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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Archaeology Adventure

Over the past few years my oldest has developed a passion for history, so it was no surprise when she asked for her 7th birthday party to have an Archaeology theme. Ancient Egyptian Archaeology to be precise.

We started by making pyramid shaped invitations out of sandpaper inviting everyone to the "dig site."

The party began with all of the kids creating their own tee-shirts using egyptian iron-ons (that I found in our library's 25 cent bin!) and Crayola's fabric crayons. I had never tried these before, but they are great. All you do is hand the kids any paper at all, have them color on it, and then ask an adult to iron it onto their shirt - simple, easy craft project. I love that if they "mess-up" I haven't wasted a tee-shirt, just a piece of paper. Check out these results! A little light, but too cute!

They ate an Egyptian meal of "make-your own-kushari" (lentels & rice w/ lots of various toppings) humus, pita & grape juice - well, it may not have all been exactly Egyptian, but it certainly wasn't American. Did you know that there really isn't a whole lot of Egyptian cuisine? The country has been conquered so many times that their own heritage has been morphed and melded with that of the entire region. It is hard to find anything distinctly Egyptian. And . . . yes . . . the kids really did ALL eat this food, but the birthday girl learned that "humus isn't my favorite." I love that they all tried it anyway.

At the end of our meal a message (written in white crayon on aged copy paper) arrived for the birthday girl, along with "decoding solution" (water paints). It took a few tries, but eventually they discovered how to read the letter.

It read:
"Your help is needed!
A 3000 year old tomb has been discovered near the temple of Amun in Egypt. You and your team of archaeologists are working to determine how ancient Egyptians would celebrate events and holidays. What wonders might be discovered in this tomb? Put on your digging clothes and lets travel to a land of mysteries just waiting to be explored!"
The happy birthday girl and all her archaeologist friends quickly lined up in front of the "decorations" she spent hours searching for and cutting out for her party - I had no idea that we had so many egyptian photos in our home. Gotta' love smithsonian magazine :o)The kids were equipped with an assortment of hammers, trowels, shovel, picks, brushes & magnifying glasses for their adventure. This is what they found:
Pieces of "egyptian pottery"
Gold (chocolate) coins
Treasure rocks with jewelry hidden inside

The treasure rocks had to be smashed apart with a pick or hammer. This got lots of laughs and squeals. Here is how I made them:

1c flour

1c used coffee grounds

1/2c salt

1/4c sand

3/4c water

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the water until it forms a dough. Tuck toys into the dough and shape. You can either bake them 150 degrees until hard, or allow them to air dry.

After recording all of their archaeological discoveries on their log sheets they worked together to re-assemble the pottery pieces that they found.

They followed the clue which directed them to look under all of our chairs.
I love that photo :o) Grandpa was resting when the kids figured out their clue, and was completely baffled when they evicted him from his comfy chair.

Zipped within a pocket under one of the chairs (I have no idea why that pocket exists btw) they found a clue directing them to look:

Hidden in the risers of our basement steps they discovered a bag filled with tambourines and a cd, but before they could play with them, they had to decode their names in hiroglyphics. This step was actually harder for them than I thought it would be. Go figure.

So, after finding their own name, we read through the original mission again and they discovered that the answer to the question "How did ancient egyptians celebrate?" was MUSIC. We put in the CD (I probably should have handed out advil for all of the adults) and the kids (and goofy dads) marched, danced and twirled around the house banging their tambourines in celebration.

My silly 7 year old had so much fun that she has already requested another dig for her 8th birthday. We'll see how long it takes me to get the sand out of my garage - if it is still there in January, she may just get her wish.


Viktoria said...

SO MUCH FUN! I'll need your sisterly tips when our little one had birthday parties! Great job on the blog, I love checking in on it!

Kim @ Frost Me! said...

Looks like so much work, but I bet the kids had so much fun! I love all the detail you put into it! ...I always wanted to be an archeologist growing up, weird I know... I turned out to be a Project Manager and party time party planner lol

Kim @ http://frostmeblog.blogspot.com
party inspiration

kris said...

i love this so much, my husband is an ancient egyptian historian, and my almost-four-year-old is fascinated with what he does when he goes to egypt every year for a month, lol! what a great, great party idea!

Sheryl said...

Kris - Thanks for the kind words. My daughter would be climbing the walls and begging to travel with daddy if he was able to travel to Egypt every year. :o)

Brid said...

This is just fabulous!! All the work that's gone into the party and it looks so exciting! Really original idea. And this is coming from an archaeologist :)
Makes me want to organize an archaeology-themed party for my little girl, lol!