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Category: 5 – The First Sumerian Dictator

Chapter Five from Story of the World covered Sumer and King Sargon – the first Sumerian dictator. Some of the Sumerians inventions include the wheel, mathematics based on the number 60, kilns, the plow, and the first superhero, Gilgamesh.

Today we tackled the Sumerian Seal activity outlined in SOTW Activity Guide. This is to demonstrate the fact that in ancient times, most people couldn’t write. So they made their own special seals with their names on it, so they could stamp their “name” when needed.

We did this as a family activity. Here’s Satori rolling flat her piece of clay.

We all carved a pattern in our clay. Satori made a hawk, Dad made a cat, and Mom made a wolf.

Here they are laying out to dry. This is only the first part, but I’m not sure we’ll do the next part. We’re supposed to take wet clay, and press it into this dried seal to make an impression. Then make it into a pendant by making a hole in the top.

If we finish this project, I’ll of course post the results. But somehow, I have a feeling that our wet clay won’t make a very good impression into the above dry seals… I may however, want to redo this as a cool scarab as the project shown in another craft book.

It was Family Craft Night again at Satori’s house! Tonight we tackled several projects.

I have several Ancient Egypt craft books on  hand.

First up was a “Royal Cartouche” project from our Make History Ancient Egypt book. An oval cartouche around Egyptian hieroglyphs means that it is the name of an Egyptian king or god. To do this craft you’ll need: scissors, poster board, markers/colored pencils, white glue, colored craft sand, gold cord or piping, and Popsicle stick (or gold pen).

I cut a piece of poster board measuring 3″ x 6″, rounding off the corners. Then I marked off a 1/4″ border around the edge. Mom did those tasks ahead of time, so the family could just dig in and have fun. Next we drew in our hieroglyph symbols to spell out our name, coloring them in with bright permanent marker.

Afterwards, Mom and Dad very carefully painted in glue around the design, but within the border. We then sprinkled colored craft sand to cover the entire cartouche. Once dry, only Mom had the patience to glue a gold cord around the edge, and wrap a half Popsicle stick around the edge. For Dad and Satori’s cartouche, I used a liquid gold marker to outline it, which I think looks just as nice in person.

Poor Satori’s Royal Cartouche was in the middle, both Mom and Dad didn’t do a good job gluing and spilling sand on hers, the paint dried too quickly, and Dad got lazy and mixed up the orange and blue sand. Otherwise, hers would have looked better.

The picture in the craft book looks perfect, but I knew ours wouldn’t come close to perfection. It was so much fun anyway! If you do this craft carefully, it would look very nice. The sand sparkles in the light.

Next up we did the Scarab Activity in Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt. A scarab is a kind of beetle called a “dung beetle”, but despite that, the Egyptians believed it to be sacred. Lapis lazuli was one of their favorite colors, so we took some turquoise clay to begin our scarabs.

Using some clay modeling tools, we etched in our beetle’s head and body and designs.

For this particular clay, we were able to put it in the oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes and ended up with our cool little scarabs! This book suggested to poke a whole through them to wear as a necklace. The Make History book had a similar craft, but suggested making it into a neat little stamp to stamp your name.


We then took some gold clay to make the “Ankh Amulet” described in Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt. The anhk is the Egyptian symbol for life, and we are seeing this symbol everywhere now. The Egyptians would wear this as a protective amulet to keep them from harm. They often make the ankh from gold, but we made do with this yellow clay.

A bit more about our Ancient Egypt craft books… We are closely following the SOTW Activity Guide, and plan on doing the cool projects, skipping the not-so-cool ones. So far we’ve gotten some great ideas out of the book! Several history curriculums recommend Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors. We got our Sugarcube Pyramid activity out of this book, and I hope to do a few more projects next week, like the Overnight Fig Cakes recipe. The Spend the Day in Ancient Egypt is a great book, besides the crafts we did tonight, we got the Egyptian Pleated Gown idea from this book. They also have an awesome, realistic Papyrus activity, some cool Egyptian musical instruments, more recipes, and some Egyptian jewelry we’re looking forward to making if we have time. The Make History book is intimidating, much more involved than a family with a 5 year old can do, but I’m looking forward to the next time we study Egypt in 4 years or so. They feature real photographs of their finished crafts, and they look just amazing.