Little Passports: Egypt

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Once again Little Passports saved the day here during Covid-19 home school. At a moment when Travis balked against assigned lessons this week, the latest package from “Sam and Sofia” proved far more interesting.

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As always, he started off by putting the latest country coin in with his collection, and we added Egypt’s flag to his passport.

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The booklet this month was fantastic for a kindergartner; I was so proud of (and amazed at!) his speed with a hieroglyph decoding activity. There was also a spot-the-difference page about camels, a geographic word scramble, and neat information on ancient headdresses. I would rate this booklet much more approachable for a five-year-old than the one from France.

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Souvenir:

This month’s gift was an Excavation Kit and Travis needed to start digging the moment he saw it.

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We chipped and chiseled and cleared the dust until he’d uncovered a little mummy figure. Travis was ecstatic and played with it all afternoon.

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Further Activities:

After checking out extras online like photos, Arabic phrases, and silly jokes, we started in on a few additional activities. First up was making “papyrus paper”, much as the Egyptians used to overlap stalks of papyrus plant. This one was a little messy so lay down one or two sheets of wax paper to cover your surface. In a cup, mix together equal parts white glue and water (about 1/4 cup each) and stir with a craft stick.

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Cut a brown paper shopping bag into strips that are about 8 inches long. Begin laying these down on the wax paper, brushing over each with the glue. (Alternatively, you can dip each strip in the glue mixture and then smooth it down, but this sounded too messy to Travis). Let dry completely.

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It will lift off the wax paper once dry, and does indeed have a neat feel and texture. Travis practiced writing his hieroglyphs!

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Next up, we mummified an apple! This will definitely appeal to kids interested in the mummy aspect of Egyptian history. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups baking soda and 3/4 cup salt into a large zip-top bag. Peel an apple and carve into a desired mummy face. We tried to make the lines of King Tut’s headpiece along the sides, although admittedly with limited art skills.

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Insert a Popsicle stick into the apple and submerge in the baking soda mixture. Now let it stand for one week – or even two! I’ll update this post once our mummification is complete.

There were a few other suggestions online, although Travis was only mildly interested in a scarab beetle coloring page and coloring in the Egyptian flag.

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I did, however, purchase the optional add-on of Egyptian mini-figures and these were a huge hit! The tube included fun toys of King Tut, Nefertiti, the Sphinx, and more.

Recipe:

We finished the voyage with a recipe for the popular Egyptian flatbread called aish baladi, similar to pita bread. The recipe was too complicated for Travis; he helped with the initial few steps, but then I was left to finish the project. Tastewise, it was a huge hit! Travis enjoyed it plain, but you can dip it in hummus, too, or stuff it with a filling. King Tut watched us bake, of course:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 and 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  1. Combine the yeast and warm water in a large bowl, whisking until the yeast is dissolved. Add 1 cup flour to the mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes or so.
  2. Uncover the dough and mix in the salt, oil, and remaining flour. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough, then place in a bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 portions, and roll each into about a 5-inch circle. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with some of the wheat germ. Repeat with the remaining dough portions. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes, while the oven preheats.Aish Baladi (3)
  4. Bake at 500 degrees F for 7 minutes.

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Update: The apple mummy came out so neat! One week later it had shriveled and shrunk, but felt smooth and soft like a dried apple. There was no rotten smell or aspect to it, which was quite cool.

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What a neat way to see a “mummy”!

Living Room Maze

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This activity is a great way to entertain a toddler on a rainy morning, not to mention it makes use of leftover boxes! You’ll need large enough boxes that your child can crawl upright through them.

In the past, we’ve decorated boxes to be more like a house or even a castle. The purpose this time wasn’t so artistic, but more about letting Veronika explore spatially. I attached two boxes together to make a big tunnel, and cut two windows so she could poke her head out.

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There was also a third box branching off to the side to make it a “maze”.

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Well of course she was eager to explore! The windows were great fun for peekaboo.

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She crawled back and forth, and in and out, and through and around. I used all of these spatial words as she played.

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She also delighted in bringing toys inside with her.

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Eventually big brother wanted in on the action, and he was just the right height for popping through the sun roof!

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I loved watching the kids turn it into a cozy nook for reading. In sum, this kept us busy all morning!

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