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This is the second project we’ve done to go with the Story of the World Chapter 10 – The Far East: Ancient China. We made blue and white Ming Bowls out of clay, painted them with blue designs and then glazed with glue.

We’ve been using the soft Crayola Model Magic modeling material for projects involving clay as it’s so soft and easy to form for small hands. Satori formed her bowl over existing little bowls so we got a bowl shape.

We dried them for 24 hours.

To start the painting, Mama printed out some Ming Bowl examples from Google Images, got our blue paint ready, and our dry white bowls.

Satori decided to paint flowers on her bowl. Mama tried painting a dragon, bird, flowers and other designs. After the blue paint dried, we then glazed it over with a formula of 2 parts glue to 1 part water.

Our finished bowls! We did have rice for lunch, now I wish we would have served it up  in our new Ming bowls, perfect size for rice. 🙂

After googling “sotw ming bowl”, I found this website who approached the Ming Bowl project in a different way. Check out Shady Bayou Academy if you want more fancy, longer-lasting Ming plates!

We covered our Ancient China lesson months ago, but I really wanted to do projects for each Story of the World lesson, so this project is a bit late.

This is the pictogram for “house”, as described in our Story of the World text.

Satori built a complex pictogram that means “village”.  This page turned out to be more of a painting of a village rather than a word symbol. 🙂

Here is Satori’s pictogram for “mountains”.


Be sure to check out this neat Chinese Pictogram worksheet for more fun!

After reading books and watching videos on Ancient India for a few weeks, we set out to build the ancient city of Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley (in modern-day Pakistan and northwestern India). This mysterious city was built in 2600 BCE, abandoned around 1500 BCE, and finally rediscovered in 1922. It may have been the most advanced city in the world at the time, as it featured an extremely well-planned layout according to a grid pattern plan. At least 35,000 residents lived in the city.  It had a Great Granary to receive crops from the countryside, a Great Bath, a large central marketplace. The buildings were made of baked bricks and sometimes wood bricks. Most houses had bathrooms and the streets had an advanced and extensive drainage system.

So we set aside an hour this afternoon to build our own Mohenjo-Daro city. I chose this clay – Activ-Clay Air Dry 3.3 lbs tub which I think I found at Jo-Anns. It was already colored terra cotta, so we were able to skip the painting part at the end.

Once we smoothed out a slab 1/2″ thick, this kitchen cutter/chopper tool came in extremely handy to make perfect bricks. Satori is now cutting out slabs that are again 1/2″ thick.

Using our ruler, we then cut these into 1 inch bricks.


We laid them out in the Colorado sun to dry. Even though we got two feet of snow yesterday, today it is sunny, and that’s all that is needed for all that snow to melt very quickly. I shoveled a patch on our deck right when we started and it is already totally dry.

I found out later when Googling that they built their buildings out of baked bricks, which lasted longer than the Mesopotamian bricks which were only sun-dried. Our bricks will be only sun-dried, Colorado-style. 🙂

I think we let them dry maybe 30 minutes before they were hard enough to start playing with, yet squishy enough to press together if we wanted. Satori couldn’t wait to make her brick buildings.

A closeup of our bricks. Maybe not as perfect as Legos, but they sure are more authentic!

We even included the drainage system the city enjoyed.

We were supposed to glue the bricks together, but we decided to not to at this time, as Satori wanted to play with the bricks and make other things.

It is still a mystery why this city was abandoned. It could be due to a shift in the Indus River, or a decline in rainfall, or invaders. We cannot read their writings, so it is still a mystery.

Story of the World Chapter 6 covered “The Jewish People”. The whole family watched DVDs from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph, Satori enjoying Joseph: King of Dreams the most.

For the related SOTW activity, I had Satori lie down and I traced around her on a large sheet of paper.

Since it was so big, Mama pitched in and helped color in the boring parts like the pants.

And the finished Satori in her Coat of Many Colors!

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.

We actually did this experiment twice, as the results were not what we expected…

After one week, here are the two apple slices. The first one is the “mummified’ apple. The second is one we just left out. The second one looks truer to color! The mummified apple has retained its shape, but the peel has turned black, and the insides discolored. I thought maybe it was because I soaked it in salt water before hand.

So we tried again! We did the same thing, without the salt water soak. Here is our apple slice weighing in at 7/8 oz.

And here’s that same apple almost a week later, weighing in at 1/4 oz. It has lost 5/8 oz due to the dehyrdation of the salt/baking soda mix.

But it still looks black. I think we should have given it a month to see moredecay on the untouched apple slice.