Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hands-on Learning about Ancient Egypt

My son (9yrs) first showed an interest in Ancient Egypt over a year ago now when he build a pyramid from his Lego one evening before bed. Since then, his interest in Ancient Egypt and the pyramids have led him to explore this topic using a range of resources and lots of hands on learning. 

There are two things my son loves about learning; building things with his hands and listening to stories. His love of stories led me to discover the Charlotte Mason method of using great Living Books (books without twaddle) to support learning. So with his interest in pyramids, I purchased the Ebook, Boy Of The Pyramids by Ruth Fosdick Jones and we read it together.

Around this time, my son started to explore Famous World Landmarks, Continents of the World and Africa. He had spent sometime learning how to use Google Earth on his ipad and found the Pyramids of Giza in his search. This inspired him to make his own map of the pyramids by using recycled cardboard, a great hands-on project. By doing this, he learnt more about the Pyramids of Giza, early mapping concepts as well as geometry and other problem solving skills. 

Once he had completed the construction of his cardboard map, he left it for about eight months  before he decided to paint it. He wanted to pyramids to look like bricks so he looked at texture and other painting techniques to find out how to achieve this. He also added extra detail to his map such as the river Nile and some crops (he had learnt about this in the book, Boy Of The Pyramids).

As the interest in pyramids progressed, I looked for appropriate books on ancient Egypt and the pyramids that would support my sons learning. These are the books we have been using:

With all this talk and reading about ancient Egypt and the pyramids, my young daughters (3yrs and 5yrs old) started showing an interest too. To keep their learning hands-on and play-based, I purchased the Ancient Egypt Toob from Mini Zoo for them. They love making up little stories with figurines so these resources are perfect for them. They also enjoyed the books too. 

As my children's curiosity grew, they wanted to know more about the Ancient Egypt figurines. So I found these FREE printable Ancient Egypt Vocabulary Cards from Memorizing the Moments blog. These cards also helped my son as he researched more about each figurine (using the cards to type their names into google and YouTube) and build his Ancient Egypt vocabulary and understanding.

A few years ago, my son was interested in space so we built a rocket ship out of cardboard and he wanted to do the same thing again except this time, he wanted to build a pyramid. He had drawn up plans a few months back now of how he wanted to build his pyramid but we didn't have enough cardboard boxes. So recently, we brought a new fridge and it came in a gigantic box....perfect to make a pyramid! It took some time to make but once it was completed, it was quickly filled with stuffed toys and will provide hours of endless play for weeks to come.

It has been so wonderful to see how my children's interest in ancient Egypt and the pyramids have progressed and deepened as their understanding and knowledge on this topic has grown. 

More learning resources and activity ideas about Ancient Egypt and the pyramids can be found on my History pinterest board.


  1. Wow--I read "Boy of the Pyramids" when I was in upper elementary school, too, and that was decades ago! It's great to see the book is still available and enjoyed. Like your son, it sparked an on-going interest in history in me. Great post and thanks for sharing all your links and ideas.

  2. Where did you find the little figures you have on the vocab cards?

    1. The figures are from Safari Ltd's Ancient Egypt toob.

  3. Hi, I plan on building a pyramid with my kindergarten students. What did you use to connect the pieces of cardboard?