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Learning About Egypt, For Kids

Regular readers will know that we just spent almost a month in Egypt. Why? For fun, obviously and to please our kids who are fascinated by learning about Egypt. Suggested topics and interesting facts for kids to learn about Ancient Egypt include Ancient Egypt, the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid (allegedly the last of the 7 Wonders of the World). These sites hold a unique fascination for children and my boys are particularly interested because of their own reading. We are homeschoolers, unschoolers or world schoolers depending on our mood, so after a month of free learning, we often come home and try to consolidate what we’ve learnt.

This time something different. I’ve let the kids write most of this post. They picked their favourite things about modern and ancient Egypt to share with you and your kids. Learning resources, books and movies are also included.

canopic jars
These are my canopic jars, I bought them in Egypt, they have the four heads described below. I love them and bought them myself at Giza.

D is 12, Boo is 10, they worked on this post together using what they learned in Egypt, what most impressed them, what they’ve picked up from reading and Google to fill in some hard facts.  Mum then helped fix up some of the grammar and we found our favourite photos and YouTube videos to help tell the story.

Learning About Egypt

This post isn’t so much about travel in Egypt with kids as about what kids can learn about ancient Egypt and modern Egypt. We have facts, useful videos and best movies and books for your kids to explore Egypt. Maybe your kids would like to read this post and you can watch the videos together? They selected the topics they found most interesting and that they thought your kids should learn about. The sections below are in no particular order, use our menu drop down to find what interests you.

I hope you find it our thoughts and ideas on homeschooling Egypt useful Maybe you could incorporate our experiences into your own home education plan or unit study. This is how we learn on the road. Is it better than school? You tell me what you think in the comments, I know what I think. Over to the boys.

Canopic Jars

King Tut's canopic jars cairo museum
King Tut’s canopic jars in the Cairo Museum do not have the typical 4 character heads, they have King Tut’s face instead. They still contain his organs, now turned to dust.

Canopic jars were used to contain the lungs, intestines, stomach and liver of mummified people and animals. The lids of the canopic jars were commonly minor deities known as the four sons of Horus their names were

  • Imsety, human, the liver.
  • Hapi, baboon, the lungs.
  • Qebehsenuef, falcon, intestines.
  • Duamutef, jackal, the stomach.

The brain was thought to be the source of mucus, so was liquified, drained and discarded. The heart was  considered the home of the soul and was left inside the mummy.

Shabti, Burials and the Afterlife

Pharaohs were often buried with clay statues called shabti, these represented servants to serve the Pharaohs in the afterlife. The pharaohs were also buried with treasures such as gold, canopic jars, gemstones, food, jewelry and furniture all of which were for use after death. Unfortunately,almost all of the tombs were looted by grave robbers. The only tomb found untouched was the tomb of King Tutankhamen.

The video below introduces the ancient Egyptian rituals of burial and the journey to the afterlife, from the Egyptian Book of The Dead.

The Nile and the Aswan Dams.

High Aswan Dam Egypt
Standing on The High Aswan Dam looking north along the Nile, Lake Nasser is the other side, behind us.
High Aswan Dam Cross Section
My dad looking at a diagram of a cross section of the High Aswan Dam.

The Nile is vital to life in Egypt. The world’s longest river supplies Egypt with water. Before the High Aswan Dam was built it brought rich and fertile new soil when the Nile flooded. Now all of the silt is trapped in Lake Nasser. The flooding of the river was vital in the creation of the pyramids on the west bank of the Nile because the stone was quarried on the east bank and transported via boat . This was only possible when The Nile was in full flood, it used to flood right up to the pyramids.

The Nile originates in Burundi and flows through Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Sudan before reaching Egypt. It eventually enters the Mediterranean Sea after fanning out to become a delta in Northern Egypt.

The video below is about The River Nile, ancient and modern history and geography. It let’s kids see what the Nile is really like, from home.

 There are two dams on the Nile at Aswan. The low dam is smaller and older. The High Aswan Dam was built between 1960 and 1970 to generate hydroelectric power and to allow irrigation of crops year-round and in times of drought.

The dam was built under President Nasser, he called it a pyramid for the living and the lake it created, Lake Nasser, is the biggest man-made lake in the world. The formation of the lake meant that many ancient Egyptian temples had to be moved, including Abu Simbel. The lake stretches to Sudan.

King Tutankhamun

King Tutankhamun’s tomb was found by Howard Carter in 1922. It was discovered in the Valley of the Kings which is on the west side of the River Nile at Luxor.

Luxor was called Thebes in ancient times and was the 2nd capital of Egypt after Memphis.

King Tutankhamun was a boy king, he married his sister at ten years old and died only 9 years later. King Tut’s treasure is in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, his mummy is in a glass case in his tomb at the Valley of the Kings. I found that King Tut’s mummified body scared me a little. The gold was beautiful.

The video is about how the tomb was discovered and the legend of the curse of King Tut. This one is quite long, but it’s really interesting.

We hope you liked this movie, we think it’s the best one.

Amun Ra & Akhenaten

 Akhenaten was an Egyptian Pharaoh who originally went by the name Imhotep IV, like his father, Imhotep III. He changed his name to Akhenaten  when he founded the religious cult of Aten, the sun disc. Akhenaten’s religion was probably the first to worship one deity ( monotheism) rather than many (polytheism).

Akhenaten was married to Nefertiti. Nefertiti means ” the beauty has come” and she was considered very beautiful. There is only one image of her in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo ( below).

