Ancient Egyptian games allowed people of all ages to relax and have fun. The games created in ancient Egypt were a combination of skill and luck.
There were specific ancient Egyptian games for adults and children as well as group games that were played by everyone.
In ancient Egypt rich families had more time for leisure while poorer families still enjoyed playing games, although they had less leisure time.
Ancient Egyptian games for children included playing outside. Homes in ancient Egypt were cramped with little space, dim and packed with family members.
Children played a variety of games outside that helped them stay physically fit. Ancient Egyptian children would run races against each other and there were jumping games for both length and height.
They also went swimming in the Nile River where most children were accomplished in the crawl and breast strokes. Other ancient Egyptian games for boys included wrestling and boxing.
Ancient Egyptian girls enjoyed dancing in a circle performing dances such as pressing the grapes. All children in ancient Egypt liked to play leapfrog, hopscotch and tug of war.
Both ancient Egyptian girls and boys enjoyed playing games with homemade balls. Balls were constructed from a variety of materials like papyrus and leather before being stuffed with straw.
Ball games included juggling as well as throwing balls back and forth to each other.
Ancient Egyptian games for children also included a form of modern day jacks. Children would use small animal knucklebones, small stones or objects made from clay. Dice were made from a variety of materials too like clay, rocks and bones.
Ancient Egyptian games for adults involved many types of board games. The most popular board game in ancient Egypt was Senet.
Numerous tombs of past pharaohs have paintings depicting people playing Senet while relaxing on pillows. Each person had five pieces to move off the board and colored sticks were used like dice.
The game was played by two people on a board that were ornately carved or just drawn in the dirt. Senet is considered to be the oldest board game still being played today by people.
Another popular game with adults was Hounds and Jackals. This board game created a racing scenario between players.
Each player had five ivory pegs of hounds and five jackals. Players would roll dice or throw colored sticks to determine how many spaces they could move their hound or jackal.
The winner of the game had to have all of their pieces removed from the board.
Mehen or the Game of Snakes was another game played in ancient Egypt. The board was shaped like a snake and players maneuvered balls like marbles over the board.
Several different boards have been found in tombs and there were not a set number of spaces or pieces for the game carved into the different Mehen boards.
Facts about ancient Egyptian games
- Children played a variety of ancient Egyptian games outside.
- Rich families had more free time to play games.
- Several paintings have been found in pharaoh’s tombs depicting games.
- Senet is considered to be the oldest board game still being played.
- Ancient Egyptian games for children included hopscotch and jacks.
- Dice were made from bone, rocks or wood.
- Colored sticks were substituted for dice on many of the board games.
- Most known board games involved moving your pieces off the board before your opponent.
- What ancient Egyptian game is conserved to be the oldest still played in the world?
- What board game was known as the Game of Snakes?
- What other material was used to make dice besides bone and rocks?
- Hounds and Jackals was what type of board game?
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