What toys did children play with?
Indus Valley people seem to have loved toys. They made many toys, such as toy carts and toy animals, from baked clay.
Archaeologists have found model cows that waggle their heads on a string, and toy monkeys that could slide down ropes, and little squirrels. They have also discovered toy carts have a little roof, to keep off the rain and hot sun.
Indus children may also have played with pull-along animals on wheels, as well as rattles and bird-whistles all made from terracotta.
One clay figure is of a boy holding a small disc, probably used in a throw-and-chase game.
Work and play
We only know a little about what it was like to be a child in the Indus Valley cities. Children could play in the courtyards of houses, and probably on the flat roofs, too. The roof could be a fun place to play: you could wave to your friends across the street!
Most children had to work hard. Even small children helped with the daily tasks. Children were taught how to make things, how to farm, how to hunt. They learned these skills from older members of their family, and from people with special skills, such as potters, bead-makers and metal-workers.
Did children go to school?
Some children may have gone to school. A scribe, who knew how to read and write, would teach some children the same skills. A priest would teach religious lessons. Whether there were schools, and if many children went to school, is something we don't know. Perhaps only rich children had lessons.
Ancient civilisations needed people with skills, just as we do. So traders, scribes, potters jewellers, builders, farmers and others like them would teach children their skills.
Did people have pets?
Archaeologists have found paw prints left by animals preserved within the ruins of Indus cities. Children may have had pet monkeys, and perhaps birds in cages, or even lizards and snakes! Hunters might have brought home baby deer or wild pigs. Children could also look after baby farm animals such as lambs or kids (baby goats).
We know that dogs lived in Indus Valley cities, because dog bones have been found. Perhaps some dogs were guard dogs, or hunting dogs. Some were probably family pets.
Indus Valley people enjoyed gambling and playing board games. At Harappa archaeologists found dice made from cubes of sandstone and terracotta. These are probably the oldest dice in the world.
The Indus people may have been the first to use cube dice with six sides and spots, just like the ones we use today. Ivory made from elephant tusks was used to make counters for board games.
Indus Valley people also liked the cruel sport of cock-fighting. They probably bet on which bird would win. They kept camels too, so perhaps they went camel racing!