A lot of kids go through a phase when they are fascinated with Egyptian history. Who doesn’t love mummies and pyramids? There are actually quite a few stories in the Bible that take place in Egypt or involve Egypt in some way. Why not encourage your kids’ fascination and teach them some Bible along the way?!
Making your own mummy does require a few special ingredients you need to gather before the devotional. You will need a lot of salt and enough sodium carbonate (look in the laundry section or online) and baking soda, so that when the three ingredients are mixed, they will cover the object you are mummifying. The ratios are one part salt to two parts sodium carbonate and two parts baking soda. For example, if you use ¼ cup of salt, you will need ½ cup sodium carbonate and ½ cup baking soda.
As far as what you will mummify, you can try apples, a piece of chicken or a small fish like a sardine. It’s important to remember that while the “mummy” will look dehydrated when finished, it is no longer edible.
Grab your kids and remind them of the stories about how Joseph ended up in Egypt and how his father and brothers eventually joined him. You can find some of these stories in Genesis 42-50. Point out that when Jacob and Joseph died in Egypt, they both wanted to be taken home and buried in the family tomb. At the time, Egyptians were mummifying bodies, which also made them easier to transport and kept them like the mummies your kids have seen in museums or photos, rather than just becoming a pile of bones.
Jacob’s body was carried back and buried in the family tomb shortly after it was mummified. Joseph’s body on the other hand stayed in Egypt about 400 years until the Israelites escaped under Moses. One of the things they took with them when they left Egypt was the mummified body of Joseph!
Explain to your kids a little bit about mummification from a children’s book or website. Tell them they are going to make a mummy of something other than a person. Help them safely mix the ingredients and cover the “mummy” with them. A Tupperware type of container often works best. It will take several days to mummify, depending upon local humidity, etc. You can check on its progress periodically, but make sure to recover it if it needs more time to continue the process.
As you wait for your mummy to mummify, you can use the time to check it each day and talk about other stories that involved Egypt…including the time Jesus lived there as an infant. The goal is to connect Egypt to the stories in the Bible in their minds. Then whenever they see an Egyptian exhibit, their minds will go back to the Bible stories and the lessons learned from them. It’s a great way to tie something they may see periodically to memories of the Bible. The mummy or anything from Egypt will now act as a cue to bring up those Bible memories. (Just like a rainbow reminds many Christians of Noah.)
Have fun with it! Let your kids’ curiosity spark studying other cultures in the Bible, too. It’s a great way to connect secular and biblical history.