Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets!

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Who wouldn’t WANT to make their own hieroglyphic tablets out of sand dough?

Ancient Egypt has been rocking our household all summer long, and making sand dough hieroglyphs is full of gritty fun! Hieroglyphs are fascinating for kids, and I think this project would be terrific whether or not kids are studying ancient Egypt. Even for very young kids, I feel that this project is really beneficial because it is fun, and kids seem to have a natural fascination with Egyptian symbols. Basically, a simple sand dough is mixed up and pressed out into 1/2″ “tablets”, symbols are pressed into it, the dough dries and can then be sprayed with clear acrylic, or coated with Mod Podge. Kids can do as much of the measuring and mixing as they like with this project!

* This is one of those instances where I feel that just being exposed to the idea of ancient cultures, picture languages and sticky, gritty dough to play with is enough to stimulate even very young children. It is NOT important if they learn all the specifics of the history and social-science of Egypt! Just brushing up against these ideas and letting whatever crumbs (quite literally!) fall where they may is a wonderful thing.

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You’ll need: Two bowls, mixing spoon, 2 1/2 – 3 cups sand, 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons white glue, measuring cups, rolling-pin, a dash of dark red, or sand-colored acrylic or tempera paint (optional) and clear acrylic spray or Mod Podge, parchment paper, baking sheet, clay tools or spoon, chopstick, toothpick etc. It is helpful to have a book about hieroglyphs to look at and hieroglyphic stencils. *I recommend the book Hieroglyphs by Joyce Milton, illustrated by Charles Micucci. It is simple and vibrant and includes a plastic stencil sheet too! It sells for $6.29 on Amazon. I found the recipe for the sand dough at a wonderful children’s art and craft site called firstpalette.com.

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Step 1: Measure 2 cups flour into large bowl stir in 3/4 cup of water and mix into a soft and sticky dough. Add 2 cups sand and mush it all together. Add glue and a small squirt of dark red paint (optional) and mix together. Dump out onto countertop and 1 cup of sand (as needed) to make a thick dough. Using rolling-pin, roll out dough onto lightly sandy counter until about 1/2″ thick.

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Step 2: Using stencil, clay tools, toothpicks etc. Press symbols deeply into the dough.

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We had a lot of dough and Captain used the last “tablet” to make a hand print for Grandma!

Step 3: Place tablets onto baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Be very careful when transferring them to the sheet so that they don’t crack. If you live in a low humidity area, you can let them dry out slowly over a few days, turning once in a while. Or, put them in a low oven for about 5-10 minutes to help start the drying process.

Keep an eye on your hieroglyphs. We had a little trouble with the drying of Captain’s hieroglyphs and two of them cracked. Captain’s reaction was terrific. She exclaimed “They look more real now!” 🙂 I love the spirit in her!

This project is very fun and we ended up talking a lot about The Rosetta Stone and Ancient Egypt. I hope you try these too, they are fun!

Here’s to getting messy and vacuuming up sand…

Cheers! Karen

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Categories: History Rocks For Kids!, Homeschooling Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets!

  1. I continue to enjoy your blog, not only for the ideas you generate, but for your sense of fun and playfulness in educating your children. When the experience is full of joy, the learning becomes part of the process, not just a matter of facts uploaded to the brain or written on a work sheet.

    • Oh thank you so much for that! It means so much to me to make things fun for Captain and to follow her lead as much as we can in her (and my!) learning adventure. When kids are engaged, and not just grinding out sheets (although there has to be those too in life sometimes) it really sticks for them. We just went to see two real mummies in Albany, NY, while visiting grandparents, and she knew so many things in the Egyptian exhibit, and it warms my heart to know that those things really sank in. Thanks again for writing and I wish you a wonderful evening!
      Karen

  2. Love your blog & this idea! My son would love to do this project! Totally inspirational. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  3. Very cool. I wish I had known about this when I was homeschooling. We mummified a G.I. Joe once. That was pretty cool!

    • Laura, a mummified G.I. Joe is an excellent idea! I saw online that someone had done a barbie 🙂 One of our upcoming projects is to mummify something… I’ll see if she wants to to try a Joe 🙂 Thanks so much for writing in!

      • It was pretty cool. We took pictures of every step in the process and made our own canopic (sp?) jars. We mounted the photos on a tri-fold board and entered the whole thing in a big homeschoool fair. My son won 1st place! Our G.I. Joes have come in handy over the years. Our Christmas creche has Baby Jesus, Mother Mary, and Saint G.I. Joseph – when the real Joseph went missing.

      • How cool! I look forward to homeschool fairs that will be coming too. I had to laugh about Saint G.I. Joe :). Keep up the fun work!

  4. Darcel

    Hi Karen! Love the new photo you’re sharing on the side, so beautiful! I’m glad to be back into the blogging world, summer is such a busy time. Thanks for this post, I think this is something my kids would enjoy doing. I shared it on Twitter and Pinterest.

    • Hi Darcel,
      Thanks SO much for your kind words and for sharing my post, I really appreciate it! I have had a little trouble keeping up this summer too, but keep reminding myself to enjoy what I do manage to get done :). I love your new photo too- you look beautiful!

  5. That sounds like a fun idea, I think I’ll try it! 🙂 :_ 🙂

    • Hey there Pet Kid! I hope you’ve been having a fabulous summer. I think you would make a wonderful project with this one and will keep an eye out on your blog in case you post it. Take good care! Karen 🙂

  6. Pingback: Gossip Moms » The Hottest Homeschooling Blogs

  7. rhombizoid

    My kids had a lot of fun making these. Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

  8. Pingback: Kartwheels – Create Your Own Egyptian Hieroglyphic Tablets! |

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