I am so excited to be back studying ancient history with the kids this year. We’ve loosely followed the classical homeschooling method for years, and while I knew we would come back to ancients at the end of a history cycle, it’s really exciting to be studying Egypt again. For Little Miss, this is the first time, but for the boys, we’re digging a little deeper and doing some of the activities we didn’t get to the first time around.
We’ve been listening to Story of the World audiobooks while exploring the Egyptian culture. We learned about cartouches when we were reading about sarcophagus carvings and paintings. When someone died, they would be buried with a cartouche, which had their name carved on it.
For this lesson, we used a Pottery Cool set from Walmart which came with a battery powered pottery wheel, plenty of clay and tools to work with. The clay was pre-rolled into nice, flat disks, which were just perfect for this activity. Making a cartouche is easy- your child just needs to cut out an oval, decorate the borders, and then write their name in hieroglyphics. We used a stamp set, but you can also find the hieroglyphs online and carve them into your clay with the tools.
After we finished our cartouches and set them aside to air dry, the kids decided to use the pottery cool wheel to try their hand at some canopic jars, which were also used in Egyptian burials. Canopic jars held the internal organs of the deceased and were often beautifully decorated.
The Pottery Cool wheel was really fun for the kids (see how it works in this video). They sprayed the clay with water, and then turned it on, so they could form bowls. Once they were happy with the shape of the bowl, they used the stamps and tools to add details. The clay can be dried overnight and painted if desired. My kids preferred the natural look for their creations but many canopic jars were colorful! Go ahead and show your children photographs of canopic jars (the Louvre has many beautiful pictures), or visit a museum near you before creating your own Egyptian art!
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.