Introducing the Indus River Valley and the River Road

Are you ready for some map fun? 

This project started as a simple Map Trace.  But my boy was so fascinated with his map and the Indus River Valley, that our project simply grew and grew and I think you'll enjoy what we did here.

As you know, if you are following along with us, we are reading through the wonderful Classical Homeschooling History study called "Story of the World, Volume 1".  We have studied Egypt and Mesopotamia, and now we have reached the Indus River Valley and Chapter Nine.

A classical study of history usually builds on previous information learned.  So to introduce the Indus River Valley, we began with this map, (and for context) the "Fashions from India" coloring book from Dover Publications.

To give an idea of the clothing and the people we would be learning about, I pulled out the Coloring Book and we talked about the clothing that the Indus Valley people wore.

 Since it was India and the weather was intensely hot, they didn't need a whole lot.  Then, to build upon our previous knowledge (Egypt and Mesopotamia), we pulled out our map.

This map shows Egypt, Jerusalem, the land of the Tigris and Euphrates, basically everything Story of the World has covered up to Chapter Nine.  And, we included the Indus Valley and the country of India.   

(I'll be offering this map in an Indus Valley History packet for free, so if you are just finding us, be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don't miss this or any of our freebies!)  

Before we even read Chapter Nine, I handed this map to my son.  We talked about the basics, like what was land and what was water.  I pointed out the cities that we had already learned about.  We talked about how all the cities we had studied so far were right beside rivers. 

This was the introduction I wanted to offer him before we even began reading, because it built on the information he already had been given and prepared him for all the delightful questions that this chapter would ask. I also pointed out the rivers of the Indus Valley and introduced him to the Indian cities that archaeologists have discovered (Mohenjo-Daro and Harrappa).

Then, I taped the map to a window, with a blank piece of paper taped over the top.  This is the old trick to use when you don't have tracing paper handy or don't wish to use tracing paper. 

My son took his time and did an excellent job tracing his map.  While he drew, I read aloud the first half of Chapter Nine from Story of the World. 

Next, he decided to outline his drawing with a black pen. 

Here's an additional note:  Not every six year old will be this fascinated with a map project.  My boy was loving every step of this process.  If your child is satisfied with drawing the map on the window, maybe you'll want to stop there.  As you probably know, when you find where a child's interest is sparked, you kinda want to keep stoking the fire...So we just kept on going. 

At this point in our project my son told me, "I want to make my map look like it is really old!!!"  

So we went for it:

How to Make a Map Look Old

To do this, here's what you will need:

                        *  Two Tea Bags (preferably black tea)
                        *  Maybe a Tablespoon of coffee or coffee dregs
                        *  3 T hot water
Important NOTE:  If you are outlining your map in black:   Test your pen in advance to make sure the ink doesn't bleed all over the paper when you get the paper wet.  Some will and it will make a terribly messy and disappointing finished product.

Let the above ingredients soak for awhile.  You only need enough liquid to douse a crumpled ball of paper in, but the important part is that your tea bags have had time to really soak in the water, because this is where the map gets its "old" color.

My son crumpled up his map into a nice wadded ball and dropped it into our coffee/tea mixture.  He made sure it was all wet and then took it out.

Then, he squeezed the liquid out.  The next step is the one your child will need to be *VERY* careful on:  unpeeling the crumpled ball so that becomes a flat piece of paper again.  The paper is tender and delicate, now that it has soaked.  It will tear very easily.  But a careful job will make it turn out like this:

If you don't want perfect edges, this is the time to carefully tear along the outside of the map, to give it that torn, old paper look. We set it outside to dry in the sun. 

My son was again, very inspired with his ancient looking map.  He wanted to do something with this awesome map he had created.  So, we came up with something.

To begin with, we turned a rolled up T-shirt into a turban.  Then, we found a cardboard box.  Story of the World does such a wonderful job discussing the "River Road" of the Indus peoples, that I tried to recreate a boat that was somewhat similar to what they may have used.  I had to research this...

...but in spite of the research, I'm not exactly sure if our boat (made from cardboard, duct tape, wrapping paper, little sister's tricycle and a mop) is an exact historical reproduction.  Actually, it very much isn't.  But my son did not mind in the least. 

His map is taped to the front of his box, which is why he is studiously studying it in this picture. 

We drew a rough drawing of the countries on our sidewalk with chalk, and off he went, to follow his map and trade along the Indus River Road.

I am in the process of creating an Indus River Valley Packet for those of you following along with us, and our next post will show off an excellent supplement for the second half of Chapter Nine in Story of the World:  The Story of the Quail.

Don't forget to subscribe to keep tabs on us and the fun freebies we're offering! 

No comments: