Ancient Egypt: Nile River Model

The Nile is the longest river in the world. It was also crucial to life in ancient Egypt. That’s because the Nile brought water and rich soil to the land around the river. When it rained, the river would overflow and deposit rich soil along the riverbank. When the water receded, the Egyptians would plant their crops in this fertile soil. They also used the river to provide irrigation, to wash their clothes, and, of course, for their own drinking water. This made that area perfect for agriculture and supporting a civilization. 

The river flows north, down the mountains of Egypt towards the Mediterranean Sea. As it flows, it forks into what is called the delta. (source) This area is part of a land called The Fertile Crescent. For this activity, we’re going to make a model of the Nile River and its delta.

What you need:
What to do:

Start by showing your child a few photos of the real Nile River and delta. This is a great photo, and this map is helpful as well. Explain how in ancient times, there often weren’t pipes or irrigation systems to bring water to dry places. So in ancient Egypt, it was necessary to be near the river to have water and grow food. Show how the areas around the river are green, while much of the rest of Egypt is desert.

Next, present your child with their playdough and tray and ask them to make their own model of the river and delta. Point out some of the parts (the river, the delta where the river breaks into several smaller rivers, etc.), but let them build with as much autonomy as they are ready for.

Once they have the basic river and land down with the playdough, use the other materials to give the model a little more life. If you purchased the Egypt figurines, add the pyramids of Giza or the sphynx (look in your Atlas to determine their correct locations). You could also add plants to represent the farms, boats for fishermen, or even a crocodile if you have one!

Next, let your child play as they imagine what life would be like along the Nile River.

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