Welcome to Egypt: Hieroglyphics

by , posted on October 15th, 2013 in Art School

great kids activity - hieroglyph writing

We are venturing back to Egypt for our second lesson this month. We explored Egyptian jewelry last week and this week we are going to investigate the early writing system of Egyptians!

Egyptian Hieroglyphs are graphics or pictures representing words or speech sounds. These symbols were beautifully drawn, and since they took a long time to complete, they were mainly used to decorate the walls of temples.

Take a look at how beautiful these cursive hieroglyphs are.

ancient egyptian writing[source]

Here’s the chart we will use for our hieroglyphics lesson today. Interesting to note, hieroglyphics can be read from right to left or left to right! To figure out the direction you’re supposed to read you look at the way the animals or humans are facing! The animal or human is always facing the direction of the beginning of the line.

hieroglyphic symbols[source]

You’ll need to print this out and have it handy for our lesson. In addition, you’ll need a pencil, tape, oil pastels are optional, and some type of long kraft paper or several sheets of construction paper.


Cut a long sheet of kraft paper and attach it to a wall with tape. If you don’t have kraft paper, tape together several sheets of construction paper together. This will become our makeshift Egyptian wall.


Next, you’ll want to tape up the hieroglyph chart for easy access and then get to work writing your own hieroglyphics!

hieroglyph activity

fun art + history + writing activity for kids: hieroglyphs

If your paper is long enough you can have several kids working at the same time on their hieroglyphics. It’s a great idea while they are drawing to remind them and create dialogue about how much longer a simple phrase or word takes versus just using the alphabet we are used to. These drawings were highly prized in ancient Egypt and they are still highly prized today.

hieroglyph activity for kids - great lesson

When the hieroglyph is complete, it’s fun to let someone else decode them. First they’ll need to determine which direction the sentence or word begins. Then write out the word or sentence. It can be tricky, especially when one symbol represents two different letters! This is a nice peek into what ancient archaeologists are faced with when they are trying to decode messages found in Egyptian ruins.

cool activity for kids: hieroglyph

great activity for kids: writing in hieroglyph

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7 Responses to “Welcome to Egypt: Hieroglyphics”

  1. Jillian In Italy Says:

    October 16th, 2013 at 6:52 am

    My kids used to write each other hierglyphic notes. They visited a famous Egyptian Museum in Torino and received a little heiroglyphic rotating wheel chart. They loved learning about the history and culture so much and were so motivated to be able to read the old texts. Love this activity. I really hope there are teachers out there who are using your amazing ideas for teaching kids about art and culture!

    Deborah Reply:

    How fun Jillian! I can only imagine how amazing it is for kids to see in real life.

    John M Reply:

    I used to teach this for over 30 years until the extremely shortsighted NCLB came along. I always call it NCATE…No Child Allowed To Excel bill.
    Teaching the glyphs teaches the child to think in phonemes and the rules for placing glyphs differ from English. Great way to prove why KNOWING how English works IS worth learning. Keep up the wonderful work!

  2. Shalagh Hogan Says:

    October 16th, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    When I was probably 10, I received a kid’s magazine called World put out by Nat Geo. And there was one issue that I obsessively loved on Egyptian hieroglyphs. Around the same time I wanted to be an archaeologist… until I was 16. Fabulous activity. And am so excited to share with my boy who also loves this stuff. Thank you Deborah and Jen.

    Deborah Reply:

    Awesome Shalagh! I love that you can still recall your fondness for the culture and hieroglyphs. Hope your son enjoys the project!

  3. anagha Says:

    November 28th, 2013 at 10:12 am

    i love heiroglyphics

  4. Top 10 of 2013 Says:

    December 30th, 2013 at 11:59 am

    [...] Welcome to Egypt Heiroglyphics This October, Deborah and I conducted a little experiment with the Art School column. We chose a [...]

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