Let’s do a fun outdoor activity and learn about the Nile River! This outdoor summer activity is great for at home or at school and an awesome way for kids to get outside and learn about the Nile River! Create your own Nile River in your backyard with just a few supplies you can easily find around your house.
The Nile River History for Kids
During the time of Ancient Egypt, the Nile River and the surrounding land was very important for Egyptian society. The Nile brought fertile land to Egypt which allowed for Ancient Egyptian society to grow and flourish! Many ancient Egyptians lived along the Nile River due to the fertile soil that allowed for farming to be done.
The Nile River was not only a source for farming, it also acted as one of ancient Egypt’s natural defenses! Due to lacking any sort of large peers or docs on the Mediterranean Sea until the first millennium BCE, all incoming ships would have to go into the Nile River to do any trading. This allowed for any traffic in and out of Egypt to be easily monitored, preventing invasion or attacks from the sea. The Nile River also has six cataracts which protected ancient Egypt from invaders from continental Africa. The cataracts weren’t like the ones inside your eyes, but they are areas of the Nile River that are thinner, shallower, and much more dangerous to cross to due rapid waters and a large amount of rocks.
The Nile River was also subject to annual flooding, which is the main focus of this activity. The annual flooding of the Nile River has caused many of the settlements along the Nile to become buried under layers upon layers of silt. Due to this, modern archeologists and historians have had a difficult time finding out what everyday life was like in ancient Egypt.
Easy Nile River Kids Activity
- This craft is great for kids in pre-k or older!
- Participating in this Nile River activity teaches kids problem solving skills and about Ancient Egypt.
- Kids will have tons of fun experimenting and playing during this activity!
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Supplies needed to do this activity
- tin foil
- different sized rocks
- toys/bath toys
- garden hose
- outdoor open space of any kind
Instructions to make your own nile river
Gather your materials together.
Take a large amount of tinfoil and shape it into a long and thin trough like structure. Make sure it is wide enough to fit small to medium sized toys and rocks.
Also make sure that there is an opening at the end of the trough so that the water can flow out of it.
Have your kids set up their toys and rocks inside of the tin foil river in whichever way they would like.
Start your garden hose on a low setting and let the river fill up a bit. After a few minutes increase the setting on the hose so that the water flows faster.
After a minute or so, lower the setting on your hose once again but keep the water flowing. Let your kids decide if what they want to do next. You can suggest the build a dam, elevate their houses, or help them come up with another solution.
Once your kids have come up with an idea and have begun to act on it, gradually turn up the hose again. Let the water get to around the same hight it got too in Step 4.
Turn down the water again and repeat the steps 4 through 6. You can do this as many times as your and/or your kids would like, this can provide so much entrainment!
Once you and your kids are all done, turn off the hose and start to clean up. You can put the rocks back where you found them and throw out the tinfoil now that you’re done. If any of your toys got messy, give them a rinse off in the sink.
I hope you had an awesome time playing with the Nile River Activity!
1 hour 15 minutes
- tin foil, rocks, toys/bath toys, garden hose, outdoor open space of any kind.
- Gather your materials together.
- Take a long peice of tinfoil and fold it into a trough shape to mimic a river. Make sure that there is an opening on one end so the water can flow out.
- Go outside and get your garden hose.
- Put the river onto thr gorund and have your kids add their toys and rocks.
- Once your kids are happy with their set up, start the hose on low and slowly turn it up letting the river flood.
- Turn the hose to a lower setting and let your kids rearrange the rocks and toys.
- Flood the river again.
- Repeat as many times as you would like.
My experience with this craft
I had a great time with this activity. It was super easy for me to come up with and try out! I got the idea from an ancient Egypt class that I am currently enrolled in, a week or two prior to me writing this article, we were assigned to read up on ancient Egypt’s geography and how it had shaped Egyptian society, preserved artifacts, and has caused problems for modern archeologists. This is my favorite part about history, reading evidence then speculating and theorizing based on said evidence. I find it super enjoyable and I thought that an experiment type activity would be a perfect way to introduce this concept to kids!
All the information provided about the Nile River and Ancient Egypt comes from A History of Ancient Egypt by Marc Van de Mieroop. This is a college level textbook, so if you wish to teach your kids more about Ancient Egypt, here is a fun and informative video about the day in the life of an ancient Egyptian doctor: A day in the life of an ancient Egyptian doctor – Elizabeth Cox:
tips for making Your Own Nile River Craft
- Try to do this craft earlier in the morning or later in the day. If you do it around mid-day like I did, you could get hot pretty quickly!
- Put some sunscreen on before you go outside to do this craft!
- Use waterproof toys like bath toys or pool toys, even plastic toys could work.
- Try adding some gravel or play sand to your river, it could cause some cool effects and mimic the silt in the actual Nile River!
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Did you have fun with your Nile River Activity? What did your kids learn? Please tell us in the comments below!