Ancient Egyptians believed that anything placed within a sarcophagus would accompany the spirits of the dead into the afterlife. Kids can learn more about this ancient tradition by using a shoebox to make a sarcophagus of their own. After they've finished making and decorating a sarcophagus fit for a Pharaoh, they'll find and make special treasures for the mummy to take with him to the afterlife. This activity encourages creativity and teaches kids about history at the same time!
What You Do:
- Begin by helping your child cut the paper bags into flat sheets. Let him have fun crumpling them up into balls and then smoothing them out again. The wrinkled textures are perfect for making the sides of the tomb look weathered and ancient.
- Help him cover each side of the shoebox with the crumpled-up paper. Be sure to cover the lid as well, so that the sarcophagus can be opened and closed.
- Next, ask your child to cut out shapes and designs that remind him of Egypt. You can help him look online for inspiration as to what sorts of symbols were frequently used. Then, have him glue these pictures around the outside of the tomb.
- Remind him that the Egyptians were known for their hieroglyphics. He can either look up some real hieroglyphics online, or get creative and make up some of his own symbols and word codes. Ask him what word each symbol represents, and what it means to his mummy.
- Finally, ask him what sorts of things he wants inside the tomb, and have him draw and cut them out. If he needs some ideas, let him know that food, animals, pottery, and jewelry were often common objects place in the tombs. Once he's rounded up a few objects, have him place them inside the sarcophagus.
With the tomb complete, all that's lacking is a mummy! If your child wants a mummy, he can wrap a doll in some toilet paper and place it inside the sarcophagus. Now, help him find a great place to display his new creation!