Friday, September 20, 2019

Story of the World - Chapter 13 - Amenhotep and King Tut

The second last half of this chapter of Story of the World deals with the king Amenhotep (later Akhenaten), a Pharoah who briefly transformed religion and art Egypt, and King Tutankhamun, who during his short reign, changed everything back.    As always, I offer my suggestions for activities and other ways to enhance the reading below.

This post contains some affiliate links through which I can earn commission. 


As you know, I ALWAYS look for pictures from library books or online to illustrate the chapter (cause for my visual learner, one black and white pic isn't enough).   Usually, any kids books related to the subject will have some pictures that would work to illustrate the chapter and it doesn't really matter which one you get...but for this subject this book was SO PERFECT for illustrating that I think it's worth searching for specifically (maybe even doing interlibrary loan for).    It had a really good pictures of Amenhotep...a large statue of him and a wall carving of him and his wife Nefertiti, and more pictures of her on another page (search for Akhenaten, his other name, in the index to find it)  But where it really shines for this chapter is the TWO special lift the flap pages related to King tut (see pictures and/or video below).  


One interesting thing about Amenhotep/Akhenaten that SOTW doesn't mention is how he changed art in Egypt.   For thousands of years before Akhenaten, and for nearly 1000 years after his reign, Egyptian art remained largely the same.  But for a brief period of about 60 years during his reign and shortly afterwards, the style of artwork in Egypt changed.   This period of time was called the Armana period.  The videos below all share a little something about this...


TICE ART 1010 - Ancient Near Eastern and Ancient Egyptian Art (4 min)
This video is about Ancient Egyptian Art in general (and Mesopotamian art, but I've set the link to start at the Egyptian section), and is done in a cartoon style that would be fun for even young kids to watch.    It only briefly covers the art of the Armana period, but I like it because it shows what Egyptian art was like before and after that period, for contrast.

Armana Period (10 min)
This video covers more about both the religious and  artistic changes during this period.   Sadly it's a little grainy and may not be as fun for younger kids.

Egypt's Armana Period (11 min)
The first half of this video first talks about the discovery of King Tut's Tomb (so would be a great tie-in between the first and last parts of this SOTW section), and from 4:46 on talks about Amenhotep/Akhenaten.   It mostly focuses on the religious changes but gets into the art style change a bit too.  It's a very engaging video.

Good places to find illustrations to use in the chapter.   

King Tut

Nearly all children's books on Ancient Egypt will have some illustrations of King Tut.   The original version of SOTW had an illustration of his mask in the chapter, and the Revised has a coloring page of it the activity book.   You can also find beautiful pictures of the mask and other art and statues of King Tut with a quick search online.

But again I want to recommend DK Ancient Egypt Revealed for illustration here. The "lift the flap" pages on Tutankhamen (transparent pages that show part of the picture underneath, and as you lift the page more detail is revealed) were a really dramatic way to illustrate this part of the chapter (as I showed on the video below).   This also shows some cool techniques I have for organizing the illustration pages I use from other books while reading Story of the World.   The video also features the book Make It Work:  Ancient Egypt that had some good illustrations of Tutankhamen's tomb.


Pharaoh Headress Printable (wearable)

3D Egyptian Death Mask

Make Pharoah's Crock and Flail

Coloring Page (Crowning/Marriage)

Coloring Page (mask) 

How to Draw King Tut


PBS Special on King Tut (27 minutes)

King Tut's Tomb and Armana Period  (11 minutes)
I mentioned this one earlier but am mentioning it again.  The first half of this video first talks about the discovery of King Tut's Tomband from 4:46 on talks about Amenhotep/Akhenaten.

Ancient Civilizations for Kids -Ancient Egypt
From 1:30 - 5:59 has a really good dramatic retelling of the discovery of King Tut's tomb.   It reminds me of the description in SOTW.


The Bronze Age Collapse  is a significant event that takes place less than 100 years after King Tut reigned in Egypt.    It's not addressed in SOTW but after this chapter would be a good place to add it in.  Extra Credits History has a good short kid friendly video on it.

