I was delighted to hear that the Genghis Khan exhibit would be coming to the Irving Arts Center for a few months. I didn’t know much about this man but I knew that he was a force to be reckoned with in history. The exhibit at the Irving Arts Center is top-notch and presents a vast amount of information in such a delightful but realistic way that I truly felt like I was there, in ancient Mongolia.
Genghis Khan was an incredible conqueror. His dynasty conquered three times more land than the Roman Empire during their reign. But he also had great creativity and a passion for the Arts. Genghis Khan is credited with early inventions of such things as pants, the fork, a postal delivery service, and the concept of diplomatic immunity, just to name a few.
She Is Dallas info: The Genghis Khan exhibit will be at the Irving Arts Center through September 30, 2011. The Irving Arts Center is located at 3333 North MacArthur Blvd. in Irving, Texas. For more information, please call them at 972.252.ARTS or visit the Irving Arts Center website. You can also follow Irving Arts Center Facebook and Irving Arts Center Twitter. She is Dallas is working with the Irving Arts Center to get the word out about this exhibit.
I wasn’t quite sure if the exhibit would be fun for my children. But now that we’ve been, I am so glad that we went as a family. The exhibit is about much more than just Genghis Khan, his battles, and his conquests. We learned about the day to day life in ancient Mongolia including what people wore, what their houses were like, what kinds of food they ate, and even how the children played games.
Yes, we learned about games at the Genghis Khan exhibit!
One of the games that we really learned a lot about is called Knucklebones. There wasn’t many games available to the children of this era but, as children often do, they created their own fun with things that they had access to around them.
One of those things were the knucklebones of sheep. The knucklebones were used like dice. They have four different and unique sides that they might land on when tossed. Each side has similarities to an animal that was important in their time such as the horse, sheep, camel, and goat.
Although there were several different Knucklebones type games created, one that we learned about at the exhibit was a sort of fortune telling game. The player would roll four knucklebones like dice and see which animals appeared. If the player got all four of the knucklebones showing the same animal facing up then they would have really good fortune to come. If they got three of the same animal and one that was unique then they would have a so-so fortune to look forward to. There were some various combinations of how the knucklebones might land and how that might affect the player’s fortune.
A few days after we had seen the Genghis Khan exhibit, the kids were outside playing with chalk and I heard Nicholas say something about Genghis Khan. Apparently he had created a game where he and Rachel would throw rocks into a chalk-drawn circle and get points. I love that they had created a game out of things that they had readily available – chalk and rocks – just like the children of Genghis Khan’s day would have done.
We talked some more about the game over the next day or so as they played it again outside. I asked Nicholas what parts he really liked about the knucklebone game. He listed the four different animals that were used in the game (he loves animals) and that the player would have more luck if the knucklebones landed all the same way. He thought that was neat. As we talked more about it, we decided to make our own knucklebone-style game.
Nicholas decided to use tops to gallon milk jugs as the dice. I have a ton of these that I save for my two year old to use in practicing her colors and for playing sorting games with her. These were easily available. I also had some felt from the days when I had time to be crafty so we pulled that out to make a game board. We found some free clipart online and I used iron-on transfer sheets to copy the images of the four animals onto pieces of felt.
Nicholas created the rules for his game. He decided that each player would get four milk jug tops. The player tosses the lids towards the animals and gets a point each time the top lands on an animal. It’s harder than you might think because these pesky little plastic tops will bounce and even roll if they land on their side. Nicholas decided that if the player tosses one lid on each of the four animals then he gets 2 extra points. Plus, if the player’s milk jug tops all land facing up or all facing down then the player can double his points.
I love hands-on games like this but especially when my children have the opportunity to use their imaginations to actually help create the game. And it makes me proud that they pulled this idea from the Genghis Khan exhibit using materials we had on hand while highlighting four animals that were important to the ancient Mongolians.