Egyptian Theme -3yr- Walk Like an Egyptian Game
Stacy in Suisun City, California, United States
For my son's 3rd birthday we had an Egyptian-themed party.
INVITATIONS: We took photos of him dressed as the little boy from the Mummy Returns movie at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, California. Then we printed one in sepia tones for the cover of the invitation. On the inside we stated that we had stumbled onto a previously undiscovered tomb and had scheduled the grand opening on Hunter's birthday. We asked the guests to come and lend their expertise. We used the antique toy stamps currently out because they looked kind of 30ish. We also printed "CAIRO" in light red on the envelope as if it were stamped. We got Egyptian stickers from doverpublications.com and put one on the back of each. Inside we also enclosed the Riddle of the Sphinx: "What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?" (MAN). We told guests to write down their answers and bring them to the party to be entered in a drawing.
DECORATIONS: We got a cut and glue Egyptian Temple from The Report Card parent teacher store (watch out -- it took 12 hours to assemble!) which made a great centerpiece. We made our living room into a 20's-30's archeological camp. We had a writing desk form the Bombay Co. with a very old black typewriter that belonged to my great-grandfather. On it I laid an imitation Western Union telegram that was addressed to my son Hunter from Lord Carnavon. (I found an image of an old telegram online and then recreated it with a desktop publishing program).
My Mom had a bunch of old stamps from different countries so I wrote letters from different museums in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, and England stating that they had accepted our invitation and were sending teams to the party, and put the appropriate stamp on each. We also had a wooden trunk with an African chess set on it as well as an old camera that belonged to my husband's grandfather. We placed several of the photos we took at the museum, but didn't use for the invite, in frames and placed them around the room. We played the CD "Immortal Egypt" and other belly dancing CD's by Hossam Ramzy (Amazon.com).
Outside we bought a huge tan tent from Wal-Mart and fashioned our tomb in it. My husband made a large sarcophagus out of a cardboard box that my son's toddler bed came in. Probably a refiregeratior box would be good too. He painted it gold and placed a lot of Egyptian stencils on it (also obtained from Dover). We bought reproduction large canopic jars off of Ebay made by Summit. The museum also sold these. Inside one we placed wooden fish hook necklaces (available from Oriental Trading Co. / Oriental.com).
In another we placed plastic ladybugs that were supposed to be scarabs (OTC). In the third we placed animal print bracelets (OTC). The fourth contained plastic gold coins (OTC). We also had a scarab box that we had bought from the Museum Store in Vegas in which we placed small Egyptian amulets that my husband sculpted and baked from Sculpey and painted blue. We got the ideas from pictures in various library books. We also bought a scarab paper weight from the Museum which had the appropriate spells on the bottom. I found a "Make a mummy" kit at a factory book outlet. It had a mold for making a shabti looking thing out of dough so I put about 5 of those in the tomb.
We placed stakes around the front yard and roped it off with a sign that said "Rose Expedition 2004". Another sign said "Danger! Crocodiles beyond this point". We placed a couple crocs that I made out of egg cartons (craft in a book from The Report Card) in the grass. We also had a tan sand box with sun cover from Toys R Us in which we buried tiles with hieroglyphics. We had a stamp set of hieroglyphics that I believe was from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (bought it many years ago but you could probably find it on eBay).
The tiles were actually samples we got from a tile company, but you could probably find inexpensive ones at Home Depot. Inside the cardboard sarcophagus we placed larger gifts like Mummy & Mummy Returns action figures (these were liquidated at Factory 2 U stores, but look on eBay), Egyptian fun activity books (used book stores, factory outlets, Dover), and palm tree things we got at a Dollar Store. We hid a portable CD player in the tomb which played the CD "Ancient Egypt" by Ali Jihad Racy. This is the CD that was composed for and played at the touring of King Tut's treasures many years ago (Amazon.com).
GOODY BAGS: I got large brown gift bags from OTC and placed an Egyptian iron-on on each (Dover) then colored them with ink pens. I stamped each person's name who RSVP'd in hieroglyphics on the bag. Inside I placed an Egyptian number game (book from the Report Card), as well as the Egyptian hieroglyphic alphabet, a couple Egyptian coloring pages (Dover), their name in hieroglyphics on a paper cartouche, a palm tree necklace or drink stirrer (Dollar Tree), candy, and an Egyptian mask (Dover) or a gold cone party hat (I inserted an explanation that ancient Egyptians wore cones of perfumed wax on their heads that melted throughout the day cooling them and making them smell nice and that these were cones for them to wear). I assigned the guests beforehand into groups of 12 and printed a name tag for each with the museum they were from and attached this to their bag. This was in English and made passing out the bags easier since I didn't quite have the hieroglyphics memorized!