Shared on Littles Learning Link Up and Homeschool Coffee Break Weekly Wrap Up

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bug Party Fun!

Our bug themed party the year my son turned seven was, by far, my favorite party we've had with the kids ever.    Everything worked, yet it still felt simple.   Part of it was due, I know, to a bunch of parents who choose to stay, help where needed, and a group of kids that just got along so well.   But we had some neat games and activities I wanted to share with you all too. 

This post contain some affiliate links through which I can earn a commission. 


Game 1:  Cocoon Wrap

We had a race to see who could wrap their partner in a toilet paper "cocoon" the fastest.   When everyone was done the kids burst out of their cocoon in a spectacular explosion of toilet paper.   Luckily we had a lot of adults present to help clean up the mess.   (Totally worth the mess, by the way...the bursting out was unplanned and magical)

Game 2:   Fly Catching

Sadly I don't have pictures of this, but there is a great game we found on 100 Days of Play using party blowers to catch "flies" (like a frog would with its tongue).   The kids were giggling all the way through this was so much fun.  
  • Party blowers (metalic or plastic ones better than paper)
  • Velcro Dots
  • A box (if you are doing this outside)
  • (Optional...printed flies or cut out fly wings...see below)
Attach the soft side of  the Velcro dots to the outside end of the party blowers when they are fully uncurled (soft side because it damages the blower less when it blows in and out).

The flies at 100 Days were made by attaching the other end of the Velcro dots to printed, cut out flies, but since I found black Velcro dots, I cut out little heart shapes in plain white paper and smashed two scratchy side dots together n them so the curved part stuck out the back like fly wings.   You could also just stick two dots together without the wings to save some time.    I suggest making one fly and one blower and testing it out before doing more. 

We put the flies in a box so they wouldn't "fly away" in the wind.   Then we gathered four kids in small groups (3-4 max if you're surrounding a small box...more if you are inside and can spread these out on a table), and had them race to try and catch the most flies with their blowers.  You will want adults around to help them remove the flies from the blowers because it's easy to damage the blowers pulling off the flies.   Paper blowers especially (like we made the mistake of using) can tear too easily while pulling off a Velcro fly.

Game 3:  Centipede Congo Line

You kinda have to have the right crowd of kids and parents to pull this off...and we did.   Parents who really got into it were the key--they got the kids into it.  We basically just walked in a congo line holding onto shoulders...but I told them we were making a giant centipede.   It was simple and fun.   No prep!


So, originally I was going to make all a mess of cupcakes myself (you can get the details of how to make them here).    But after making these five I realized that this could take all night...and I  suddenly had a brilliant idea!   These cupcakes had been fun to make, even though it was time consuming...and thought how much fun the kids would have DECORATING THEIR OWN CUPCAKES.    So, I brought these for examples, spread out the supplies, then handed the kids a plain cupcake, and plastic knife and a paper plate, and let them decorate their own cupcakes however they wanted.

Did the cupcakes the kids made look anything like the example cakes?   Nope.   Did the kids have a blast making them?   ABSOLUTELY!

And just to have something healthy I also had these caterpillar grapes, 
which a lot of the kids gobbled up!   Originally they were supposed to have 
frosting eyes, but I ran out of time.

We also took off the wrapper on a Sierra Mist and labeled it Bug Juice with a sharpie (like I'd seen on pinterest) .   The kids thought that was HILARIOUS!


