Monday, June 2, 2014

Egypt: When Study Becomes a Party

Every once in awhile, you just need to have fun for no reason at all. As my daughter is finishing her sophomore year of homeschooling, she had to study Egypt for one final time before graduation.

Being rather feminine and softhearted, she has a hard time with the concept of mummies. Every time we visit a museum with mummies, she will refuse to enter their room. But we HAD to study them before graduation, so the question was HOW do we do it without needlessly horrifying her?

Enter Pinterest, and the neverending homeschool options of those who have gone before us. We found a Youtube clip of a little boy mummifying a Barbie doll, and decided to turn her studies into one giant "Let's Mummify Barbie" party. When all was said and done, the party ended up covering 11 different assignments, and was a ton of fun to put together.

On our front door, which was flanked by giant potted ferns, was a cartouche spelling out "WELCOME" in hieroglyphics.

Once you entered the living room, a sun-shelter had been altered with gold curtain sheers and tiebacks, to look like a desert oasis tent complete with ferns, reclining cushions, (body pillows) and a low table.

The ceiling of the tent was hung with glass globes holding tealights, and a paper chandelier that took an entire afternoon to make, but was well worth the effort.

To one side of the doorway, we placed a diorama of the Nile River that my daughter painstakingly put together, and an infographic about Hatshepsut; one of the lesser-known female Pharaohs.

The vases were made by spray-painting tea bottles; first in aqua paint, then in gold glitter paint! Every time you looked at them, they appeared to be shimmering.

To the other side of the doorway, was "Cleopatra's Beauty Station.

We printed various photos of Cleopatra's eyes, and each girl had their own eyeliner pencil to try and recreate the effect. To wash up afterwards, there was a homemade Dead Sea mud and honey mask, with the washcloths carefully tied and arranged in a pyramid.

Each girl went home with a bottle of homemade honey body wash, and a jar of homemade milk bath... so they could bath in milk and honey "just like Cleopatra".

Another quick craft and take-home that they did, was to use hieroglyphic rubber stamps, to stamp their names onto actual Egyptian papyrus sheets.

Who knew... even sells papyrus!

For snacking, the girls reclined at the table and tried date-balls, Egyptian-style lemonade, and hibiscus tea along with fruit kebabs, cheese & vegetables with hummus, and cupcakes with Toblerone "Pyramids" on top.

The Egyptian lemonade was very well-received, while the hibiscus tea was deemed "weird and not yukky, but not great."

The girls loved mummifying Barbie. They went through the steps preparing her body for interment, and decided that the best way to remove her brain was NOT to pull then out through her nose - but to remove her head, and pull them out through her neck.

They made intestines, a stomach, and a pancreas out of play-doh to stuff into canopic (painted film canisters) jars, wrapped her tightly with linen strips, and tossed her unceremoniously into the "golden sarcophagus" my daughter had created.

The girls also mummified each other, with rolls of toilet-paper, and then begged me to wrap them into an enormous four-headed mummy... all while laughing uproariously.

Bedtime didn't happen until around 1am, and all four girls were exhausted at church the next day, but somehow I have a feeling this is one school project none of them are likely to forget anytime soon.

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