Toys of Antiquity in Turkey

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As in today, there were games and toys of antiquity in Turkey. Considering the data revealed by archaeological studies, it is concluded that children have played games throughout the history of humanity, regardless of age and culture. It is a universal rule to have games and toys wherever children exist.

Toys of Antiquity in Turkey 1
My daughter Sophie and the original of the ancient horse toy that we tried to copy.

Greek and Roman children had fun just like our children. Archaeological studies conducted in Turkey revealed toys dating back to 3000 BC. These are very similar to the toys my daughter wants today. Rattles, wheeled animals and small furniture made of clay are the most popular ancient toys. Greek children were no different from other children of the time. According to Aristophanes, ‘’these children were building miniature houses, carving ships, building small cars’’.

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According to many researchers, the world’s oldest toy is the ball. A mud ball or snowball was an object that the first people used to entertain themselves and their children.


The oldest known toy car of Anatolia is seven thousand years old. It is made of baked clay. This car model, whose wheels are probably attached to the body with a wooden stick, reveals that children have been interested in toy cars and vehicles in Anatolia since the Chalcolithic Age. In terms of games and toys, this car model made of clay is the most remarkable finding of this period.

Rattle and similar toys are given to develop hand-eye coordination and hand skills in infancy. While carriages and wooden horses are given to boys, toys such as dolls and miniature housewares were given to girls. This shows that toys vary depending on age and sexual identity. Toys also prepared children for their future roles in ancient Roman or Greek societies. These artifacts unearthed through archaeological excavations helped us to understand the cultural, economic, social and artistic aspects of that period too.

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There are some toys which can be seen in the Ephesus Archeological Museum and in some other museums of Turkey. It is always fun to see how some things never changed in thousands of years. Seeing toys and speaking of toys aways have been a nice touch I try to add in my tours if I have children in the group. I hope one day you will see these beauties yourself. You can always contact me to learn more and to hire a professional licensed Turkish tour guide in Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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