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Whilst our baby's have a few toys that were never conceived in our childhood, a surprising number of toys and games that we are familiar with were evident in Roman times! Because Roman toys were made from perishable materials such as wood and clay, few have survived to the present, but archaeologists have pieced together Roman childhood from what remains have been discovered as well as depicitions in art and from writings that have survived.
Roman babies enjoyed rattles; toddlers played with dolls and animals fashioned from wood, wax and clay. Older children enjoyed many boardgames that are still played today such as Tic Tac Toe, Chess, Backgammon and Checkers. Despite its Latin name, Ludo is a more recent invention!
Outdoors, Roman children would play with go-carts, little chariots pulled by pet dogs, scooters, hoops, see-saws and swings. They would play marbles using nuts, and used small bones to play a game similar to Jacks. Just like today, many toys from Roman times fulfilled the dual role of entertaining whilst educating.
I wonder how many toys that our children play with today will still be recognised in 2,000 years from now?!
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