worked with leather, embellished shells, and woven on a loom in Prehistory.
And now it's time to travel to Ancient Egypt!
Our spine for this study is The Complete Book of Fashion History, which is already well-thumbed by everyone in the family. For this unit, Syd and I re-read the pages for Ancient Egypt, and while there are loads of cross-curricular activities that you could do here--you could use the Story of the World chapters and activity book resources for Ancient Egypt, read biographies of Cleopatra and Nefertiti, study mummification, make a pharoah's costume or models of their elaborate jewelry--we've actually spent a LOT of time on Ancient Egypt over the years, so I zoomed in on the one thing that we haven't played around with yet: their eye makeup.
Eye makeup was a big deal for the Ancient Egyptians, and not just for cosmetic reasons. Just like football players do now, putting on dark eyeliner reduced glare on the eyes of the Ancient Egyptians in the bright sunlight, and the fact that the eye makeup contained lead, while it was terrible for their long-term health, did protect them from loads of eye diseases and infections.
Why would Ancient Egyptians get so many eye infections, you ask? It's because of all that freaking sand! It got everywhere, including in their eyes and into all of their food. Ancient Egyptians also had terrible teeth, because they ate so much sand that got into their meals that it wore down the enamel on their teeth.
Syd and I watched this video that shows images of Ancient Egyptian artwork, focusing on their eyes to provide the evidence that yes, indeed, dark eye makeup was a thing (at least on the artwork!)--
--and then we watched this video of a makeup artist recreating the look on her own eyes:
And then Syd tried it for herself!
Here are some other ways that we've studied Ancient Egypt over the years:
- We took a class at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
- The kids made sugar cube pyramids.
- We made giant (and small) cookie maps of Egypt.
- The kids made and painted salt dough maps of Ancient Egypt.
- We made and labelled poster-size maps of Egypt.
- The kids each made a model sarcophagus.
- We visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.
Apparently, we like mapmaking!