Young children might only think of mummies in relation to Halloween. As cute as your child might be dressed as a mummy, you can take the opportunity to teach your child about the real mummies of ancient Egypt. Engage your child in kid-friendly activities that introduce her to this ancient practice and some of the famous Egyptian pharoahs who were mummified.
Egyptian Mummy Reading
Read age-appropriate books with your child that teach her about Egyptian mummification. For children 5 and older, "The Best Book of Mummies," by Philip Steele, introduces children to ancient Egypt and mummification with vivid, watercolor illustrations. For kids 8 and older, "Creepy Egyptian Mummies You Wouldn't Want to Meet!" by David Stewart, teaches kids about famous Egyptian mummies -- such as King Tut -- in a humorous, informative manner.
Make an easy Egyptian mummy with your child using a toilet paper roll. Help your child cut out a head shape, arms and legs from poster board. Glue the bottom of the head to the top of a toilet paper roll, on the inside. Glue the arms and legs on the toilet paper roll in the appropriate positions, then give your child toilet paper to wrap around the toilet paper tube from top to bottom, using nontoxic school glue to secure it in place. Have him carefully wrap the head, arms and legs with the toilet paper as well. To make a pyramid -- where mummified Egyptians were laid to rest -- cut four equal-sized triangles out thin cardboard, with a small tab on one side of each triangle, in the middle. Create the pyramid shape by gluing the four triangles together by the tabs. Glue the pyramid shape to a square piece of cardboard. Have your child cover the entire pyramid with glue, then pour gold glitter all over it to complete the project.
Engage your child and her friends in mummy-themed games. Have them compete to create a mummy by putting the kids in pairs. One person in each pair races to wrap her partner in toilet paper like a mummy from head to toe. The pair with the most well-wrapped mummy in a certain amount of time wins. For another game, take the kids outside to play "mummy chase." Half the kids are mummies and the other half are explorers inside of a pyramid. The mummies must "chase" the explorers, but they must walk mummy-like, with stiff arms and legs they cannot bend. The explorers cannot run, but can walk fast within a small area that is the pyramid. Starting in a small safety zone in the middle of the pyramid, they must try to make it outside of the pyramid, to get away from the mummies. Any child tagged by a mummy before getting out of the pyramid becomes a mummy as well.
Take your child to a museum near you that features any type of ancient Egyptian art, history or culture. Several museums in major U.S. cities have an exhibit on ancient Egypt, including the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (penn.museum) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the National Museum of Natural History (mnh.si.edu) in Washington, D.C. and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (lacma.org) in Los Angeles, California. If you do not live near any museum featuring ancient Egyptian exhibits, take a virtual field trip with your child by checking out the mummy and pyramid artifacts online from museums all over the world, such as the British Museum (britishmuseum.org) in London, which has the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts outside of Europe, as of 2013.
- The Best Book of Mummies; Philip Steele
- Creepy Egyptian Mummies You Wouldn't Want to Meet!; David Stewart
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images