Sons and daughters
Many Greek parents wanted boy children. A son would look after his parents in old age. A daughter went away when she married, and had to take a wedding gift or dowry. This could be expensive, if a family had lots of daughters.
A father could decide whether or not the family kept a new baby. Unwanted or weak babies were sometimes left to die outdoors. Anyone finding an abandoned baby could adopt it and take it home, perhaps to raise it as a slave. If a couple were rich, they might hire a poor neighbour or a slave to nurse a new baby.
Going to school
At 3, children were given small jugs - a sign that babyhood was over. Boys went to school at age 7. Girls were taught at home by their mothers. A few girls learned to read and write, but many did not. School-teachers needed payment, so poor boys did not get much education. A wealthy family sent a slave to walk to school with the boys. The slave stayed at school to keep an eye on them during lessons. Most Greeks schools had fewer than 20 boys, and classes were often held outdoors.
What did Greek children learn?
Girls learned housework, cooking and skills such as weaving at home. Boys at school learned reading, writing, arithmetic, music and poetry. They wrote on wooden tablets covered with soft wax, using a pointed stick called a stylus. They used an abacus, with beads strung on wires or wooden rods, to help with maths.
Part of their lessons included learning stories and poems by heart.
Boys did athletics, to keep fit and prepare them for war as soldiers. They ran, jumped, wrestled and practised throwing a spear and a discus. They trained on a sports ground called a gymnasium.
We know about some Greek toys from pictures on pottery vases and from artefacts found by archaeologists. Children played with small pottery figures, and dolls made of rags, wood, wax or clay - some dolls had moveable arms and legs. Other toys were rattles, hoops, hoops, yo-yos, and hobby horses (a "pretend horse" made from a stick).
Children played with balls made from tied-up rags or a blown-up pig's bladder. The ankle-bones of sheep or goats made 'knucklebones' or five-stones. There are pictures of children with pets, such as dogs, geese and chickens.
Marriage and work
Most girls were only 13-16 years old when they married. Often their fathers chose husbands for them. A girl's husband was often older, in his 30s. The day before she married, a girl sacrificed her toys to the goddess Artemis, to show she was grown-up.
Most boys had to work hard. They worked as farmers, sailors, fishermen and craftworkers - such as potters, builders, metalworkers and stone-carvers. Some clever boys went on studying. Teachers gave classes to older students. Aristotle, who became a great scientist and thinker, went to Athens when he was 17 to study at the Academy, run by a famous teacher named Plato.