Monday, June 13, 2016

History Round-Up

These aren't necessarily new articles and resources, but new to me, and interesting! 


Egyptian Tour - Daily Life
A blog post with LOTS of pictures and a focus on daily life in Egypt.

Pharoah in Canaan
This article is about an exhibit that explores the cross-cultural exchange that took place between Egypt and Canaan during the second millennium BC.  Has a mention of the Biblical story of the Joseph, and lots of pictures.

Oldest/Longest Ancient Egyptian Leather Manuscript Found
Interesting tidbit about use of leather vs. Papyrus:  Parchment was used for important religious texts and for documents that had to travel, because it the short term it was more sturdy than papyrus.  But, over time it actually broke down quicker than papyrus.

Youngest Mummified Fetus Discovered
This is interesting because it says a lot about how Egyptians viewed the unborn.  The baby was probably from a miscarriage.

Amazing Mummies of King Tut's Grandparents

Redating the Exodus and Conquest (Free Book PDF)

Egyptian Boat Burial Discovered

Oldest Depiction of Ancient Egyptian Demons Found
"The ancient Egyptian world of belief was inhabited by a huge number of entities with super powers. They could play both malevolent or benevolent roles, as threats, maladies and dangers, or as protectors, helpers and defenders."

Art and Power in Ancient Egypt

Nilometer Discovered from 3rd Century BC
This instrument measured the Nile's rise and fall and was used for Taxes


Photo of the Week - Judean Desert

Daily Life in the Time of the Judges 

Ancient Sticy Notes Shift Secular Scholars Closer to Evangelicals on Bible's Age



Why No Truely Ancient Bible Writings Have Been Found
This article talks a lot about the history of writing in general, as it goes into deatail about the materials used by ancient writers including (but not limited) to Isreal, Egypt, Phonicia and how these hold up over time.

Free Books/Articles from
Well, I'm sure these have been there for a while, but I just discovered it:  a whole page full of e-books on Biblical history and archaeology free when you sign up for their newsletter.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Egypt VBS Decor - Marketplace

I thought I would share how we decorated our marketplace and "family homes" for Egypt VBS in 2010 and in 2016.  We did not do all the marketplace crafts--I'm just including the official crafts for now (we did several alternatives as well...and I'm going to do separate posts for these). 

The Scribe Shop (Hieroglyphics)

Reed mats just add something to table decor.  I've seen unlined bamboo mats like these for $1 at the Dollar Store or Walmart.  Party stores may have these too.

The Food Market

The food itself is most of the decor for this shop.
A few modern bowls don't detract too much if 
combined with some baskets. 

Brickmaking Shop

This was my shop during the marketplace.  I have more pictures and marketplace tips for brickmaking here.

The Basketry Shop

Click on either of the pictures above to 
see them larger.

In 2016 we tried out a Basketry shop.  This would be the 6th time we had done a Holy Land themed VBS, and so we had collected a lot of baskets (and I believe the shop keeper brought some from home too).  So, we were able to make a pretty spectacular basket display around the edges of our basket making shop.

In the back, the stone is just part of our church.  We used a cheap bamboo fence we got several years back at a party story to cover the window.  Sheets we collected from hotels for costumes when we did Rome covered the sides.  It really set a wonderful atmosphere.  

Animal Market

Our Animal market took NO decoration.  The lovely people who brought the animals from a local farm just let them graze freely in our church's grassy yard.  The kids ran around with baby goats (kids playing with kids...and both seeming to have a blast).  It was vastly different from having them in a cage for kids to visit.    There were some chickens in a cage...and the donkey was supervised more for the kids safety, but in general it was more natural than your typical petting zoo.  Both the animals and kids seemed more relaxed.  We did NOT have this during our regular marketplace, but replaced one day's games with "visiting herders."   We brought the kids in small groups so as to better supervise . 

Other Shops
We did several other alternative shops as well (not from Group's material) .  I'll be blogging about these at some point.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

VBS Egypt Decor - Family Homes

The first time our church did Group VBS it was using Egypt: Joseph's Journey.  We really took the idea of these being "Egyptian Homes" seriously.  We asked family leaders to decorate their rooms, and I even devoted three pages of my Egypt Volunteers Guide to what you could find in an Egyptian Family home, and told them to make sure to consider whether they wanted to decorate for a wealthy or poor home.  Was all that necessary?  Not really.

Granted, the "family home" pages I did helped with marketplace decorating too, so I don't regret doing that.  But for family/tribe/group leaders, that sort of prep/decoration is really not essential.   Family rooms can be absolutely undercoated and it's no big thing.

But if you want to add an Egyptian flair, there's some simple ways to do that without much fuss.   You can put your "Family Time" materials in a basket (a nice touch we've kept because it helps with organization too).

If you have some woven rugs or blankets to throw down on the floor of family rooms, that's a nice touch.    Using a low stool in stead of a chair is both historically accurate and keeps volunteers closer to kids level (sitting on the floor with them does that too--but some volunteers may feel more comfortable with something to sit on).    Bringing some throw pillows from home can add some practical cushioning (and is also historical).

