Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Egyptian Spices Learning Craft Activity

This post corresponds with the Social Studies/Global Studies Series on Egypt. However, this activity can be easily altered to represent other Ethnic Studies. I made this spice project for an Egyptian Marketplace in a Dramatic Play area. When observing photos of such markets, there are many bags, baskets and barrels of spices sold so this is an essential feature. You do not have to have a "market" for your child to enjoy this rich learning experience. Learning about cultures includes foods and spices. This activity allows your child to build lasting knowledge by involving the senses. This will develop a foundation in cooking and palette as well when your child can identify smells and tastes in foods! Here is how we did this project.

1.) We took out the spices and observed them with our senses. (You can leave them in the original containers or put them into small, shallow bowls.) We smelled and tasted them. We talked about the colors and the consistencies. Some children identified foods that they recognize having the smell of certain spices in them!

2.) We made salt dough together by measuring and mixing ingredients, and kneading the dough.

3.) Each child took a ball of dough, flattened it out a bit and we added one different spice to the center of each one. The children kneaded the spices into the dough and played with them for a bit.

4.) We rolled the individually spiced dough into balls and set them aside to dry for a few days. I made labels and stuck them in the balls of dough before they hardened.

5.) Once dry I gave the children a bowl of glue and paintbrushes. They painted their ball with glue, then poured and shook the spices onto the glue. We let them dry again.

6.) We transferred the spices into handmade paper mache bowls, then into a basket, and they were ready for the marketplace.

This same activity can be done in a variety of ways; 
  • You could make the play dough ahead with different spices and have them try to match the dough to the spice jar by scent and color. The dough would not be dried, but used a few times to play with and gain spice recognition. 
  • You could add spices to white paint and let them create whatever they want on a paper.
  • You could have them paint blobs of glue on a paper and then shake this spices on top of each one (labeled for the grown ups they share this with). 
List of Spices Prominent in Egyptian Cooking:

green pepper
sesame seeds
all spice

National Geographic Countries of the World: Egypt

from: Random House
National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt

from: Random House
Egypt - Culture Smart!

from: Random House
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

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