Archaeologists found, at Akhmim, in Egypt, a toy dated to 1st-3rd century AD. It is a small wooden horse, with traces of black and red paint. Children of almost 2000 years ago used it to play by rolling it across the floor, just like we would do nowadays.

Toys are an important element of childcare, and an example of objects thought for the entertainment and the wellbeing of a part of the community – children, in this case. Ancient toys include small figures of soldiers, animals or carts, as well as balls. These could be made out of linen, wool or leather and filled with feathers. Sculptures also picture children playing with nuts, and several sets of knucklebones survive.

Artist: Jennifer Martin

An archaeologist holding up the toy horse and thinking about someone using it

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Credit: Jennifer Martin and Open Past

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