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

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Click here to learn more about what this license means

Thiss means you are free to: Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format; Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material. As long as you: Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made; ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

Credit: Jennifer Martin and Open Past

Want more images?

We will be publishing more images in the coming months. If you would like to be alerted when they are published, please subscribe below.

Consider Donating

All images are FREE, thanks to our funders. If you enjoyed them and want to help us make more please consider donating. Our goal is to get 100 people to donate 5 $ or £ or € month so that we can commission new drawings each month.

Progress: 3 of 100

Click the donate button and either give a one off donation or sign up for monthly donations. Please leave your email in the notes so we can thank you. Any help is appreciated. Thank you!