Playing at home!

In your free time, you can also play with your brothers or with your friends your own games.

Do you know that many of the games you play with friends were played in ancient Greece as well? Rattles, dolls and pot miniatures, toys with wheels, little animals made of clay, ankles, as well as wooden small horses, balls and many other toys entertained children during the hours they stayed at home.

Favourite games were also team games, hide and seek, blind man's buff, still statuettes, hopscotch, as well as riddles and puzzles. In your free time, you can also play with your brothers or with your friends your own games.



The most old written sources are the archives on clay plates of Linear Scripture B' from the Mycenaean times. It concerns catalogues, where only these foods that were trade or taxation products such as wheat, olive oil and others are mentioned. The fact that vegetables are not mentioned at all, does not mean that they did not eat vegetables, but that they do not consider them as tradable product.

Most information about 8th and 7th century B.C. originate from Homeric saga. Food, the way that they prepared them and the habits of people about food are described in detail. Aristophanes comedies that were written during the 5th and 4th century B.C. present lively the habits of that era concerning food and drink. In the description that Aristophanes makes the fact that the cook becomes a very important figure in theatre is owed.

The importance  of proper nutrition is stressed in the works of Hippocrates, the most famous doctor of the 5th century B.C. while in Plato's philosophical works with frequent reports on the proper diet, it becomes clear how much nutrition had an impact on any form of life in ancient Greece. Athenaios, although he lived at the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3d century, in his work "Deipnosofistes", writes about the eating habits of classical years (5th and 4th century B.C.), while he saved many recipes as well as names of famous gourmands.

The archaeological sources that concern food and drink are various and abundant. Pots and vessels for the preparation of food, serving and storing, such as pots, cups, food plates, jars, pots, strainers, mixing spoons knives and others. Representations with themes that are related to nutrition, with favourite foods, such as fruits, fish, hunting, as well as stores of meat, fruits and vegetables, and bread provide us with important information. These representations are seen over vessels, especially since the 6th century B.C. and afterwards, as well as in reliefs and frescoes from Hellenistic and Roman years.

With the excavations food remains usually burned or what was left from them inside vessels come to light. The so called kitchen garbage such as animal bones and others that provides with valuable information are interesting.

During recent years, underwater archaeology has been established as a special sector. Underwater excavations often have to do with shipwrecks that were frequent in antiquity. Many of the essentials and particularly food such as wine and olive oil were transferred via sea routes. Thus, amphorae and jars, namely vessels that were used in the transfer of goods are often findings in the sunk ships. Mostly from the seals on their handles archaeologists can gather information concerning the itineraries and the trade transactions among various areas of the Mediterranean.

Finally, products that leave residues such as olive or grape cores for instance, are also witnesses of food habits of ancient Greeks and Romans.



Kitchen in the houses of ancient Greece was called "optanio", namely the cook area where food was prepared. Usually a shadowy room with no moisture was selected for kitchen and warehouse.

In a central spot of the "optanio", on the floor there was a rectangular or squared structure made of stones the focal point. In that focal point they lit the fire and cooked the food.

The necessary kitchen utensils were various and numerous, and they used to the preparation, the cooking serving or the storing of food. Thus, a house kitchen included pots, mortars, plates, basins and tubs for kneading, various glasses, as well as tools such as knives, mixing spoons ("arytaines"), large forks ("kreagres") and others.

Most cooking vessels were placed on shelves, while some smaller vessels were hanged on the wall.The same was applied with food and various herbs and aromatic plants. They placed them on the shelves or hanged them on the wall. In the kitchen they used the hand mill with which they grounded wheat to store flour, as they often made various bread products.

In addition, in the "optanio" there were the mortars or "igdia" to grind smaller quantities of fruits. Apart from the shelves and the focal point, wooden benches (tables) were necessary that were used in the preparation of food, as well as in the placing of food.

The image of the kitchen of an ancient house is similar to the traditional kitchens of today. Habits, such as the placing of food and vessels on shelves or their hanging on the wall or even on the supporting beams of the wooden ceiling, was used until today in certain areas.



Based on the material concerning Food in ancient Greece:

• Pick one of the items of the museum that you saw in the previous pages, make your own story and illustrate it. If you want you can narrate it to your family. 
• Observe the various kitchen vessels in the house and match them with the items of the museum. 
• Together with your parents make the weekly menu and apply it.
• With the cookie recipe make cookies all together, using materials that were existent in ancient Greece as well.
• Make all together questions on a knowledge game like trivial pursuit, obtaining information from the texts that you read and play with all the family.


Play, over time, has its own place in daily life of children and adults. Many of the games that are played today, such as dolls, yo-yo, ball, "kotsia", blind man's buff, hopscotch, hide and seek and still statuettes, remind greatly the games of ancient Greeks; only the names have changed.

The texts of ancient authors, the representations of clay vessels, the reliefs and the figurines, as well as the games that have been found, constitute valuable sources that allow us to learn about ancient games and how they were played, and to understand their educational and entertaining value.


The first games that are connected with the infant age of children are, among others, rattles or "seistra" and the little bells. Rattles, or "platagones" or "platages", were made of clay or metal and sometimes of wood, and they contained pebbles or seeds. The intense sound they had, calmed and entertained babies, and ancient Greeks thought that it could remove evil spirits that lurked around the babies' cradle.

