How To Mummify a Rubber Chicken

Why, you ask, did we mummify a rubber chicken?  Because a.) We are studying ancient Egypt; and b.) Because it is less disgusting that mummifying a real chicken.

Mummifying a chicken is fairly common in homeschooling circles, especially amongst those who use Story of the World for their history curriculum.  Basically, you buy a whole chicken at the grocery store, put a bunch of salt, oil and spices on it, and leave it on your kitchen counter in a ziplock bag for several weeks.

I thought that sounded a bit gross, so I was thrilled to find this blog, which describes how to mummify a Barbie doll. “Brilliant!”, I thought. That is what we will do.  Then I thought it might be funny to mummify a rubber chicken.  They are cheap on Amazon, so I ordered a few, then decided to give the kids the Barbie option as well, since that would look more like a real mummy.  I found some knock-off Barbies at the dollar store and we were in business.

We did this project with some friends. Some of the kids chose to mummify chickens and some chose Barbies.  Here’s what we did.

First, we watched the IMAX film, Mummies:  Secrets of the Pharoahs.  We read some information about mummies from the Mummies and Pyramids: Magic Treehouse Research Guide. Then we got to work.

1.  We washed the chickens/Barbies in “wine”.  (Actually, white wine vinegar and water.) Then we dried them off.

2.  We mixed oil and spices together (olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and painted it on the chickens and Barbies with paintbrushes.

3.  To further “preserve” the bodies, we gave them a heavy sprinkling of salt.

4.  Then we let them rest for a while, as they did in Egypt, except we didn’t do this for 40 days, like the Egyptians.  We did for as long as it took us to make amulets and mix up paste.   We made our amulets out of playdough. We attempted to copy some of the designs in the Magic Treehouse Research Guide, such as the eye of Horus and the stairs leading upwards.  Keep in mind, these were made by a group of 5 to 7 year olds.

6.  While the kids mixed up a paste of one part flour and three parts water, I washed the brown, oily goop off the mummies. Remember my goal of keeping the disgusting factor of this project down?

7.  The kids dipped strips of cloth into the flour mixture and began wrapping. We used an old t-shirt and some other fabric remnants torn into strips.

8.  After one layer, we put the amulets on the mummies, then wrapped another layer.

And there you have it:  Mummified rubber chickens and Barbies.

This project corresponds with Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times, Chapter 4: The Old Kingdom of Egypt.

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This entry was posted in Ancient History, History Odyssey, homeschooling, Story of the World and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How To Mummify a Rubber Chicken

  1. Very cool. we never did the mummified chicken because i thought it sounded gross and wasteful. i wish i had thought to look at other options when we were doing story of the world 1. very cool.

  2. Okay this is the part of homeschooling that I am not really looking forward to. Thank you for at least letting me know I can cut out the real chicken and replace with a rubber one!

  3. Oh, this a lot better than an actually chicken and definitely something I want to try. I can’t wait to get to things like this. My daughter is in K (homeschooling of course) and we are going to be doing fossils in Pre-History. Great idea about inviting other children to join in on the fun.

  4. Siggi says:

    Somehow the idea of using rubber critters actually sounds MORE disgusting to me, but hey – to each their own! Was this in the activity guide or something? We didn’t buy it, but if it has ideas that are this off the beaten path, maybe I will!

  5. J.J. says:

    Thanks for letting us mummify with you! It was fun and just the right amount of messy. The rubber chickens use far more strips of cloth than the dolls!

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