Phoenician activities

It’d been a while since we had done some fun hands on stuff, so when we read about the Phoenicians I knew this was the time.  So I came up with some fun Phoenician activities.

how to build a Phoenician ship

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By far my most popular Phoenician activity was building a trading ship.


First I did a Google search of Phoenician ships, and printed off a few for us to imitate.

Next I gathered our supplies:

empty cardboard milk carton, Craft Sticks, Low Temp Mini Glue Gun {both affiliate links}, paint, wooden dowels, paint brushes, peg dolls (because my kids like them)


how to build a Phoenician ship steps

Mommy step (or trusted kid): cut off top of box completely

Mommy step 2: hot glue the front flaps together and hold for a few seconds

Mommy step 3: hot glue a couple of popsicle sticks together and then glue them into the box at about the level of the sides you cut off, it will naturally make a shelf when you put it in there.

Kiddo step: apply lots and lots of paint

Wait very impatiently for it to dry for next steps.  In the meantime if you’re decorating a few peg dolls this would be a great time.

Phoenician ship

Place the piece you cut off in the box to provide the upper deck.  Cut holes in the sides for the popsicle stick oars, and hot glue a dowel rod you’ve cut to about 4-6 inches onto the top.

Hot glue a mast and sail on (hey, normal glue takes time to dry).


Lesson behind the Phoenician ship

Because I can’t just build the ship for fun, okay I could, but I had ulterior motives.

Phoenician ship play lesson

The oars provide extra speed when the ship is becalmed or when trying to outrun pirates.

Phoenician ship lesson

Ships were usually manned by slaves who spent their time chained to the oars, imagine being the oarsmen on the lower level of oars, smelly.

Phoenician trading ship lesson

Cargo was kept below decks, protecting it from the elements.  Sailors often slept there or whatever empty space they could find.  Bunks are a relatively recent idea.

playing with toy ship

And of course at the end they spent a good hour playing with their ships, and making more and more weapons.

toy ship craft

by the end I had no pipe cleaners left, and precious few of my peg dolls.

My next Phoenician activity: translate the alphabet


I wanted them to remember how the Phoenicians were big traders, but I also wanted them to learn about their radical idea, the alphabet, a truly unique concept at the time.  After a bit of searching I found a “translate the message” Phoenician activity to give a try and show the difficulty in translating even when you know the alphabet and what it should look like.

The boys loved this, but Princess wasn’t as big of a fan.


Other Phoenician activities links I found

writing as if a sailor

recreation of a Phoenician ship


15 responses to “Phoenician activities”

  1. I love the ship! My boys would have fun with that, too.

    1. I bet they would, it’s a shame we live so far apart.

  2. What fun!!! I love the ships but the details is what makes it for me.. the men chained to the oars!!

    1. I know, the kids got a big kick out of that.

  3. Oh, yes, the ship is awesome. I can see your kids spending ours playing with them.

    1. Oh my goodness they did, and they were so disappointed the paint came off in the bath tub.

  4. maryanne @ mama smiles Avatar
    maryanne @ mama smiles

    Your trading ships are awesome! Adding this to my history board 🙂

    1. Thanks! I always get a thrill when you pin my posts.

  5. The ships would have been a big hit here, too. And, I would have joined the boys in loving the alphabet activity.

    1. Me too, I love decoding activities, one of my favorite nonfiction books as a kid was all about codes. Which reminds me I should find it for my kids who’d love it.

  6. Milk cartons were just made to be turned into ships, weren’t they? Yours are very cool. I love the pipe cleaner chains too.

    1. Thanks. Milk cartons get made into either boats or houses here, lots and lots of houses for peg dolls.

  7. Awesome – love the creativity! Thanks for linking up!

  8. […] into a general mass-building frenzy of all our building materials, the cans, the peg dolls, the Phoenician boats, our Bethlehem set.  All of it.  The entire family room was covered in their […]

  9. […] a Phoenician Ship provided by Adventures in […]

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