This is not a great picture above, but I think this was one of the coolest (and smartest) set ups.  The rugs naturally showed the kids where to sit.  The focal point in the center gave kids stuff to look at without drawing their attention behind them, away from the stool where the group leader sat.  And I have to mention that stool...cause that stool is so much like what Egyptians used it's uncanny.

And here's our sign stands.  I think we left these in the rooms on the first day (so kids could find their rooms) and then moved them to the marketplace to use there.  We reused these to hold columns several years later when we did Rome.

Egypt VBS Resources

Online Communities

Holy Land VBS Official Facebook Page

Egypt VBS Un-Official Facebook Page

Groups Forum
I've found in the past the forums at Group can also be a great resource, though it is not as active as it used to be.   Actually, pretty dead inactive right now.

King Tut One Forum
If you have an Egyptian history question, here's one good place to ask--it's a forum all about Egyptian history. Warning, not a PG forum, so you might stumble upon a topic that's not suitable for smaller eyes.

Historum Forum
My favorite general history forum.  Again, not a pg forum, but you can get really good answers to your historical questions here.

VBS Printables

Egypt Guide
This is a printable guide I made for our  volunteers with info about ancient Egyptian culture with pictures for inspiration, etc.   It was my attempt to fit some of the massive amounts of info about Egypt I found into what I thought was might be relevant and useful to marketplace volunteers and decorators at VBS.  You can use any part of it, and even copy and alter it, but please keep all credit information about the pictures, which were used with permission with promise of credit being given.

Egyptian Names Printable
Having an Egyptian name is pretty essential for marketplace workers, soI made this one page printable to pass around and have people choose a name from.  For even more Egyptian names try these links:  Male Egyptian Names, Female Egyptian Names.

Pyramid Box Printable

Spinx Toy Printable

Egyptian History Resources

Aspects of Life in Ancient Egypt
If you want a brief overview...this is not the site for you.  If you want to go deep on any particular topic about Egypt, than this is the site you're looking for.  I found this especially helpful in finding extra information for alternative marketplace crafts, as there's a lot about various occupations, tools, etc. here.  This site also had a lot more about the common people and day to day life than some other sites, which focused more on the Pharoahs and ruling class.

Egyptian History for Kids
Fun general site with lots of good info about Egypt for kids.  Great for when kids get curious and want to learn more.

Free Fonts

Hieroglyphic Font
Free for personal use

Egyptian Fonts at DaFont
Various, including Hieroglyphic.

Readable ancient looking font that looks similar to what is used by Group.

Free Clip Art

Open Clip Art - Egypt
Clip art released into the public domain. You could also search under Egyptian, mummy, Joseph, etc.  Can be used commercially.

Clip Art Etc.
A clip art archive free for educational or non-profit use.  Search under Egyptian for lots of high resolution graphics.

Illustrated Bible History
You can find many sections on Egypt in the alphabetical list on the left side.  Free for personal, church, or other non-commercial use.

Pixabay - Egypt
Photography and art released into the public domain.  Can be used commercially.

Story of Joseph Illustrations
Illustrations of the Story of Joseph free for use under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence.

Wikimedia Commons - Ancient Egypt
Most of the items on Wikimedia are under some sort of open licence like creative commons, or in the public domain.  You can also search under Egypt, Biblical Illustration, Ancient Egyptian Painting, etc. to find more.  Make sure to click "more details" to find out what licence the picture is under.

Phillip Martin Clip Art - Egypt
Comic book style art free for non-commercial use.  Also has Joseph clip art.

Egyptian Graphics Set (Ages Brown Silhouettes)
Free but requires registering at Teacher Pay Teachers.

Egyptian Colorful Hierogrphics Graphics
Free but requires registering at Teacher Pay Teachers.

100 Royalty Free Egyptian Graphics/Photos
Free but requires registering at Teacher Pay Teachers.

Egypt Posts on this Blog

Egypt Marketplace:  Brickmaking Tips

Egypt Decor
Egypt Decor - Marketplace Shops
Egypt Decor - Family Homes

Egyptian Resources for Homeschoolers

Misc. Resources   

My VBS Egypt Pinterest Board

Ancient Egyptian Craft Ideas
Great for alternative crafts. Also, if you go to the "Time Traveler Section" in the sidebar you can find a sort of "choose your own adventure" Egyptian story to share with your kids.

General VBS Resource List

Book Recommendations
This section includes a few Amazon affiliate links through which I can earn a small commission.  Any commission earned through this post will be donated to charity.  More info here.

You can usually find lots of great books on Egypt full of pictures for inspiration at your local library.  The following are my favorites for Egyptian craft ideas.

Make It Work:  Ancient Egypt
I love all the costume and craft ideas in this book.  My favorite decor item I think is a harp made from a bottle and balsa wood (a small item, but a very cool one for a music shop or in Pharaoh's palace.)  If you're looking for alternative crafts there's lots of ideas to explore here.  And they explain the history behind everything, too.

Warfare by Ducktape - Egypt
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.  I could see how it would be helpful in making costumes and props for VBS. (Available as printed book and printable PDF).