Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ancient China: The First Emperor Qin & His Terracotta Warriors (With book reviews and activity)

Photo Credit: Julie Laurent
The Terracotta Army is a life size clay recreation of the Emperor Qin's army, created to protect him and his tomb in death and the afterlife.


Photo Credit: Julie Laurent
This incredible archaeological find was discovered accidentally in 1974 by farmers who were digging for a well. 


Photo Credit: Julie Laurent
Over 2,200 years old, the army consists of approximately 8000 soldiers, 650 horses, and 130 chariots. The army is believed to have taken 11 years to create, from the efforts of 700,000 workers.


Photo Credit: Julie Laurent
The soldiers stand at approximately six feet tall. Each face is unique, and their outfits and height vary by rank.

Photo Credit: Julie Laurent
If you are interested in learning more about these soldiers, you can read a book, watch a video, and make your own terracotta soldier.


Read a book:

"The Emperor's Silent Army" by Jane O'Connor is a great introduction about about this amazing archaeological find. It is comprehensive without an overwhelming amount of details regarding archaeological aspects (which would not have been interesting for the girls), with interesting details about Emperor Qin, many great photographs, and was an easy read. It was also interesting to see a computer generated image of what the soldiers would have originally looked like when painted.



Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Army: Unearthing Ancient Worlds by Michael Capek is for those with a greater interest in archaeology and the preservation efforts being done today, peppered throughout with great photographs.









Hidden Army: Clay Soldiers of Ancient China by Jane O'Connor

This is an early reader chapter book - we did not read this book, however Natalie at Afterschool for Smarty Pants read this with her younger daughter and highly recommends it. You can read her post reviewing this book and their exploration of terracotta soldiers here. 





Watch a video:

The following National Geographic video offers a 5 minute snapshot of the terracotta warriors:



Do a craft:

The girls made their own terracotta soldiers, using air dry "Mexican" clay.


The girls sculpted their soldiers around a bamboo skewer - which was quite helpful when the clay dried since both their heads became detached from the bodies!Just snip the skewer top before they are set to dry, that way if the top of the head needs readjusting, the clay will still be malleable. 




Read more about the infamous First Emperor of China in our post here, and learn about his obsession with immortality.



You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:

You can find more creative, educational and kid friendly activities at the following linkups:

Highhill Homeschool


10 comments:

  1. I love your girls soldiers, they are so well done! And great tip re. skewer and head. Where have you been all these years?? Such a simple tip-how did I not figure that out myself- our heads always fall off! (we make lots of models from all the different cultures we cover and they all become headless!)

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    1. I'm pretty impressed by the soldiers - this was their first time sculpting a person, and they had a great time making them - Pea spent hours working on head and torso, then decided she'd had enough and quickly put the rest together :) The skewers were a fluke - the girls just found it easier to sculpt around them!

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  2. Wow, your girls did really well with Terracotta Warriors! I highly recommend The Emperor's Hidden Army for younger kids - we really enjoyed it here.

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    1. Thanks Natalie - I'll add the book, it's nice to have an option for younger kids.

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  3. The soldiers they made are fantastic. They are quite artistic. As always, I love this post.

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  4. We studied this for history two years ago and I am amazed every time I see pictures of this underground army. I love the craft you did to go along with the study.

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    1. Thank you! The underground army is pretty astounding, isn't it?

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  5. My kids would love to make terracotta warriors.

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    1. The girls really enjoyed working with clay.

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