Ancient Rome: Entertainment for Children

Today, when we get bored, we might play a video game, watch a DVD or go to an amusement park, but what did people do before there were any of these luxuries? In this article, we will take a look at some of the things that individuals during ancient Roman times did to help pass the time.


First, we will explore some of the ways that children helped to ease boredom in a world that never saw the likes of the Super Mario Brothers or the Power Rangers. When it came to toys, the main options were kites, hobbyhorses, balls, board games, as well as small models of people and animals. Ancient Roman children liked to play with hoops. These hoops had pieces of metal on them, such as bells, which were jingled.


Tic-tac-toe was also played during these times, as well as a game referred to as “knucklebones.” This game is similar to jacks, but the only difference is that instead of metal jacks and a rubber ball, these children used bones instead.


Just like today, boys and girls had various activities that were popular among their particular gender. For example, young boys passed the time by walking on stilts, as well as invented games that involved a ball. Games that involved war-like scenarios were also popular. They acted out war scenes and went after one another, fighting with swords made from wood. Sometimes, these mock battles became quite intense. A game, known as Troy, was created where teams tried to drag one another across a line. Sometimes it was played in teams, while other times it could be a team against an individual.


Girls, on the other hand, played with rag dolls, as well as figures made from wax or clay. Curiously, these dolls even displayed legs and arms that possessed joints. Board games and ball games were also something that young ladies found interest in.


Games were a popular pastime when it came to ancient Rome. Children would spend hours building model houses, as well as innovatively attaching mice to small carts and watching them run about. Riding a hobbyhorse was also entertainment for the children.


Sometimes, toys and games just would not do and a companion was needed to keep a child company or provide entertainment. Whereas the dog is a common and favorite pet among children of today, it was also the same during ancient Roman times. But there were other pets common during this time that we would not necessary invite into our homes. Where we choose parakeets, parrots and canaries to grace out presence within the household, pigeons, ducks, geese and quail made pets for ancient Roman children. Sometimes there was even the occasional pet monkey, although it was not as common.


During ancient Roman times, children who came from a wealthy upbringing had hours and hours of playtime throughout the day. Since they had slaves to do the chores that children today are responsible for, they had nothing to do but dream up the next game or activity to help pass the time.