent marker or embellish with plastic rhinestones, gems, sequins or buttons.
Instruct kids to wear kitchen gloves whenever they're handling the chicken and to wash their hands thoroughly afterward. Let each child make a sarcophagus for his mummy by decorating a small shoebox.
Make sure the chicken leg is completely dry before salting. Any moisture interferes with the drying process.