GAMES: I had wanted to have a relay race with the guests carrying a basket of towels on their heads while the Bangles "Walk Like an Egyptian" played (got the CD way cheap on eBay). I embroidered 10 flour sack towels with the iron ons (Dover). These were to be prizes for the winners, but we didn't have time for this activity. I just gave out the towels to the young kids. We did do one game in which a parent wrapped a child to look like a mummy in toilet paper until the roll was used.
I also made headdresses out of paper grocery bags. The boys had the blue and yellow striped cloth looking ones, the girls had gold ones cut into strips like Cleopatra, and my son had the red and white double crown of the Pharoah (The Report Card book + What Can You Do With A Paper Bag book from the library). The first team to use the roll of paper and then place a headdress on the child's head was the winner. While this was going on we played the theme music for Indiana Jones (checked out the CD from the library).
PRIZES: The winner of the Riddle of the Sphinx drawing got mini canopic jars by Summit (Museum). The parent winner of the mummy wrap got a palm tree candle holder (Dollar Store). The child winner of the mummy wrap got a set of Stargate trading cards. The winners of the relay race were to get the towels, but I just gave these away.
FAVORS: I made pyramid paper boxes (The Report Card activity book) and placed a triangle of Egyptian wrapping paper (Dover) on one side and then a smaller triangle of the Eye of Horus printed on gold parchment on top of that. Inside I made cookies (Asbusa or Egyptian Rose Leaves -- recipes I found just doing an internet search). I tied the boxes with raffia.
FOOD: I made traditional Egyptian recipes I found online and in an African cookbook (library). There were many different things like chicken kebabs, lamb & eggplant casserole, fried zucchini, hummus and pita bread or chips, baklawa, potato salad, cabbage salad, etc. Most adults loved it, but of course it wasn't much of a hit with the kids.
DRINKS: Fruit juice, milk, cinnamon drink and lassi (recipes online & in African cookbook), as well as non-alcoholic beer since that is all the ancient Egyptians drank (the fermentation made the polluted Nile water safe to drink).
CAKE: We bought three cake mixes and baked them in square pans. I bouhgt a large rectangle cake board from a party store and brushed corn syrup on it then sprinkled crushed graham crackers on it for sand. The first cake I made a step pyramid with a 9" x 9" cake on the bottom and then cut the other into 6" x 6" and 3" by 3" pieces and stacked them. This didn't really look that nice, so my husband the artist did the other two and made them look like true pyramids by cutting smaller layers to stack and then trimming the sides. We placed all 3 on the board like the 3 great pyramids of Giza and frosted. We had a terrible time trying to get a good tan color with food coloring. It looked sort of green, but we sprinkled more crushed graham crackers all over them.
We found an archeological dig kit at the Report Card store that had you chisel away a stone to find 4 Egyptian amulets and then you were supposed to reuse the sand mixture to mold a pyramid or sphinx (contained in the kit). The sand was a mess, but we used the molds to melt chocolate in and I put two small white chocolate Sphinxes in front of the middle pyramid. I had found tiny plastic Egyptian court figures (people, coffins, priests, Pharoah, and Queen) on eBay and we stuck these all over the board by putting a little frosting on the bottom of each. Then my hubby colored some frosting blue and we made a little Nile river running along the front. We also found a tiny plastic croc and Lego palm tree to place near the Nile.
The party was fun but was very hectic. It flew by too quickly for us! Each museum group toured the tomb and sandbox separately with me as their guide. They dug to get their tiles and then I took them into the tomb and told them a bit about Egyptian views of the afterlife (library books!) and then each person got their goodies from the canopic jars, scarab box, and sarcophagus. We ate, had the cake, unwrapped gifts, did the Mummy Wrap, handed out prizes, and it was over!
THANK YOU NOTES: Egyptian postcards and stickers (Dover). Please note that my husband and I plan my son's birthday parties a year in advance so that we can obtain everything we need and have time to do it leisurely. It still is a lot of work though!
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