Of course, the Romans had something that rattled for baby... the Crepundia. This was a string or leather lace strung with small toys and ornaments in the form of flowers, swords, axes and other tools, and lucky charm shapes, like a half moon. The resulting necklace was hung around a baby's neck to amuse him with their shapes, colors and rattling sounds.
Of course, all a kid needed to do was have a ball and a stick and he'd make up a game. If he didn't have a ball, a rock or pine cone would do. When I was a boy we played stickball with an old broomstick and a cheap 10 cent pink ball called a Spalding (Spaldeen, we called it). Even thousands of years ago kids had games similar to field hockey or baseball or basketball. Borrow a basket from Mom (while she wasn't looking), start tossing some pine cones, and the fun would ensue.
For doodling, my 13 year-old uses an electronic "wax board", the Boogie Board--on Amazon.
- Boys were raised by their mother until age seven, and then turned over to their father to a trade
- Children of the rich and politically powerful attended a youth gymnasium
- Poor children went out to work and became apprentices in various industries
- Slave children were also able to become apprentices
- Girls stayed at home to learn domestic chores, with some exceptions
- Wealthy children belonged to groups similar to modern scouting, to help them become good citizens
- Wealthy boys over 12 attended a secondary school until age 16.
- Girls did not receive formal education.
Romans were great dog-lovers and had several popular breeds to choose from: hunting hounds, ratters and other small breeds that were bred for companionship and to keep their masters' feet warm in bed. Romans also loved birds, evidenced by various types shown domestic scenes in frescoes and mosaics.
The odd thing is, cats were not liked in the Roman world, and even though might have helped rid them of rodents, were themselves thought of as pests. (Perhaps it's the Roman in me, because I feel the same way when roaming cats spray and stink up in my garden.)
There are also mosaics showing children with pet goats hitched to child-sized carts, and even mice harnessed to miniature toy wagons. Unlike Italians of today, who tend to take a more practical view of animals, Romans loved their animals dearly. For example, modern Italians don't like to spend a lot of money on their pets--not even vets. Ancient frescoes and sculptures show Romans treating their pets as if they were members of the family. The dogs must have felt the same way, becoming protectors of their families, as illustrated by the many Cane Cavem (Beware of Dog) mosaics found at the portals of Roman homes.
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