Lesson 6: Daily Life in Egypt

Getting Started

In previous lessons, you learned a great deal about pharaohs and priests. But their lives were very different from the lives of everyday Egyptians. In this lesson, you'll learn more about the daily lives of Egyptian families.

Stuff You Need

  • Ancient Civilizations by Joseph Fullman (DK Eyewitness)
  • art materials
  • colored pencils, crayons, or markers
  • paper or cardstock
  • scissors
  • tape, glue stick, or glue

Ideas to Think About

  • How did the environment (landforms, locations, natural resources, and climate) influence the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • How were the cultures of the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt similar to or different from one another?

Things to Know

  • The Nile was an important resource for the people of ancient Egypt, providing water for crops and an important means of transportation.
  • Daily life for people in ancient Egypt depended greatly on the status of the individual or family. People in high-status positions, such as scribes or skilled craftsmen, were given greater respect and paid more for their work than laborers who worked in less-skilled positions.


  • Analyze the development of early civilizations in Africa, c. 8000 BCE to 600 CE. (SS)
  • Trace the development and assess the achievements in the arts, sciences, and technology of early river civilizations, including those around the Nile (Egypt) and Tigris-Euphrates (Mesopotamia) rivers. (SS)
  • Analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. (SS)
  • Locate and describe the major river systems and discuss the physical settings that supported permanent settlement and early civilizations. (SS)
  • Trace the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power. (SS)
  • Trace the evolution of language in its written forms. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson, your child will explore the daily lives of average ancient Egyptians — the scribes, craftsmen, farmers, laborers, and families who did the daily work that supplied the empire with its basic needs, built the temples and tombs ordered by rulers, and enabled the government to function.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Ancient Civilizations by Joseph Fullman (DK Eyewitness)
Re-read pp. 14-15 of Ancient Civilizations and then answer these questions.
  1. Why was the Nile River so important to the lives of ancient Egyptians?
    The river provided rich soil for farming and was used for fishing and transporting goods. Papyrus that grew on the banks of the river were used in many items, such as paper and mats, that Egyptians used in their everyday lives.
  2. What is hieroglyphics?
    Hieroglyphics is the writing system created by the Egyptians using pictures to represent words and sounds.
  3. What were the houses, food, and clothing for ordinary Egyptians like?
    They lived in houses made of mud bricks, ate bread and porridge, and dressed in linen clothing.