The summer holidays are here! The 5yo is enjoying a break from school, and I’m very much enjoying a few weeks of annual leave after a really busy year – and we have plenty of time to try out some new ancient-themed activities! I usually get a few bits and pieces from Baker Ross to keep us busy on rainy / inside days, and they have an excellent selection of Roman, Greek, and Egyptian crafts (as well as plenty of Halloween ones too, if like us, you are impatiently waiting for spooky season) We had a little trip to The Pottery Experience in Jesmond last week and the 5yo enjoyed it so much he wanted to test out his newly-acquired skills by painting the ‘Sphinx’ money-boxes at home. So we set to work!
The ‘Sphinx’ ceramic money-boxes were on sale (a box of 2 was £3.95) and are much bigger than I expected! They have a coin slot on the back and a plastic stopper in the bottom, so no smashing required. They are modelled after the head of the Great Sphinx of Giza – no lion body, alas! But the details are lovely and the ceramic is nice and smooth. We wiped it with the hard side of a sponge to get rid of any dust and then sponged it down with little a bit of water.
Before we started painting we looked at some pictures of the sphinx and royal headdresses of people like Tutankhamen in our Ancient Egypt books. We saw lots of golds, yellows, and blues – and naturally neither of us decided to stick to accurate colours! The 5yo wanted to try out different types of paints as well as different brushes and sponges (the lovely staff at the pottery place had given him lots of ideas to try at home, including cotton bud polkadots!)
We used different paints on the ceramic to see what would work best, and we both liked the metallic poster paints from The Works and acrylic paint pens. The poster paints needed a couple of layers to make the colour bold, but they dried really quickly so it wasn’t a problem!
Once the paint had dried we used Sharpies to add in a bit of detail and gold/silver acrylic pens for final jazzy details. The grooves in the ceramic make it easy to add in the finer bits like eyebrows, mouth, and the eyes themselves. The 5yo was very proud of his when it was all dried and couldn’t wait to show it off to daddy. This was such a good low-effort activity (no building or glueing required, phew) that kept us both busy for a couple of hours – and was quite relaxing too!