Bible Alive: Nehemiah

The kids and I read about Nehemiah last year as part of our history, then we acted it out with Legos.  This time around was a much bigger hit for everyone.  They haven’t stopped asking to play it again.003

This time I had the kids build the wall with the “mass ‘o’ boxes” we have stashed away for some reason.  The parents job was to try and knock the wall down while they were building.  I encouraged the kids to defend their walls with pillows like the Israelites built with spears in their hands.  They quickly figured out it works better if everyone has a pillow and is building because then they could keep us away.


The only thing is defending yourself from a pillow fight means you don’t have much ability to take good pictures.  It’s more hold your camera out and then duck as they try to kill you with a pillow.

How to make a mummy doll

Because it’s scary, or I could claim it’s to study mummies from the Egyptians……..  But, we made the chicken mummy………  So, I guess this is just for fun.


Supplies: medical tape, fabric cut into strips (for a small doll I cut 1 inch wide strips, and for the bigger doll I made 2 inch strips), stuffed toy




  We found it was easiest to first tape the strip of cloth to the doll and then start winding around and around, and tape it at the end.  It took several strips per doll, but Batman found this to be a delightful way to spend an afternoon.






This is of course aided by a cute puppy hiding in the ball game.


Finally draw a face on your mummy with marker, because it needs one…….Maybe it’s the funeral mask.



Eventually Superman wandered up from his sick bed (he’d been sick that day) and joined in.  And we got treated to a skeleton giraffe, and with plans of a skeleton snake.


I suppose if you want a book to go with this you could read “Skeleton Meets Mummy” for the scary factor or for the educational factor “Miss Frizzle’s Adventures in Ancient Egypt.”


I present “SCARY!  Batman doll mummy!”

Mayborne Egypt Exhibit

One of our “local” (and by local I mean an hour and a half away in Waco) museums had an Egyptian exhibit here recently complete with a real mummy.  Considering we made one last year, and the kids definitely remember it, we had to go see this exhibit.


We first explored a few other areas, for instance the communication room.  It had tons and tons of old typewriters and examples of different styles of communication, hieroglyphics, hobo code, and a few others.


What amused me most is for my kids, and most kids nowadays typewriters and switchboards are just an oddity from the past.  They don’t have any frame of reference for them.  I grew up with a typewriter in my home and used one every now and then for things.  Switchboards were “before my time” really in the sense like this one, but I always saw them in movies, and have some idea of what they are.  But my kids are growing up without a home phone, and so a landline is a weird thought to them.


Finally after a very long camel journey we reached the Egypt exhibit.  There was quite a line for the camel ride, so they had to be patient……..


We examined an example of an archeological dig, and had a chance to guess what was happening at the dig site.  This is going to lead to an activity my kids will be doing in an hour or so.  But, I loved the idea of trying to figure out what was going on based on the artifacts found there.


Sadly we weren’t allowed to take any pictures back with the really interesting artifacts, but it was fascinating, and if the kids had had the patience I would have spent much longer there reading about how they studied the mummy and their theories about her.


From ancient history we moved to pioneer times and American expansionism.  Okay, pretty much just life on a farm.  But the kids had fun enacting what it’d be like to live on a farm back then.  I especially love this picture of our friend acting like Rapunzel with her frying pan.


I’m gonna link this over to All Things Beautiful and her wonderful history/geography linky.

Great Wall of China


Little known fact: It’s made of play dough.
NO really.

And, it’s guarded by little play dough men.

Or, we learned about China, and how they built the Great Wall to keep out the invading hordes, and how better to get it through their thick little skulls (they need to be thick to protect them from their head wounds, I could almost make that a whole category, did you know I almost went to the ER again a few days ago).
And then we learned about the Terra Cotta army, and all of the great detail put into it.  Right now, at 12:42 am I’m not remembering the name of the crazy emperor who decided to build that (though that is an improvement on burying your servants with you), so you’ll just have to wonder.

I think I might go to bed.  See, I have one kid at home right now, and she’s a night owl too (staying up until 10:30 or so), and so I’m staying up way later than I usually would……..

Ha ha ha ha ha, clearing out the drafts page and saw this one in there.  I don’t even know why I almost went to the ER at the end of April.  Shows how common or often it’s been.

History: Archimedes


Now tell me the truth, who as soon as I said that thought of the little owl from Sword in the Stone?


Or was that just me?



For history last week one of our lessons was Archimedes and his many discoveries and how smart he was in matters of science.  Not so much, according to story, in his real life.  He may have been the founder of the absent-minded professor archetype.


But, back to my point.  Archimedes discovered the concept of mass and density, one day while in his bath tub.  Now, I suppose I could have done this lesson with a bath tub, but that would get into modesty issues and all that, so instead we used some metal toys.


We dropped them in and discovered, shocker of all shockers the water level did rise just like it did for Archimedes.  Now the water level also fell at an astonishing rate because of the imperfect seal of our sink.  I should have done this in a pot or something.


I also should have chosen things more dramatic than Batman, Martian Manhunter, and a matchbox car.  They were all metal and seemed hefty enough.



And, in case you were wondering, the little army men are still wildly popular.  That is now the preferred way of listening to history while enacting their Civil War battles with the cannons over and over and over again.  But, Lego history is still a favorite in our house.




I have requests for more guys.  They don’t realize how long it takes to cut out all of those little guys.  Really it takes FOREVER……., But they make great reenactments.  Seriously.



Ordinarily I’d tell you to head over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn, but this week her internet is down, so the linky isn’t up.  But, you can still head over to her site to see fun ideas from the past.

History: The second Persian invasion



I mentioned briefly last week that I found a cool new site thanks to All Things Beautiful, well this week we really got to make use of it.