Queen Nefertiti at the Egyptian Museum
Nefertiti, chief wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshiped one god only, Aten, the sun disc
Akhenaten or Imhotep statue Egyptian Museum
Akhenaten at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Akhenaten was really spooky looking. Nefertiti and Akhenaten ruled around 1300 BC, three and a half thousand years ago. Akhenaten’s tomb is thought to be in the Valley of the Kings.

Akhenaten was probably King Tutankhamun’s father (video on DNA analysis of King Tut here), but Nefertiti was not his mother although she was chief wife. Their religion was overthrown after Akhenaten died and Egypt returned to the old gods.

Hathor & Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple

Goddess Hathor at Hatshepsut's Temple
The Godess Hathor with her cow ears at Hatshepsut’s Temple, near the Valley of the Kings at Luxor.
Goddess Hathor at Hatshepsut's Temple
Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh, wearing the pharaonic beard at her mortuary temple.

Hathor the cow goddess was the goddess of fertility for women. We saw sculptures of Hathor at the mortuary temple of Hatshepsut and at Philae, the temple of Isis. Hatshepsut was a female pharaoh who wore the pharaonic fake beard to show her power. Hatshepsut came to the throne about 1500 years before Christ, 3500 years ago.

The Pyramids at Giza

The pyramid and sphinx before the crowds arrive
The 3 main pyramids at Giza, plus the smaller Queens’ pyramids. The Great Pyramid is on the right and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. There are lots more pyramids in Egypt.

The 3 main pyramids at Giza are approximately four and a half thousand years old and were built by the people below. The rock they used came from the other side of the Nile and was floated across before being stacked up by slaves using mud brick ramps.  They are not the oldest pyramids in Egypt, there are older ones further south, we saw those too and went inside.

  • Khufu or Chiops (the great pyramid) 2550BC
  • Kafre or Khefren ( the face on the sphinx and son of Chiops) 2520B
  • Menkaure or Menkerinos( the smallest) 2490BC
Pokemon go at the pyramids
Pokemon Go is great in Egypt, the pyramids are Pokestops and gyms. I caught an Arcanine.
Going inside the great pyramid
Going inside the Great Pyramid.

Cleopatra and The Ptolemies.

Here are some facts about Cleopatra and the Ptolomies. There is also a video about Cleopatra for you to watch.

  • Cleopatra was a really famous Egyptian ruler.
  • She was in charge of Egypt at the time of the Romans and even had a son with  Julius Caesar. He was called Caesarion.
  • After her reign, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire. Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian, it is thought her family, the Ptolemies were from Macedonia.
  • The Ptolemies ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great.
  • Cleopatra spoke Greek and thought she was a reincarnation of the goddess Isis.
  • After Caesar was assassinated she had children with Mark Anthony.
  • Cleopatra and Mark Anthony committed suicide around 30BC.

The Rosetta Stone

It’s really important to know about the Rosetta Stone because this was the key to translating hieroglyphs. You can see it at the British Museum in London. Without it we wouldn’t know nearly so much about ancient Egypt.

Read: Books on Egypt for Kids

Rick Riordan’s books on Ancient Egyptian mythology are fantastic and a great way to get kids hooked. The children started reading them around 9 years old and still re-read then at almost 13. This is his series covering ancient Egypt.

Watch: Movies About Egypt for Kids (suitable for kids)

These are all full movies, find them online, if your in doubt as to age appropriateness for your kids, give it a Google.

The Gods of Egypt

The prince of Egypt

The Ten Commandments

Anthony and Cleopatra

Exodus: Gods and Kings

The Scorpion King

The Mummy, both versions

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Websites

BBC History Egyptians

The British Museum Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Mummies

Back to our main travel in Egypt page.

Learning About Egypt for Kids


I think these kids are pretty well educated on all things Egypt. Whatever you want to call it, worldschooling, homeschooling or unschooling,

I hope you can see how well it works. In writing up this blog post the boys also created an English project, practiced their HTML coding, worked on graphic design, photography and art. Because of their interest in Egypt they pick up new facts all the time and of course they’ve experienced Egypt today, met the people, seen the cities, contrasted them with the countryside, eaten the food and ridden the trains and buses. They know what Egypt is and what it was. If you’d like to read more about Egypt for kids from our travel experiences, our other Egypt content is below.

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Mickelle

Monday 3rd of June 2019

Thank you so much for this post. We are headed to Egypt next week (family of 5 with mom, dad, grandma, boy age 10 and girl age 13). I've read almost every post you wrote on Egypt. The kids, grandma and I appreciate this education post and watched every video and more. None of the books/magazines are available digitally, but we will try to buy them another time. Again, this was very helpful and is an easy way for all of us to prepare for our trip.

ankomonkey

Wednesday 16th of May 2018

I really enjoyed this article as we will be taking our kids to Egypt next April.

Can I ask where in Giza you bought the canopic jars? Were they sold by people outside the pyramids or where they from a shop? I think my daughter would love something like that!

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Wednesday 16th of May 2018

A little shop 2 doors up from our guest house in Giza ( the one with the view) Nice older guy, no hard sell.

Jasmine Hewitt

Tuesday 23rd of May 2017

This was really informative! I love how in detail you went!

Alyson Long for World Travel Family

Wednesday 24th of May 2017

The kids, not me, t's just some basic facts, not really massive detail. Cheers.

Stephanie Lowry

Tuesday 23rd of May 2017

This was so interesting! I remember as a kid I became fascinated by Egyptian culture & history when they taught on the subject in school. I'm going to have my son read this, he loves history.

Szilvia

Monday 22nd of May 2017

I love this post!!! Thanks a lot! I'd love to read posts like this about other destinations too.

Cheers, Szilvia

nomadic family life

Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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