Fuelled by Hollywood portrayals of the ancient world, the mention of Egypt calls up rich and iconic images of another time and culture. Invite your students to dive into a deeper understanding of the history of this region with ancient Egyptian arts and crafts for children. Create miniature models of pyramids, mummies and sphinxes. Dress like an Egyptian or create ancient hieroglyphic tablets. Let your Egyptian arts and crafts carry their imaginations away to another time and place far different than the ones they know today.
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Sugar cubes can serve as the building blocks for a simple pyramid. Lay a six-by-six base gluing the edges of the cubes together. Center a five-by-five layer on top of that. Reduce each layer by one column and row and top with a single cube. If you wish, spray paint the structure with stone-texture paint to give it an ancient appearance.Alternatively, cut out four 9-inch by 8-inch heavy cardboard triangles. Tape them together in a pyramid shape and sponge paint the outer edge in natural stone colours. Discuss how the pharaohs would have their most important possessions placed in the tomb with them. Have students bring in pictures of the important things in their lives and glue these to the inside of the pyramid.
A pyramid needs a mummy. Wrap a fashion doll or a tin foil stick figure in several layers of glue-soaked gauze to resemble a miniature mummy. Cover a long thin plastic box and lid with papier-mache or clay in the form of a mummy case. After it dries, spray paint it gold and add details with black permanent marker or paint. Place the mummy in the case to complete the ensemble.
During mummification, ancient Egyptians preserved the liver, intestines, lungs and stomach in special containers called canopic jars. Featuring jackal, baboon, falcon and human heads, each jar was engraved with the protective symbols of its protective spirit. Activity Village suggests making replicas using round paper ice cream containers. Cover the base with construction paper or mould paper mache around it to form a canopic shape and paint. Sculpt the head from clay, spray paint and attach to the lid. Paint on details and finishing touches.
Among the most visible of ancient Egyptian art forms are giant monoliths such as the Sphinx or monuments to the Pharaohs. Sculpt a miniature version out of self-hardening or oven-drying clay and paint it in desert colours.
The ancient pictographic writing of the Egyptians fascinates many children. Cut tablets out of cardboard or shape them out of plaster of Paris or modelling clay. Paint with a stone texture and let the children try their hand at writing their name and other messages on the tablets in hieroglyphs.
Dress Like an Egyptian
Let the children pretend to be Cleopatra or King Tut with homemade Egyptian costumes. Cut a hole for the head in a white sheet to wrap around her for a robe and secure with a shiny tie belt. Finish off the look with beaded or paper headbands, collars and bracelets decorated with metallic 3-D puffy paints. Play Pharaoh for the day with a papier-mache mask attached to a cardboard headdress. Paint the mask in gold and decorate the headdress with markers.
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