My son's birthday is in April...the perfect time to buy live ladybugs (available at garden centers) I thought, why not give away lady bugs in bug jars as a party favor?   They will usually come refrigerated (the cold keeps the docile, and helps them stay alive longer), come with their own bug food.   Be aware that some of them die (and that it's nearly impossible not to get any dead ladybugs into your bug jars), and that they do smell a bit.   Also, if the picture above creeps you out, then I don't suggest this as they look JUST LIKE THAT when you buy ladybugs.   Also, I don't suggest having this as a party favor for indoor parties. 
  1. You can buy bug boxes in bulk online, or make your own with clear cups and press and seal plastic wrap (NOT regular plastic wrap, which comes unstuck too easily).  
  2. I suggest keeping them in the refrigerator until the day before the party so that they both stay alive and stay sluggish (making them easier to redistribute into jars).
  3. Grab a spoon an prepare your jars outside (all lids open), then grab your ladybugs from the fridge, go directly outside, and use a spoon to quickly dish a small amount of them into each of the bug jars.   Then release the rest into your back yard, or put a lid on them, stick them back in the fridge, and take them to the party to release outside there.
  4. Before giving the ladybugs to your party kids, make sure to tell kids to ask their parents if it's ok to take the bugs home (to release in their backyard).  If they want to release the bugs at the party (outside) that's fine too.  
  5. We also printed out a coloring page on the lady bug life cycle we found free on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I can't remember which one, but I like this one with photos (the Ladybugs Grow Up Fast page) and this coloring page here.   The kids were especially facinated to know about the little "alligator" stage of ladybugs, as several had seen those before and not known they were ladybug larve.
Here's a pic of one of the ladybugs that we later released, keeping the aphids off my plants!

Shared on Camera Critters. Quirky Mamma, You're the Star Monday and the Kids Activities Blog

Saturday, August 10, 2019

How to Make Bug Cupcakes

I made the following cupcakes for a bug themed party and it was so fun.   The cupcakes themselves are just regular out of the box cake mix with store bought chocolate frosting, but below you can learn more about how I decorated them.

(DISCLOSURE:   This post contains some Amazon links to some of the more unsual candy used...mostly just cause not everyone would know what it was without seeing a picture even though this is all stuff you can usually find at the supermarket...but I could earn commission from these if you bought something through the link and need to disclose that.). 


To make the dirt I removed the pie crust from a pie tin and broke it up in a plastic baggie, sprinked it on the frosted cupcake, and added a gummie worm.   (You can crumble up graham crackers too...I wanted thicker chunks, and needed the tin for something else anyways, and the pie tins were on sale and actually cheeper than a box of graham crackers, so that's why I went that route.). 


I used Fruit by the Foot and Twizzlers Pull and Peel Candy to make the butterfly on this cupcake.   First I cut (with scissors) a roughly 2.5 in segment of fruit by the foot and pinched the middle to make the wings.   I cut two Pull and Peel Strands for antenna and wrapped another length of fruit by the foot around them to make the body, then placed it on top of the wings.   I sort of wish I used a brighter colored icing (like yellow) under the butterfly and dragonfly.   (Note...just learned that Twizzlers has a multicolored version of their Pull and Peel candy, too!   Didn't see that when I was making these!)


I used Butterfinger minis (NOT full size) for the abdomen (other candies like Snickers or Milky Way minis could work too...though Butterfinger is particularly rounded).   The legs were made of red vines.   The head is an M&M, and the eyes are made with red writing icing.


The antennas are Twizzlers Pull and Peel Candy (make longer than needed to stick into the cake icing), the body is M&Ms, and the legs are cake icing.   The dirt is crumbled pie crust (see instructions for worm above).


The dragonfly is made by first cutting out wings from  Fruit by the Foot, and placing them on the cupcake.  Then I twisted two small segments of Fruit by the Foot to make the antenna, and wrapped more Fruit by the Foot around that to make the body, which was then placed on top of the wings (once again, I think a "flowery" color icing like yellow or pink, or even green for grass, would have looked better under this.)


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

CRAFT: Wrapped Walking Stick

Decorating a walking stick with yarn/and cloth is a fun craft that can be simplified for a young child, yet is still an enjoyable project for a teen or adult to do!  Learn how to make your own below!

This post contain some affiliate links through which I can earn a commission. 

Finding The Perfect Stick
Finding sticks for this craft is easier than you would would think.    You can go to local wooded areas and look for downed branches (sometimes you'll even see downed branches on the side of the road).   Or, look for neighbors pruning their trees and ask if you can take some of the branches.   Once I started looking for sticks for this project, I started noticing them  everywhere. 
You'll want sticks that are relatively straight, and about 1-2 inches in diameter. Watch out for sticks that are rotten or molded, and make sure to ask if any of the wood had been treated for pesticides (which you will want to avoid.   If any of the bark seems loose, see if you can peel it off as that can be a sign there are bugs underneath.  If you leave on the bark, or are able to peel the bark free, you won't have to sand it.  If you choose to carve off the bark you will want to sand the stick afterwards.  Bark left on may detatch on it's own over time.

