Kids will be Kids, even in ancient Rome.
Learn about Roman family life, lead your children into aspects of life for a Roman kids, what it would have been like to living in such a society and encourage your child to use imagination as well as introduce them to a Roman world.
Although childhood in ancient Rome did not last as long as it does for most kids today, ancient Roman children enjoyed similar toys and games and many of which have modern parallels today.
The Romans had something for baby: a Crepundia, or Noisemaker. This was a baby's neck, made of string or leather lace strung with small toys and ornaments of different shapes and colours to amuse him and to make an entertaining sound for the baby. It was used to identify babies who got misplaced.
Dolls of all sorts were popular as well which were made of clay, cloth, bone, ivory, and precious idols of gold, silver, jewels, and other metals. (Roman dolls find in their tombs was articulated doll bodies with clothes).
Many first toys used by plebeian children (working class children) were made from things found in nature: stones, sticks, clay, acorns, straw, pine cones or husks made into primitive dolls. Roman toddlers loved games with dice, which were made from sheep’s bones; games with balls (balls made from reeds and linen, pig's bladder); board games; rolling a wheel with a stick as well as they used to build toys with terracotta and wood.
In the Ancient Rome we can also find the predecessors of blindman's buff, hide-and-seek, jackstones, tic-tac-toe and hopscotch and it was also a game called Tabula that was very similar to backgammon of today. Kids had games similar to field hockey or baseball or basketball and swimming was very popular for Roman boys.
The Romans also had yo-yos, sling, kites and put up swings between columns or trees for their children and chess.
Ancient Roman children also pretended to be grown-ups and dressed up like soldiers or emperors or gladiators. Boys were considered adults usually at sixteen and their parents often organised a party to celebrate this special occasion. This party is a ceremony marked a boy's passing into adulthood, they discarded the crimson-bordered toga (toga praetexta) of a child and donned the pure white toga of a man. Unlike the girls whose only coming of age celebration was their wedding, sometimes as young as twelve. An interesting fact is that when Greek and Roman girls, "came of age" (at 12-14 years old) it was customary for them to sacrifice the toys of their childhood to the gods. On the eve of their wedding, young girls around fourteen would offer their dolls in a temple as a rite of passage into adulthood.
Children from well off families were sent to privately tutors while most children from common social backgrounds were educated at home. And what they were learning to read and write was, of course, Latin as well as math. A girl's formal education was cut short because a girl married early and there was much to learn of home management.
Also children of the rich and politically powerful attended a youth gymnasium (for physical and general education). There were certain marked differences between the rich and poor children of ancient Rome, these, in fact, they have to lend a helping hand to their fathers in work and did not receive any kind of education.
The most important virtues for a Roman child to acquire were reverence for the gods, respect for the law, unquestioning and instant obedience to authority, truthfulness, and self-reliance.