What people would consider as more modern types of play can be traced back as far as 3,000 years ago to the games and toys that people of the ancient empires played with. The toys that the Greeks and Roman’s played with don’t vary by much from what kinds of toys kids continue to play with today. There are some toys that seem to be simply timeless, and you’ll find that a lot of the toys and game that kids today play have been played by every generation before them.All kinds of games and toys have been found that illustrate a picture of the kinds of fun that ancients Roman kids, and adults, used to have. It’s well known that kids of the ancient Roman empire liked to play fight. Wooden swords, shields, and horses, have been found all over archaeological sites that point to kids mimicking their future as soldiers for the army.
Wooden, clay, and even wax dolls have been found as well. There seem to be a few things, like playing with dolls and playing war games, which kids throughout history will do. Young minds want to mimic their heroes, and the heroes of the Roman Empire were the great fighters and the adventurers. With the toys the kids could emulate and play out the situations and experiences they would have when they grow up.
Another toy that kids of the Roman Empire played was a game of stick and hoop called Trochus. It’s easy to draw a mental picture of what the toy was like and the kind of games they played, because it was as simple as pushing a large metal hoop around with a stick. It is probably reminiscent of the a game that grandfathers often sit and tell their children of.
Board games were also popular as well around the ancient world. A game similar to tic-tac-toe has been found etched into the walls and floors of the forum in Rome. In India, games similar to modern checkers and chess have been found. And in Mesopotamia, a game with rules similar to backgammon, has a version that is still being played today.
But, the most popular form of play was dolls and war. Boys acted out the great events told in story of the great heroes of their culture, and girls played with dolls mimicking the things they saw women do in their culture, like child-rearing. Whether their heroes are from their myth, lore, or home, they had dolls or toys that allowed them to recreate the things they would one day do.
Throughout history, the quality and quantity of toys has increased, but there are toys that are as timeless as play itself. Children of today have all kinds of dolls, action figures, and toy guys, but in the end, they’re just acting out their hopes and aspirations. Even if they’re playing with the newest astronaut toy or car, they aren’t just different than a child on the steps of the Roman forum playing with swords or a cart toy.