Friday, October 2, 2015

History Round-up

The following is a round-up of the most interesting articles and websites I've found recently that shed light on the life and times of places mentioned in the Bible.


Aerial Video from Over Isreal
Some gorgeous shots you won't want to miss, and an epiphany from the photographer. 

Philistines Introducted New Plants to Coastal Plains
Article tells how plants introduced to the Holy Land when the Philisteens migrated there included cumin, sycamore, and opium poppy.

Seal Found in Jersulamen from Time of King David


Critique of the David Rohl's Revised Egyptian Chronology
...which was recently promoted in the movie Exodus: Patterns of Evidence

Roman-era Egyptian Mummy Paintings Show Egyptian Blue Paint
This was interesting to me because it reveals some things we didn't know about  ancient painting techniques and coloring.


6th Century BC Home Discovery Changes Ancient Rome Map


Travel Costs in Roman Times
This is an interactive tool where you can calculate travel costs from any two cities in the 1st century Roman Roman denarius.  According to the Bible, a days wage for farm work was 1 denarius.  In Egypt around the same time there's records of a denarius (based on conversion from other coin used there) being worth about a weeks wage (7 days...not OUR 5 day work week). 

The History of the Color Blue
The "Egyptian Blue Paint" story above lead me to this one.  Blue was a hard color to make naturally, so how artists and craftsmen managed to incorporate this color throughout history is a fascinating story talked about here. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Egypt Homeschool Freebies

As I mentioned before,  Group's Holy Land Adventure VBS for next summer (2016) will once again be Egypt: Joseph's Journey.  This was the first Holy Land VBS our church did back in 2010, and I LOVED it.

As some know, I'm now a homeschooling mom, and I keep coming across great homeschool freebies about Egypt.  Some could be used at VBS too, though most wouldn't work well for that.  But if you have a homeschooler, there's a good chance that if they attend this VBS it could spark an interest in Ancient Egypt.  Below are a few homeschool freebies you might want to save, just in case.    Not sure how long these will remain free, so I'm sharing these now even though next summer is a LONG ways away.  Will add more to this page as I find them.

Homeschool Freebies 

Hieroglyphics Font
This is free for personal or classroom use (or $3 for for a commercial license). 

THE CATCH:  You have to register with Teachers Pay Teachers to download any freebies there.

Science and Ancient Egypt
This unit by Dr. Dave's Science looks SO COOL.  There are pictures, charts, and it's just crammed with info, written just as well as any kids book I've read on the subject.   If you have a children who are into science more than history, this would be great to pull them in (or vice versus).

I could also see this being informative to your volunteers at VBS.  The Hieroglyphics shopkeeper might enjoy the part about papyrus, and the bakery shop be able to use in the info on the bread, which is probably a little more detailed than what's in the Group materials.

If you like this one he has 6 other Unit Studies about science and Ancient Egypt  (covering Kilns and Metals, Astronomy, The Animals of Ancient Egypt, Tools, Mummies, and The Pyramids) for $3-4 each or $23 for all of them (plus additional worksheets).

THE CATCH:  You have to register with Teachers Pay Teachers to download any freebies there.  This doesn't necessarily come with a newsletter though (I think you can opt out in preferences).

 Ancient Egypt Lapbook by Homeschool Share
 This is a lesson plan and lapbook unit covering all sorts of Egyptian things (mummies, gods and goddesses, hieroglyphics, occupations, homes, etc.

NO CATCH - Completely free and nothing to sign up for!

King Tut - Ancient Egypt Unit (Limited Time)
This free printable is for ages 8 - 12.  It has a very pared down Egyptian timeline, a page of information on hieroglyphics and another couple pages onKing Tut, with worksheets to go along with these.  It has two math worksheets (one translating Egyptian numbers, and another with "pyramid math" doing a combination of addition and multiplication.   It also has a map of modern Egypt and some activities with that.  Not much you could use for VBS but a lot of great stuff for homeschool.

THE CATCH:  You must be a member of Educents (free) to get this freebie.  DISCLOSURE:  The link above is an affiliate linkThat means if you order something else through Educents within a certain amount of time I get a commission on it, though of course I get 0 on freebies like this. 