And I also mentioned Jeff thought I was spending too much time there.  He mumbled something about way too much time looking at the different army figures.


008And then I spent way too much time cutting out a lot of figures.  Seriously, they’re way too cool!  WAY TOO COOL!


We set up the armies.  Xerxes decided to avenge his father’s failure and head over to conquer those uppity Greeks, but he wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake.


009Oh no, he was going to make all new mistakes.  Mainly long supply lines, think the Napoleon when he fought the Russians in 1812, which Natalie so nicely pointed out was the REAL big battle going on at the time in the world.


And, so he ran off to conquer the Greeks, and it was going well for him, mostly.


Like most would-be conquerors he forgot that a man fighting for his home fights much harder than a man fighting for treasure and glory.


That, and it’s very easy to defend a small pass against a large army and cause the large army huge amounts of casualties.


Of course the coolest part for me was when Jeff came home that night and the boys excitedly showed Jeff the battle, and how it went.  Mind, every battle has to have a good guy and a bad guy, so that can get complicated.


Who would you say is the bad guy in this battle?  My boys definitely picked sides.

history: Battle of Marathon



Did you know that the term marathon actually comes from an ancient battle?


Okay, so I did, but that’s partially because I watched “The First Olympics,” and partially because I’m a history nerd, and know these mostly useless facts.


The Battle of Marathon was one of those battles that you go into it expecting to lose.  After all, the Persians under Darius 1 had a lot more men, and were more battle hardened, but the Athenians had an advantage.


You know that home court advantage, where they really don’t want to lose their home.


So, they won.


Yep, they beat the army that was more than double their size, but the battle took place 26 miles from Athens, and they were afraid the Persian army would just sail off to Athens and say, “We won, give us all your money,” and the Athenians wouldn’t know otherwise.


You’re listening to all of this and going, “Okay, Ticia what does this have to do with anything?”  I’m getting there.


So, the commander sent one of his messengers, who had already run over to Sparta and back that day, but it was his best messenger.  And sent him to run back to Athens and beat the ships.


He did, and delivered his message, and collapsed dead after delivering it.  Thus setting a precedent for all movies with a messenger to die dramatically after delivering his crucial message.


Oh, wait was that rather sarcastic?  Oops.


So, to truly understand how that man felt I had the kids run a mini-marathon.  Okay, it was to the mailbox and back.  But still, I didn’t let them stop until they started crying.


I know, I’m a mean Mom.  I made my daughter cry.


But, they did understand how hard the run was.


And then, after I read this I thought, “I think over at All Things Beautiful she has some great Ancient Greece lessons, I’m going to see what she did.”  So, I headed over there and she did have a great activity for this lesson, and I’m so going to use her suggestions for some future lessons.  Actually I already did, I used it today on the day I’m writing this, which will be yesterday from when you’re writing it.


Sooooo…….  Jeff has said I really shouldn’t spend more time drooling over the site I discovered from her lesson, I think he’s tired of hearing about all the cool soldier miniatures I found.

History: Darius 1


Last week over at Mama Smiles there was a post about using painter’s tape to make roads, and I thought that sounds like fun, and I need to remember to do that.


Then, we read our history for the day and Darius 1 was known for fixing the roads in the Babylonian Kingdom and putting in a lot of infrastructure.


AH HA!  Perfect, so now we got to build our painter’s tape roads.



And our roads traveled all over.  It went up a hill.  A very steep hill.





And then the elephants started walking down it.  No wonder he had to do so much maintenance for his roads.  Elephants go down them.


Of course that was the only thing remotely in the correct time period that went down that road.






In the boys’ history of the world the Star Wars empire came in and contributed their tech.  I don’t know which side they came in on, because these were relatively peaceful soldiers.  They built roads, and drove up and down them.


Then they disappeared upstairs and fought EPIC battles to free the galaxy of unwanted scourge.

Aesop’s Fables

This fits into so many linkies.  It’s a great art tool.  It’s a fun way to bring in history (which is how we originally used it), great object lessons you name it.  I love Aesop’s Fables and Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories.


And, an extension I just thought of as I’m typing, you could totally tie this in to Jesus’ parables with the older kids.  There is a reason so many stories are told in this way because it’s an easy way to get a lesson and rather disarming.



Knowing I wanted to do some fun stuff with it, but I didn’t want to draw it all out which is my bad default habit, so I searched on Google and found the DLTK Kids site for Aesop’s Fables.




I printed off three that fit favorite animals or ones I thought they would most enjoy: The Bat, The Birds, and The Beasts; The Lion and the Mouse; and The Tortoise and the Hare.


For the kids I printed off the black and white moral of the story.  For me I printed off the stories and copied them into a word document to make a super simple pop-up story for their history books.


In case you can’t tell how it’s made you cut around most of the picture, but leave a little bit on both sides still attached.  Then you fold that in the opposite way the card will open.


Underneath to give it a bit more stability I put a second piece of scrap paper to help it hold up better.  The kids had so much fun with these stories.


I’m going to link this over at:

abc buttonPhotobucket Shibley Smiles

Seriously, I love my blog button table, I just copied and pasted in order they happen.

Bible Alive Tuesday: Ezekiel, and something cool we did in Sunday School


Oh yeah, because we do cool stuff.  That we do.  And now I’ve got super silly rhymes in my head.


So, for our history we were reading about Ezekiel and they talked about how in his book Ezekiel described fantastical creatures that sounded a lot like monsters.  To keep them more or less focused while I finished reading their history to them I had the little monsters draw their own little monsters to represent Ezekiel’s vision.


And then they all hammed it up.


Those are the faces of very serious children.  Have you ever seen children take their work more seriously.


And then yesterday in the mail they got a very lovely package of monsters which they’ve been excitedly playing with Smile