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At-Home Anthropology

Hands-on Projects for Families

Looking for engaging activities thatkids (and their adults!) can do athome? At-Home Anthropology offers a selection of simple projects for learners of different ages to explore their home environments in meaningful ways. Look for new activities to be added here everyweek–and we’ll announce them on social media.

Share your family’s completed projects by tagging @PennMuseum on our Facebook or Instagram!

And find even more activity ideas, recipes, and crafts on our Pinterest!

I Am Poem

Be inspired to write poetry by studying everyday objects in your house.

What’s For Lunch

Decode the continents where your lunch foods were traditionally grown and eaten.

Build It! Challenge

Try to create the ancient structure below using only materials found around where you live.

I spy... an artifact

I spy... an artifact! Use our clues to find the mystery artifacts in your own home, in our Online Collections, and on our Virtual Tours.

What's In The Bag?

For this activity, challenge yourself to create a drawing using only your sense of touch.

Mancala

Make and Play: Mancala

Mancala is an ancient game from Africa. Originally played by digging shallow holes in the ground, today it is played around the world using wooden boards.

A made up legendary creature

Create a Legendary Creature

The Chinese dragon is a legendary mythological creature, made from parts of animals we know from the real world. Identify what animals make up the dragon and then create you own legendary creature using parts of animals you choose.

A homemade mosaic

Make A Roman-Style Mosaic

A mosaic is a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces. The ancient Romans used tesserae, which were uniformly cut cubes of colored stone. You can make your own Roman-style mosaic at home!

A made up legendary creature

My Chimera

Many ancient cultures use animals in their mythologies, sometimes combining different animal features into one powerful being. Make your own "chimera" animal using the features of three animals of your choosing!

Drawings and descriptions of a person

Museum of Me

A museum exhibit displays a group of objects together to help tell a story. These stories can be about people, places, events, or themes. What would be in a museum about you? Design your own personal museum exhibit.

A homemade weaving

Weaving

This project was inspired by the Chancay Weaver Daily Dig. Follow the instructions to create your own loom using found materials and make your own woven masterpiece.

A tree scavenger hunt

Tree Scavenger Hunt

Did you know archaeologists are also interested in nature? Use this scavenger hunt to explore your environment and study the trees that you find.

A model house made of cardboard

Create a Model House

Observe your house and the homes in your neighborhood to understand their unique features. Then, build your own house using cardboard and paper, using the Han house in the Museum’s collection as inspiration.

Impressions being made in clay

Make Your Own Cuneiform Tablet

Use simple kitchen materials and a chopstick to learn how to make cuneiform tablets and practice one of the earliest written languages.

A model house made of cardboard

Sort it Out

By sorting, Archaologists put artifacts into categories based on what is similar about them.

Impressions being made in clay

Mummified Fruits & Veggies

Mummify plants at home! Use our recipe to mix natron and keep track of how long it takes to create a fruit or veggie mummy of your own.

Pomo basket and drawing

Designing Pomo Baskets

Learn more about Pomo Baskets, as well as the patterns and materials used. Try your best to finish the pattern on a basket, and then design your own sun basket.

A paper incantation bowl

Make an Incantation Bowl

After watching Ph.D. student Bridget Keslinke’s Digital Daily Dig, we were inspired to create our own incantation bowls using regular household materials: paper and markers. Ourbowlfocuses on health. Get inspiration from our collection, then create your own!

Painting

Paint Like the Ancients

Have you ever wondered how ancient people added color to their sculpture, walls, or art? Find out more about what natural substances make particular colors and make your own paints at home! Raid your spice cabinets and even your yard to find all the ingredients for this project.

chalk sundial

Sidewalk Sundials

Sundials use shadows to tell time and have been used by people for thousands of years. Participate in this activity to use the sun, your shadow, and some sidewalk chalk to create human sundials.

Drama Masks

Make a Drama Mask

Greek drama masks, or prosopon, were very popular in ancient Greece. Create your own set of drama masks using regular household items and your choice of facial expressions.

A man wearing a toga

Dress Like a Roman

The toga was a special piece of clothing worn by the Roman citizen. Step into the sandals of a an ancient Roman by learning to tie your own toga.

Cylinder Seals

Make a Lasting Impression

Create your own cylinder seal, inspired by the ancient artifacts from Mesopotamia. These seals acted like a signature, unique to the person using the seal. What words, pictures, or symbols will you use to create your seal?

A South Asian statuette

Make a South Asian Statuette

Learn more about how statuettes are created. Follow along as we model our own statuettes out of clay, inspired by South Asian artifacts in our collection.

A homemade Roman coin

Making a Roman Inspired Coin

What are the images on your money? Be emperor for the day by creating your own Roman-inspired coin and understand more about the symbols on coins of ancient times and now.

A homemade Egyptian Cartouche

DIY Egyptian Cartouche

Practice writing like an ancient Egyptian and create a wearable cartouche to display your work for all to see.

A homemade museum display

Make a Museum Label

What stories do your favorite objects tell? How did they come into your life and when were they made? Join us to write your own mini-museum labels about the things you find in or around your home.

A drawing of a pig

Explore the Zodiac Animals

Explore the Zodiac animals using artifacts from the Penn Museum’s collection. Then, tap into your creative side to draw the animal from your own birth year.