Schools out for summer – it’s playtime now. And while there are plenty of computer games to whet your appetite for the ancient world, there’s also still a lot of fun out there to be had with a bit of glue and some decent instructions. From projects for big kids to those with slightly less nimble fingers, there’s something it seems in the ancient world for everyone. Build Your Own Stonehenge from Running Press may not come with the more than 150 rocks that feature in the life-size version, but it does come with a good two dozen that you can arrange at your own leisure. Imitate the original or create a new and improved version for your home. The DIY Stonehenge is the brainchild of Morgan Beard, a journalist and author who is also a practicing pagan.
Also from Running Press comes something for the history buff who has just about everything. The Desktop Heads of Easter Island, which are knowingly subtitled ‘They’re watching you!’, can be arranged in various formations on your desk or in your study (though I’m not entirely sure how creative you need to be to get the best out of the mysterious fellows). Both kits come with a little booklet with some basic information on their respective sites.
If puzzles are more your thing, alljigsawpuzzlees.com has a 1000-piece Egypt jigsaw puzzle, which is billed as “a light hearted and hilarious look back in time to Ancient Egypt. Join in the party as the Egyptians entertain us with their antics in this fantastic jigsaw.” It’s more Disney than EA Wallis Budge, but I guess you can’t have everything.
For something a little more bog-standard, there’s the 1000-piece Tutankhamen jigsaw puzzle, which is apparently “a stunning image of the most famous Pharoah of them all … which captures the richness and artistry of the treasures found in Tutankahamun’s tomb and Eyptian [sic] civilisation in general.” There’s an easier 500-piece Colosseum puzzle for Roman fans, plus a cityscape of St Peter’s Square at a more challenging 2000 pieces.
For budding jigsaw aficionados, Usborne has a Greek Myths Jigsaw Book (there’s an Ancient Romans one, too). Also for kids comes Roman Things To Make And Do and Egyptian Things To Make And Do. Both are packed with craft activities for kids with active imaginations. There’s also one on pirates (they’re not old, but they are fun).
Then there’s the plethora of DIY hieroglyphs sets for young and old. The British Museum’s Fun With Hieroglyphs is a good starting point. It comes with 24 rubber stamps and an ink pad. With a little practise, you’ll be reading and writing like an Egyptian in no time.