Make a Mini-Nile River In Your Yard

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Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times. Ch. 2 Egyptians Lived on the Nile River.

Or you could make it in somebody else’s yard.  Doesn’t matter.  The point is, we made our own miniature river in order to act out one of the stories in our history text.  I came up with this idea because I thought it would be more interesting than just reading the story to the kiddos.  See, when I do stuff like let them dig in mud on a Saturday, they have no idea it’s “school”.   And since The Husband highly disproves of me digging up his beautiful suburban lawn, I found an area under some low trees that was mostly dirt.

Here is what we did:
We dug a small trench about six feet long.  The kids lined our new riverbed with pea gravel.  Any stones or rocks will do, just something so that the water runs over the rocks rather than sinking quickly into the dirt.
We added crocodiles because, of course, it wouldn’t be the Nile without those.  
Then I read the story of the Egyptian God, Osiris, and his wife, Isis.  Osiris’ brother Set wants to become king so he tricks Osiris into getting into a coffin, then he sends it down the Nile.  

Firefly and The Queen Bee each made a coffin (food containers from our kitchen) for Osiris.

Set begins to rule Egypy, but the Nile dries up. A grief-strickin Isis finds the coffin…

She wraps Osiris in linen (thus he becomes the first mummy) and he comes back to life.

"Osiris" in his coffin. Watch out for that crocodile, Osiris.

The Nile floods again, supplying the people of Egypt with water. Each year, in remembrance of Osiris’ return to life, the Nile floods, supplying the Egyptians with water to drink and for their crops. 

Together, the Creek Kids and I learned that this was a very simplified version of the story.  We found a longer account in the book Egyptian Myths.  
Now here are three things we learned the hard way about this project:
  1. Do not do this project at the same time that your husband chooses to mow the lawn, so that just as you are about to open your mouth to begin reading, after you all laboriously built the river, he starts the lawnmower, oblivious to the stage of your project, thus drowning out your voice and causing your kids to go, “What?  What are you saying, Mommy?”
  2. Do not do this project when your toddler has decided to wear underwear for the day instead of his usual diaper because as soon as you get your husband to go away with the loud mower, you will open your mouth to speak once again, and your toddler will pee all over his shorts and shoes.
  3. Do not spray bug repellent as an afterthought.  After you and your kids have been unknowingly attacked by chiggers.  That will become evident later. On account of the very itchy bites in some very unusual places.

Other than that, this was a very simple and fun project.  Really, it was.