Fun Learning Activities

Many Carol Kerney Books contain Study Guides (she’s a teacher and she can’t help herself). Each Study Guide includes “Fun Activities” that are creative activities inspired by the novel’s plot. Here are some activities to make learning more fun. Please feel free to modify the activities to other learning topics. Watch for new activities as they are added.

Make Your Own Cave Paintings

Imagine for a moment what it was like for the ancient cave painters to paint on the rugged surface of stone walls deep inside dark caves. They had to find substances that occur in nature to make their paint. Sometimes they incorporated bumps in the stone into their art and engraved (scratched the stone with a sharp instrument) the animal’s outline. You probably don’t have a cave to paint! So let’s use paper and markers, color pencils, or crayons. Please look up pictures of the ancient cave art to use as a model. Outline the animals you want in your wall art and then color the animals. Have you noticed the colors used in the cave paintings? Use black, white, gray, red, yellow, orange, and brown in your art as the cave artists did in theirs. For fun, if you have a long strip of butcher paper, put your cave paintings up as a wall mural—or design several pieces of regular paper to tape together and display them as a mural.

Create Your Own Tomb Art

Imagine being an ancient Egyptian prince or princess. You are invited to design your own tomb art. What do you want to take with you into eternity? Using papers that you can tape together or a long strip of butcher paper, use a ruler or yardstick to draw several panels on the paper. Inside the panels design, draw, and then color your pictures. Be sure to look at a number of tomb walls to study the style and the colors that the ancient Egyptian artists commonly used. Try to imitate the style of art from the tomb walls, like heads being in profile but shoulders facing front. With permission, post your long strip of tomb art on the wall.

Learn to Write in Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Use books from the library or the Internet to find an alphabet in hieroglyphics. Write your name and put a cartouche (a round-cornered rectangle) around it. Write notes to your friends or a letter to your teacher in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, remembering, of course, that the Egyptians weren’t writing in English! Now try writing your hieroglyphics on a jar or bottle to pretend you’re writing on a broken clay pot, called an ostracon. The ancient Egyptians sometimes did that!

Create a Cylinder Seal

Sumerian cylinder seals were used as signatures and messages, to identify owners of trade goods, and to keep records. Cylinder seals were 3 or 4 inches tall in the shape of a cylinder. There are several ways for you to create your own cylinder seal. You can use pretty much anything that is in the shape of a cylinder and that you can carve into, perhaps unwrapped crayons, air-dry clay, modeling clay, or Play-Doh. So let’s start by you drawing images on paper that are symbols or simple pictures or words or designs that represent you or are simply designs that you like. Roll the clay or Play-Doh into a pretty thick 3- or 4-inch tall cylinder. Then you will carve your designs into your cylinder. You can carve with practically anything that is sharp-ish such as a blunt pencil, crayon point, Popsicle stick, or paper clip (be careful not to poke yourself). Please note that if you’re using clay or Play-Doh for your cylinder seal, you will cut the designs, and then leave the clay or Play-Doh out to dry. Next flatten out clay, air-dry clay, or Play-Doh to a size taller than and much wider than your cylinder seal. Starting at one side, roll your cylinder seal over the clay. Remember that you carved into the cylinder and when you roll it over clay, the images you carved will print out as raised designs. For fun, carve half a map of your neighborhood into one cylinder. Carve the other half of the map into a second cylinder—and roll first one and then the other cylinder over the clay to see if you can make a complete map come out! 

Create Your Own Monument

A man named Piye or Piankhi from the land of Kush became pharaoh of Egypt during the 25th Dynasty. After conquering Egypt, he went back to live in Napata in Kush and had a monument carved from a 6-foot black granite slab that was rectangular and curved at the top. He had images, including himself, carved in the curved top—and rows and rows of lines filled in with a description of what he accomplished in the rest of the monument. How would you like to have a monument that describes your life? Let’s give it a try. Measure and draw an upright rectangle on a piece of paper, curving the top of it. Draw images of yourself and people and things that are important to you in the curved top part. Then use a ruler to draw horizontal lines on the rest of the page. Fill in the lines with a description of you, your family, your friends, what you have done, and what you wish to do. For fun, if you have a roll of butcher paper, measure off 6 feet and fill in the whole 6 feet with your accomplishments and ask your family and friends to add their deeds to it. Hang your Kush Monument up somewhere with the curved part at the top.