Polydeukis, a Greek orator and lexicographer, writes in the 2nd century A.D. that the nurturers with the rattle produced a monotonous sound and thus they managed to calm babies (Onomastikon, IX, 127).


From a very young age, children played with other favourite toys as well, such as"syriktres" (whistles), small cars and clay models of animals. As they grew, children had the need of company and team games as the process of the game was also a form of socialisation for children.In ancient times, children also played with toys such as little animals, made of various materials, such as clay, wood etc. 



Hobbyhorse that also children play today, riding a reed also originates from ancient times. From the literary testimonies we know that it was called "kalamon epivainein". The only thing that was needed was a long pole or a reed, a small whip and a lot of imagination.

You can use a stick or a cane. Transform it to hobbyhorse, placing on the one edge a self made horse head or into a small car, placing a wheel or another item that can remind a wheel.



Among the favourite girls' toys the dolls, the "plaggones" or puppets obtained a special place. They were made of various materials, of clay, wood, fabric, ivory etc .The most clay puppets that are saved until today are articulated, with movable arms and legs, adjusted to the body with a wire or thread, so that they can move freely.

Copies of furniture, small chairs, beds and miniatures of vessels, shoes and other components made the game with puppets more fun and at the same time educational as the girls, by playing they copied adult's world. Pausanias in his travels mentions that "among the treasures in Hera's sanctuary in Olympia he also saw a small bed, Ippodameia's toy" (Pausanias, V, 20, II). Numerous girls' toys, puppets, balls, ankles and other items related to childhood, have been found in Sanctuaries as offerings from the girls the day before their wedding, as it is mentioned in Timareti's epigram in Palace Anthology (VI, 280).

By using materials that you can find at home, you can also make a puppet. The materials that you will need are fabric, cotton, buttons, filaments, small woods, glue and colours. Make a puppet made of paper with movable arms and legs, that you can adjust in the rest of the body with thread or  a double nails. Attach to the palms and the foot a thread or small woods and play with your friends a puppet show.


Ankle play or "astragalizein", namely playing with ankles, was among the favourite plays of children and adults as well. The name of the game originates from the bones or the articulations, between the shin bone and the heel of various animals, but mostly sheeps and goats.

In ancient Greece ankle play was mainly a game for girls that was played in many ways. The most common was to throw four ankles and observe the view that each of them presented. Every side of the ankle had special significance and a different name, such as "koos", "chios", "yptios", "pranis". The side that touched on the ground was important during the play and score was proportional.

Ankles could be used in other mastery games that were addressed to children of younger age, but also to gambling, mainly since the Roman years henceforth, where ankles replaced dice (cubes). In mastery games ankles could be replaced by pebbles, nuts or almonds. Among the mastery games played by younger children the most known are "artiasmos", the "is omillan", "tropa" and "pentelitha". Their rules have been registered by Polydeukis in "Onomastikon".



Have you ever thought how people were dressed in ancient Greece? What did men wear? Women? Did children wear the same clothes as adults? Their clothing were bought or they made them themselves?

In order to learn all the above and to make your own clothes as in ancient Greece, download the book containing information and activities.

We make jewellery, ribbons, belts, hats and garments with simple materials

Are you bored to be every day dressed with uniforms or with the same outfit? Find at home simple materials and...dressed like ancient Greeks.


What jewellery they wore

Women completed their outfit with jewellery such as "enotia", bracelets, necklaces and rings made of bronze, silver, gold and other materials. During the hot days of the year they used "ripidia"-fans- to produce air.

Their jewellery were kept in jewellery cases, the so called "pyxides", while their perfumes in perfume boxes. As today, women used cosmetics such as powders, hair dyes etc. that were called "psimythia". Finally, a necessary beauty part was bronze mirrors.

Make your own jewellery!

In order to make jewellery you will need aluminium foil, rigattoni, farfalle, coloured papers, coloured threads and markers.

Connect rigattoni or farfalle with a coloured thread and make a necklace or a bracelet. If you want, you can colour pasta with markers.

Take small pieces of aluminium foil and create various shapes with your hands. Then tie the pieces with a thread and make a necklace or a bracelet. Cut coloured papers or cardboards in various shapes that you like, such as stripes, triangles, squares etc.. In each piece open a hole with your pen and connect all the pieces with a thread, creating a  jewellery.


Men and women in ancient Greece combed and decorated their hair in various ways. Men wore stripes and women as well, but also various bonnets. When they went out, so as not to be burnt by the sun they wore hats, the so called "skiadia".

Find at home ribbons, shoe laces, foulards or scarves. You can also cut ribbons from white or coloured papers. Attach them on your head just like ancient Greeks


We make our own garments and we get dressed!

In order to get dressed you will need a piece of fabric, square or rectangular, a ribbon for belt and safety pins. The fabric could also be a bed sheet. Wrap the fabric around your body and shape your favourite type of garment, male or female with the ribbon and the safety pins. Over the garment wrap yourself with a cloth, by using a narrow piece of fabric, such as a foulard or a scarf.

Only one type of garment has buttons, the female and the male tunic or small tunic and it is sewed  on the one side. If you wish to make a tunic ask the help of an adult.

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