Hieroglyphics Secret Message
This free worksheet by Super Teacher Tactics I could see being a fun send home for kids in VBS...and of course, great for homeschoolers too.

THE CATCH:  You have to register with Teachers Pay Teachers to download any freebies there.  This doesn't necessarily come with a newsletter though (I think you can opt out in preferences).

My Book About Egypt
A copywork book with facts about modern and Ancient Egypt.  It would be great for homeschoolers coordinating a study of Egypt with VBS, but not so much for use in VBS.  Uses ball and stick print lettering.

THE CATCH:  Must subscribe to get the Freebie.

VBS Egypt Guide
I wrote this guide for our own volunteers when we did VBS.  Since Joseph's Journey has a lot of witnessing focus (encouraging kids to talk to the people in the marketplace about what they believe), I tried to include things from Egyptian religion that would be helpful to those in the marketplace.  I also included info on social structure and class (again, useful if you're playing an Egyptian) and included lots of info and pictures to help with decorating.  This guide, however, might be useful to homeschoolers too.  And the credits list at the end has some excellent resources for learning more.

THE CATCH:  No catch!  This is totally free to use.  You can print as many as you need, and if you want to change something on this you are welcomed to copy it and make whatever changes you like, BUT I do ask that you keep the credits I left at the end (the pictures were allowed to be used with the understanding that those credits would be there).  Also, of course, this is for non-commercial use (if you charge for VBS or work for a private school, you can still use this, but please don't sell it, that's all). 

Other Recommended Resources 
These aren't free, but are worth the price.

Warfare by Ducktape - Egypt  (Ends 8/3/13)
This book shows how to make 7 different Egyptian weapons using duct tape and other easy to find supplies, plus shows how to make various armor and costume items.  I downloaded this back when it was a freebie, and loved it.  It would be really helpful in making costumes for VBS. 

COST:  $15.99 for paperback book or $9.95 for a printable download. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

History Related Giveaways

For history lovers and homeschoolers, I wanted to share about some giveaways going on at Educents right now. They have over a dozen Humanities giveaways going on right now, three specifically related to History: One for History Box (a monthly history subscription service that looks like a lot of fun for kids), another for Bethlehem Books (which have a lot of great Christian historical books for kids) and one for a Friends and Heroes history unit (I've never been much for "Heroizing" history but the videos I've seen of these are fun. They're all on the same expect a lot of load time.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Free Downloadable Book: Warfare By Duct Tape - Egypt

I'm excited that Group is repeating their Egypt themed VBS for 2016.  It was a great program--one of my faves that we've done at our church. 

And, I just happened to stumble on a freebie on a homeschooling mailing list I'm on that would be great for this!  How would you like a book length downloadable guide on how to make Egyptian weapons (and a few costume items) with duct tape!  It's free but not for long!

Warfare by Ducktape - Egypt  (Ends 8/3/13)
And 9 other full-length homeschool resources.
This book usually costs $10 but is a free download until August 3 along with 9 other great homeschool resources.

THE CATCH:  You have to submit your e-mail to get it and you get signed up for e-mail newsletters from all 10 companies providing these freebies.  But you can unsubscribe later, and frankly I think the book is worth it (or worth just paying the $10 for, if you prefer that). 

Monday, June 1, 2015


The following booths using carpet tubes and boards were designed by Rod Moyer at Calvary Baptist Church, Reading, PA. They are  inexpensive, since you can usually get carpet tubes for free from carpet shops/suppliers. 

Each booth was designed to be 10' long by 8' wide. It is higher in the back than the front, it will give the illusion of a peaked tent or roof.   The back columns are 7', the second set at 6'6,"the third at 6' and the opening columns at 5'5" tall. The four columns on each side were set into a lath frame, with screws inserted into both sides for stability. An 8' lath strip at the back holds the two sides in place.  You can see how the carpet tubes fit into the boards in the pictures above and below. 

To anchor the tops of each side, carpet tubes were split in half lengthwise and fastened that at the top of each column. Then the additional halved carpet tubes were he's notched out to use as trusses/crosspieces.

Below is a close up showing how the roofing fits together. Of course, the roofing is on longer tubes...I believe this was just an example/trial piece.

