Ancient Egypt for Kids
Children in ancient Egypt were cherished. That does not mean they could misbehave and get away with it. Rather the opposite was true. Boys were considered to be troublemakers, whether they were or not, and ancient Egyptian parents believed boys needed a firm hand to grow up strong and capable. Girls had an easier time of it, but they too had to behave and listen to their parents. All kids learned about the Egyptian gods and goddesses. Children were taught why it was important to keep their hearts light by doing good deeds. If a couple could not have children, adoption was encouraged. Kids had homes in ancient Egypt. No child was left to raise themselves.
Since everyone had a job in ancient Egypt, until about age 5 a child's job was to learn how to talk and walk and play. Both boys and girls were encouraged to play games that developed strength and agility. Girls also had dolls to help them learn how to take care of children and their future home. Some dolls were very lifelike with extra sets of clothing.
Parents also had their children wear charms and amulets to protect them. Children were loved. They were well taken of. They did not go hungry. Still, the death toll was high for children. Due to disease and dangerous animals, about 1/3 of the children born in ancient Egypt did not live to see their 1st birthday. Out of those who survived, about 1/2 did not live to see their 5th birthday.
After age 5, their job was to learn. Children of the very rich were taught math, science, reading, and writing by tutors or slaves. Most kids were taught at home by their parents how to be good farmers, craftsmen, or homemakers. Play remained an important part of their lives. Kids played with marbles, balls, spinning tops, and always games of strength and agility, to keep the children as fit as possible. Work and play were combined, so that work was something enjoyed by the children. Another activity enjoyed by the whole family, including the kids, was making grave goods.
There is no exact age when children became adults, but around age 12 to 16, girls typically married. Boys were a little older. But there was no rush or push for children to marry young. If they wanted to wait a year or two, that was fine. Occasionally, someone might wish not to marry at all. That was fine, too, as long as they had a job.
One of the jobs kids had when they grew up was to look after their elderly parents. When their parents died, sons inherited the land and the house. Daughters inherited the household goods, which included jewelry, furniture, and anything else in the house. If there were no sons to inherit, the daughters inherited the land, the house, and everything in it.