Building a Ziggurat

by | Feb 20, 2009 | Ancient History, Connecting With History: Vol I, Crafts, History | 6 comments

This year the boys have been studying Ancient History. Even though we haven’t had a whole lot of time to devote to History this year, the boys have really been enjoying listening to the books and starting their own Book of Centuries.

They have been begging to do another History art project though, so the other day I handed them Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide and asked them to choose a project. They decided to build a ziggurat.

A ziggurat was a terraced pyramid several stories high. It is thought they were first built around 2500 BC by the ancient Sumerians, who lived in a region which now forms part of southern Iraq. The ziggurat was the tallest and most important building in a Sumerian city. The temple priests would walk up long rows of stairs to get from one level to the next.

Anyhow, it ended up being fairly easy to build. Here are the materials we used:

  • Empty rectangular boxes of a variety of sizes (we used a tomato sauce box, a cereal box, a hot cocoa box and an empty box of tea)
  • Glue (we also used a bit of tape)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Craft or Tempera paint, brown
  • Measuring Spoon & Cup
  • Cornmeal
  • Permanent Marker

The boys stacked the boxes and, with daddy’s help, hot glued them together. Next they painted the boxes brown.

After the first coat was dry, they made a mixture of cornmeal and paint (1 TBS of cornmeal to every 1/8 cup of paint) and added a second coat which gave texture to the walls of the ziggurat. When it was all dry they added stairs up the side and a door at the top.

The boys had a lot of fun building their ziggurat, and they are already asking, “What can we make next!!??”


  1. Regina

    ive never heard of a tomato sauce box . . . ive only seen it come in a can.

    super cool job boys.

    rascal, good luck tomorrow! i know youll do great!!

  2. Jessica Gordon

    I shop at Costco too much!! 😉 Our tomato sauce (cans) come in a box. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    That is awesome! My oldest studied ancient history in 1st grade, and we made one out of sugar cubes glued together… and she got to snitch some, too, of course. Yours looks much more realistic! Thanks for such great ideas! I am just about to check out your lenten calendar and Jesus tree. I may not get them completed for this year, but one has to start somewhere. Thanks again. You always have such great ideas!

  4. Erin

    We did this one too! Well done boys, looks great:)

  5. Sarah

    Looks like fun! It reminds me of a project I did when I was little (fourth grade I believe) where we built a California mission out of sugar cubes . . . 🙂


    PS – I buy my tomato paste and canned tomatoes at Costco too! 🙂

  6. Aubrey

    How neat! I love the idea of mixing the paint with cornmeal. That would give it amazing texture! We’re going to have to try that soon!


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