Ancient Egyptians, like members of nearly all civilizations, enjoyed games and hobbies. Egyptian children and adults played many games and took part in various activities that we still enjoy today, including listening to music, playing hockey and hunting.
Not all Egyptians had time for entertainment, but when they did, they'd spend it wisely. Ancient Egyptians enjoyed playing and listening to music. Instruments such as drums, flutes, harps and trumpets were popular, according to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Ancient Egyptians also took pleasure in watching and taking part in dancing and theater, like religious performances. For those with education, which was about 5 percent of Egyptian households, reading was a preferred past time, according to Carnegiemnh.org.
Though mostly done for survival, hunting and fishing were dominant leisure activities for the ancient Egyptians. They would hunt wild cattle, hares, gazelle and fish, among other animals, with sticks topped with sharpened spears. Ancient Egyptians would also draw, write, weave cloth and make pottery and basketry for leisure.
Outdoor games played by ancient Egyptians boys tended to be physical, while games played by girls were gentler. Hockey was a particularly popular outdoor game played by ancient Egyptians. Sticks were made from tree branches and pucks were made from papyrus layered between two pieces of leather. Other well-known outdoor games played by ancient Egyptians include wrestling, tug-of-war, swimming, running, fencing and gymnastics.
Indoor games such as marbles, ball games and dolls were preferred by young children, especially children of poor families because these toys could be made from natural products, such as wood, clay, ivory and papyrus. Children also enjoyed activities with little organization, like playing with pets.
Board games were widely communal forms of recreation among ancient Egyptians. Senet was probably the most popular amid ancient Egyptians, especially among adults and royal families. This game consisted of a board with 30 squares and seven pieces that moved around the board to land on certain squares. Each square was marked with a good or bad fortune. Senet eventually took on a religious importance, according to Touregypt.net.
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