Ancient Egypt Unit Study

Mummifying apples!

This has been a fun unit. We had some independent reading time, some hands on projects, and watched some great DVD's on Ancient Egypt. But, most of our enjoyment came from the two historical fiction books that I read aloud to the kids: Mara, Daughter of the Nile and Henty's book, The Cat of Bubastes. The later was the boys' favorite. Our study of Ancient Egypt will now flow very smoothly into our study of Ancient Israel.

  • Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History: "The Egyptian Experience" (52-62)
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile
  • The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt
  • Great Ancient Egypt Projects (I loved this book for all of the hands on activities!)
  • Eyewitness Books: Ancient Egypt
  • The Kingfisher Book of the Ancient World
  • Usborne's Book of World History
  • Adam to Messiah
  • Ancient Civilizations and the Bible
  • "What in the World": Ancient Egypt (15:29) (Ancient Civilizations and the Bible)

  • Label the Nile River.
  • Color the flood plain of the Nile (the fertile area). (green)
  • Color the desert of Egypt. (yellow)
  • Color the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. (blue)
  • Draw the boundaries of Egypt, including Upper and Lower Egypt
  • Label the cities of Memphis, Thebes and the Valley of the Kings
  • Label the area of Goshen in the Nile Delta
  • Label the land of Midian
The boy's maps were all similar, here is Dylan's Map, age 9.
Malachi's map came from the Elementary Activity book. I loved that it was simple enough for him to color and understand.
Activities: (From the Ancient Egypt Activity Book.) Make Your Own Papyrus Papyrus grew along the banks of the Nile and was utilized by the Egyptians to make mats, baskets, boats, ropes and sandals. But, the most notable way was used was for making paper. The Dead Sea scrolls (ancient Hebrew scrolls discovered in the caves by the Dead Sea) were written on papyrus. We used:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups water
  • several sheets of unlined paper (we used ivory to make a golden color like real papyrus
We mixed flour and water to make a paste.
We cut the paper into one inch-wide strips then soaked the strips in the flour water mixture. We used parchment paper so it would look more authentic. =) While they were soaking, we spread out a piece of foil over our work surface.
Then the boys laid the strips on the foil horizontally, and then add a vertical layer on top.
Then covered it with a piece of foil and rolled with a rolling pin to flatten the layers together.
Then peeled the layer of foil off.
I had them make their papyrus on the dehydrator trays so that we would have an easy place to store them while they dried. We thought it gave it an interesting texture that seemed real.
Berry Ink
I had wonderful plans to make Berry Ink with the boys for writing on the papyrus with. I gathered all of the ingredients, while the boys were watching "Ancient Egypt: Unearthed."
Mali wanted to help, so we let him smash the berries.
But something tells me that we had more berries than this. The blue stains on his lips gave me a hint.
Well, I asked him not to eat anymore and still thought we would have enough berry juice to make the ink. I left it on the stove to continue dripping and planned to finish it after lunch. Well, my efficient husband thought that someone had berries and didn't clean up their mess, so he took care of it. Sweet guy, isn't he? =)
I was going to have the boys write their name in hieroglyphs on the papyrus with berry ink and then place it in the My Name envelope on the page seen below.
I just had them use regular ink. =) In fact, we learned later that ink was also made from charcoal, so black ink worked just fine. (The minit books are from Homeschool Share).
Next we did some Mummy Science. This is a project that we did with Sonlight Core 1, our first year of homeschooling. But, that was four years ago, and the boys wanted to do it again.
Did you know that Joseph in the Bible was embalmed using the Egyptian mummification process?
While we were waiting for our apples to mummify, we explored Tapestry of Grace's Go to Egypt sample. I was inspired by a question on one of their evaluation quizzes and made this notebooking page.
It says: Egypt has been called "The Gift of the Nile." Draw and describe how the Nile shaped Egyptian farming, trade and leisure.

Just as I was ready to wrap this unit up, I downloaded the Olde World Style Maps and Notebooking pages from Homeschool in the Woods (for review) and I printed a map for the boys to include in their notebook and also a notebooking page on daily life. The topics of daily life that they wrote about include: houses, food, clothing, work, education, leisure, faith and holidays.
Our next study will be on Ancient Israel and this will be a long one. We will continue with our reading and Stick Figuring through the Bible and our study of Ancient Israel will take us all the way though the rest of the Old Testament. We are currently on the book of Exodus. My plan is to study Ancient Israel concurrently with other ancient civilizations, in the following order:
  • Ancient Mesopotamia
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome


  1. Great post. We just started our Ancient Egypt unit study today and I have been truly inspired by your post. I already had the apple experiment and papyrus paper as two of our activities. I will definitely be looking up the free products on homeschool share. Thank you for this awesome post.

    1. I'm happy to hear you have been inspired, I hope you have a great unit!

  2. Really useful as we are about to embark on an ancient egypt project.