A good height for a walking stick is about 6-8 inches taller than a person's elbow if their arms are hanging straight down while standing (got that tip from Boy's Life).  Even if you find a stick nearly the exact height you want, you may want to saw one end off to flatten out the bottom of your walking stick.

Wrapping a Walking Stick With Yarn
We decorated our sticks with either yarn or cloth (or both). Below is a video showing a simple way to wrap the stick with yarn. At the beginning of this video I said that I have "a few inches of yarn." I misspoke...I actually had a few feet...but what I meant was that I had a few inches of yarn left over to form a "tail."   You can add beads other charms to the left over yarn tails, as shown in the picture at the top of this page (more on that below).

I love how the yarn looked on this curvy stick.  

When we did these we were looking for simple things we could do with cheep materials.   If you are looking to do something more complex, you can find several more detailed techniques using Paracord (which would also be more weather resistant).  

Turks Head

Cow Hitch

Fish Scale Braid

French Hitching

Solomon V

How to Wrap a Stick With Cloth

You can also wrap a stick with cloth tied in yarn (or leather).  

This is actually a useful feature as it creates a padded area for a hand-hold (the more padding you want, the more layers you will want to wrap around your stick).  We used strips from old t-shirts, but you can use any type of cloth you want (or even scraps of leather).

Wrapping cloth on a stick is fairly simple. First roll a strip of cloth around the stick. Then take a long piece of yarn and tie it tightly near to top of the cloth.  Make your tie in the middle of the yarn so you have two fairly equal lengths of yarn hanging down, and leave about an inch of cloth above where you tie it. For a criss-cross design, spiral one of these down the cloth, and the other in the opposite direction, so that the two lengths of yarn criss-cross, then at the bottom (about an inch from the edge of the fabric), tie these two yarn-tails together tightly.

Adding Decorations

You can add beads or charms to the strings that are left when you are done tying your yarn. You will need beads with a hole large enough that yarn can fit through. I look for beads with holes just slightly larger than the yarn, because then after I've put them on the yarn, all I need to do is tie a double or triple knot in the yarn and that holds on the beads. You can also get charms that tie on the yarn, and those will hold up all the beads above them as well. 

Getting beads onto thick, fuzzy yarn can be tricky! But I have a trick that makes it easy! I use floss threaders (the kind found in the dental aisle of most supermarkets). Just put the yarn through the large hoop of the floss threader, insert the bead over the small pointy end, and then pull the bead down over the yarn. You can see floss threaders in use in the picture below.

I decorated some of the walking sticks with small shells.   Sometimes, while walking on the beach, I find shells with holes naturally worn into them, but you can buy shells buy shells with drilled holes.  Usually these holes are too small to fit yarn through, even with a threader, so I put a small diameter jump ring through the holes and then I can put the yarn through the larger jump ring.

Some Bead and Charm Ideas
(Click to see on Amazon)


Other Decoration Ideas 
And a few practical considerations

You can add lots of other decorations as well. You could use decorative tape, paint, ribbons...whatever you can think of.  You can even carve patterns in your stick if you like to whittle. Skies the limit!

But whatever you do keep practicality in mind. Make sure to leave a smooth surface to hold (or a soft one). Don't put hanging beads and baubles where it will hit your hand as you walk. Be careful of putting paint where you will hold your stick as it might rub off over time (stains might work better). And make sure that whatever you decorate with, it's able to withstand a little weather and wear.

Tips for Group Projects

I originally dis this project for our church's Vacation Bible School.   Doing this with a larger group is different than doing it with just your own kids.   You can see my suggestions for doing this project with a large group over at my other blog here (just scroll past the how-to in the beginning, since you've already read that here).

This has been shared on Encouraging Hearts and Home and Littles Learning Link Up.