Children in Ancient Egypt

Children were at the heart of the family in Egypt and they were cherished by their parents. If a couple was unable to have children or lost children at an early age they were encouraged to adopt.

Many babies died before reaching the age of one and more children died before the age of five.

Raising children in Ancient Egypt was not easy.

Babies were carried by their mothers in slings and nursed for three or four years. Babies and young children would wear amulets for religious and magic purposes to protect them from illness and accident.

As children grew they were taught to be honest, kind and respectful and to look after their elders.

Egyptian children were educated, the wealthy either going to school or being taught by tutors. They would learn to read and write and were taught maths and science. Other children would be taught at home and their education would be limited to reading and writing. Most education was for boys only. The girls were mainly taught to spin, weave and cook.

As child mortality was common in Egypt, children were encouraged to play games that improved their strength and agility, as this could help fight infection. They played outdoor games such as leapfrog, wrestling, soldiers and dancing. They also played with marbles, spinning tops, board games, wooden dolls and animal toys.

toys

A boy from the age of four would be trained to follow in his fathers footsteps and from the age of fourteen would accompany his father about his daily work, therefore he would learn a trade or profession depending on the social standing of his father and the position he held.

Girls stayed at home to learn the management of the household from their mother’s.

Children were also known to have pets in Egypt, and the most common of these were cats. They were popular as they were very good at killing mice and rats in the house.

 

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