Friday, June 24, 2011

Making A Mummy!

We're really enjoying learning about ancient Egypt using the Story of the World Ancients book and activity guide.  Although we hadn't officially arrived at the chapter about mummies yet (it's in chapter 4 and we're still back in chapter 2), our Lift the Lid on the Mummies book and mummy making kit came in the mail.  Red couldn't wait to do it so we did the project during Tom Thumb's nap yesterday.  

We decided on the kit because one of Story of the World activities for chapter four is making a mummy out of a raw chicken.  While this probably would have been really cool, there are a few reasons the chicken mummy wasn't going to work for us:

1. I'm a vegetarian right now (I know saying "right now" seems funny, but I've only been eating this way for three months and don't know if I'll be able to sustain it for the long haul).
2. We have two cats that are constantly trying to eat everything edible (or sometimes inedible) in sight.
3. The idea of having a raw chicken lying around the house for six weeks grosses me out.

In the end, this kit was a great alternative to the raw chicken mummy project, especially since the book included in the kit is designed to be read as you do the project .  Here's how the mummy making went for us.  You need to allow at least two hours to complete this project.  When you open the box, this is what it looks like inside.
Red was super excited to open up the mummy and check out his little plastic organs, although she was bummed out that there was no brain for her to pull out of his nose with a hook! I think she may be reading too many Egypt books right now. :-)
Red named her mummy Happy because she said it looked like he was smiling.  What do you think?
Next, we had to make the canopic jars to store Happy's organs.  The description on Amazon says this kit is for 9-12 year olds, and I think the process to make the jars is the reason.  They are made of a heavy glossy paper.  Each jar is made of a rectangular piece and a circular piece of paper that must be cut out and glued together.  This was definitely a team effort.  I did all the cutting and gluing and Red held the bottom of the jar (the circle piece) on to the cylindrical part of the jar (the rectangle piece) while they dried.  Once all the jars were glued together it was time to put Happy's organs in them for storage.
Each jar came with a resin lid that represented the god that was supposed to protect that particular organ.  Here's Red putting Happy's intestines in their jar.  We had some issues with Imset's head (the liver god) falling off his jar.  We kept yelling "Put the lid on that liver!"
After our canopic jars were complete, it was time to wrap our mummy.  

One thing I have to say about this kit is that they should have included some more gauze.  We had to re-wrap Happy a couple of times in order to get full coverage.  If you buy this kit, plan on having some extra gauze on hand to make the wrapping part easier.  The kit included a sticker sheet with amulet stickers for you to stick on your mummy as you wrapped him up for protection.
Here's Red posing with Happy after he was all wrapped up.
Next, it was time to put him inside his sarcophagus.  
The punch out mask was included to put on Happy after he was wrapped.  When you're done you're supposed to seal the tomb with this sticker and then bury it.
Red decided against the sealing (why would you seal it?  Then you can't play with it anymore) and decided she wanted to decorate it like a real sarcophagus instead.  Since we didn't have any gold or jewels, she settled for tin foil, glitter glue, and beads.  I covered the lid for Red with tin foil and then she decorated it.
Here's the final product.

Happy even looks happy on the outside of his tomb! 
Overall, this was an excellent project.  Even though it required quite a bit of parental participation, it was great fun!  I would highly recommend this kit as a vegetarian alternative to the chicken mummy.

On a separate Egyptian note, Red just attended vacation Bible school with her friends and the theme was Joseph and Egypt.  What a perfect tie in to our studies!  I have great admiration for the coordinators of this vacation Bible school.  Check out the pyramid and the girls' costumes.  They got to wear those everyday that week.  We'll definitely be going again next year.  They had a grand time!
The kids and I are off to Chicago on Monday to visit my cousin's family so I may be on hiatus for a few days again.  Ah---gotta love summer!


Sarah Slaven said...

I like the way you tackled the mummy issue. We are reading through the same book but my kids all turned their noses up at the idea of mummifying a chicken so in the end we just looked at google images and watched a documentary.

The Reader said...

We did the chicken project years ago, but at a friend's house and she kept custody of the chicken. Win-win, I say, as I definitely would not have wanted it at my place!

This kit looks like a great way to do it, though; I'll remember that when my younger one gets up to ancient history.

And I love that Red decorated the tomb rather than just slapping on a sticker. Awesome!

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

I must have this kit - looks amazing!