Below you can see it put together and draped with sheets.
(More decorative draping was added later). 

And here we see the tents with decorative draping.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Make Faux Rock Walls

If you need a "rock wall" for theatrical performances, Vacation Bible School, a parade float, Easter pageant, school play, etc, there are many options for you to choose from. "Rock" can be made from a variety of materials, and it's amazing how realistic of a stone wall you can make without an ounce of real stone. Below you will find methods for making faux rock wall at various levels of realism, cost, and sturdiness.

(The Rock wall photo in this post is from a VBS set of First Baptist Church in Tuscola, TX. It's made by the Crumpled Paper Rock Wall method you'll find in the posts below.)

Rock Wall: Foam Board

Foam Board Rock Wall by Brian McGuire from Parkview Baptist Church in Monroe, LA.

To make a rock wall like the one pictured you cut "rocks" out of foam board and attach them to a larger sheet of foam board or wood (possibly even sturdy cardboard), and then paint them in shades of gray or brown.

Some paints, especially spray paints, will eat away at foam, so you will want to test your paint out before applying to a large area. However, you can also use this property to make foam board rock without having to do any cutting or gluing  You can paint around where you want rocks to be, which creates a grout like indentation when the paint eats away at the rock. Then you can paint the rocks that are left with non-eroding paint. There are some significant safety and environmental concerns to using this method though. Make sure to be in a well ventilated place when you do this, as the fumes can be harmful. Wearing a mask is suggested.

Foam board too expensive? You can use packaging foam, old or broken foam coolers, etc. Broken up, painted, and attached to a backing they can look great!

While the example above is fairly simple, you can get incredibly detailed with foam board rock by carving the foam...just check out the example below.

Picture provided by Hugs, Kisses, and Snot

You can find some more excellent pictures, as well as more detail on painting and carving techniques for this type of "stone" wall here. There's also step by step pictures of an amazing wall built for an Easter set here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Making a Rock Wall With Crumpled Paper

The rock wall above was created for Nazareth VBS at the First Baptist Church in Tuscola, TX.

It's amazing to think that the wall above was made with just paper, paint, and cardboard. The stones were made by cutting out different rounded shapes from scrap paper, crumpling them up, unfolding them, and spraying them with stone paint, gray paint and black paint. These were then stapled into the cardboard structure (made from refrigerator boxes!)

Photo by Kelly Moreland

Another church, for Rome VBS, made this stone wall with rectangular crumpled paper "bricks" with painted foam board stones for accents.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Make a Rock Wall With Printed Paper or Plastic Party Rolls

This rock wall was created for Nazareth VBS at Dayspring Baptist Church in Waco, TX.

You can make a rock wall using commercial party paper, corrugated paper, or plastic party sheets. The house above is made this with party paper (though the rock around the door is foam board, made with the spray paint grout method described in a previous Rock Wall post). This is probably the quickest and easiest way to make a wall, though less three dimensional than some other methods. You can see some more pictures of party paper wall in use here.

Below are some examples of rock wall papers you can purchase (click on the image to see them on Amazon).  The first one listed is the one we used to make the house pictured above.

Basic Party Papers


Corrugated Party Papers
Corrugated papers are sturdier, similar to cardboard.  These need less support than the regular party papers pictured above.

Plastic Party Rolls
These plastic sheets are especially useful if you need a rock wall that can get wet.  The ones below even have a turret border you can add, and a ground floor (though unfortunately they don't sell the dirt by itself, without the wall, which would be nice for covering a larger area). 

They also have some other matching accessories which could be useful...

Vinyl Peel and Stick Wallpapers
While these are much more expensive than party papers or plastic sheets, they're seem simple to use, and like they would  hold up better to reuse than plastic sheets (though I haven't personally used these, so I can't vouch from experience for that).

Wallpaper Murals
Sometimes you want something more permanent   Wall murals are a bit pricey for something like VBS, but if you want to decorate a room with a rock wall for the long term, not just a short event, the extra cost of buying actual wallpaper might be worth it.  Here are some examples or rock wallpaper murals.

See All Rock Wall Ideas Here

This page includes Amazon Affiliate Links.