Toys and Recreation in Ancient Mesopotamia Illustration

Ancient Mesopotamia for Kids
Toys, Games, and Recreation

The ancient Mesopotamian people worked very hard.  They worshiped their gods every day.  But they also left time for play.

Board Games: The ancient Sumerians played with board games.  The games were usually made out of clay.  usually, the board games had pieces to them that either were thrown or moved around the board. The Sumerians are credited with the invention of the game checkers. Some games used dice. 

One game was called 20 squares.  It was a race across the squares using dice.  There was another game called 58 holes.  Various pieces were moved into the holes and around the board.  The rules of these games are not clear, but what it clear is that these early people invented board games. These games were played by both rich and poor.

Toys included bows and arrows, sling shots, boomerangs, throw sticks, spinning tops, rattles, jump ropes, hoops, and balls for juggling and other games.  Kids played house using miniature pieces of furniture, beds, tables, stools, dolls, and small animals.  They also had little model vehicles of carts and chariots with wheels that could be pulled on a string.  They had miniature boats that could float.

Button Buzz: They played a game we call buzz button or button buzz.  You can play button buzz today if you wish.  To play button buzz, first you need to make a round circle out of clay, put a hole in it as if you were going to use it for a necklace, and let it dry.  Then you hang it with a bit of rope or weed, and then, holding the rope at the very end, swing it around, faster and faster, until your clay disk makes a buzzing sound.  The trick was to make the buzz sound as loud as possible. The ancient Mesopotamians loved toys that made sounds.

Recreation: Recreation included hunting, boxing, wresting, racing, music, dancing, banquets, and story telling.

The game of checkers invented at Ur

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