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Creation Myths: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelley Vessels

Shelley has taught at the middle school level for 10 years and has a master's degree in teaching English.

For as long as people have been around, they've wondered how the earth, its people, and its animals came to be. Cultures explained this through elaborate stories called myths, and this lesson covers two such creation myths.

What Is a Myth?

Before the times of information being accessible from a simple swipe on your phone, the people of ancient cultures passed down stories - or myths - to explain things like beliefs, cultural traditions, and history. They often involved magical beings or heroes.

What Are Creation Myths?

Creation myths explain how the universe, the earth, the earth's inhabitants, or different aspects in nature came to be. Each culture had its own variant of a creation myth, and each explains similar concepts in very different ways.

Let's take a peek at a sampling of creation myths from different cultures. Remember that since these are very old stories, there may be several versions.

The Chinese Cosmic Egg

A long, long time ago there was a special egg that held the 'opposites' to everything in nature: light and dark, wet and dry, hot and cold. Along with the 'opposites,' in the egg, there was a giant named Phan Ku. Phan Ku was a peculiar-looking character who was covered in hair with horns coming out of his head and tusks out of his face. Not exactly a supermodel!

Phan Ku proved too strong for the eggshell, and broke out of it one day. Once free, he separated all of the opposite pairs and spread them throughout the globe. However, Phan Ku's work wasn't done. The giant took his enormous chisel (he is a giant after all) to carve out the land's mountains and oceans.

Even though Phan Ku was a giant, he still continued to grow for the rest of his life. It is said that he grew three meters for every year that he was alive - and that was 18,000 years! Quick math: How many meters did he grow? Answer: Phan Ku grew an additional 54,000 meters -yikes!

Because Phan Ku was a mortal, there came a time when he did die. However, his impact on the world didn't cease. His breath turned into the wind, his skull shaped the sky, his flesh turned into the soil, and his blood became the rivers. And, get this: the fleas on his body turned into humans! Yuck!

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