Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics included over 2,000 different pictorial symbols to represent words, thoughts and ideas. Hieroglyphics are a fantastic way to connect history, culture, art and symbolism in one activity. Children will find reading and creating hieroglyphics entertaining and interesting.
Create cartouche necklaces with the children. A cartouche is a oval frame placed around the name of an Egyptian god or important person. Have the children make clay ovals on which to write their own name. Place a small hole at the top of the oval so that string can be run through to make a necklace. Provide the students with a copy of the Egyptian alphabet so they can write their name in the clay. The students can use a wooden stick to draw the symbols into the clay. Allow the clay to dry. Students can carefully paint the carved symbols so they are easier to see after drying.
Create a coded message made entirely of hieroglyphics. Provide the students with a hieroglyphic key so the decoding of the message is easier. To make the task more difficult, do not tell the students which letter is associated with each hieroglyph. Provide some givens in the message to be decoded so they children can start to determine which hieroglyphs correspond to which letter.
Create Your Own Hieroglyphics
Unlock creative potential in the children. Provide the children with a copy of the Egyptian alphabet. Tell them that they will be creating their own writing language using hieroglyphs. The students should select symbols important to them to represent each letter of their alphabet. For example, if the student enjoys baseball, the letter "B" may be represented by a baseball, or by a baseball bat. Have the students create a name cartouche or create a message using their new hieroglyphic languages.
Eye of Horus Fractions
The Horus was an important god to the Egyptians. The Eye of Horus, which is a human eye with falcon markings on the cheek, was displayed in the home to prevent evil. Each part of the eye represented a fraction. For example, the eyebrow represented 1/8 and the eyeball represented 1/4. Provide the students an Eye of Horus with the fractions listed on each part of the eye. Provide sample problems to the kids using parts of the eye. For example, eyebrow plus eyeball would equal 3/8.