Ancient China Lesson for Kids: Entertainment & Art

Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Do you enjoy flying kites? How about playing soccer? Believe it or not, both of these fun pastimes came from ancient China! In this lesson, discover amazing facts about Chinese entertainment and art that have been alive for centuries.


Have you ever heard of cricket fighting? Crickets are insects similar to grasshoppers that make a chirping sound, and in ancient China, it was popular for people to watch them battle. Cricket fighting was serious business! Starting around the Tang Dynasty in 618 AD, owners would do everything possible to keep their crickets in good fighting shape, including feeding them a specific diet. Although most cricket battles only lasted a few minutes, some would continue for nearly 30 minutes!

The ancient Chinese had many forms of entertainment and art, and many are still popular today. Let's find out what the ancient Chinese did for enjoyment!

Fun and Games

All around the world, soccer is a popular sport to play and watch. But did you know that 2500 years ago, the ancient Chinese created one of the first types of soccer games, called cuju? Two teams played on a field and tried to kick a ball through a hole in a net, similar to a bulls-eye. Whoever got the most balls through the net won the game!

Archery, rowing, card and board games were popular, too. Maybe you've played parcheesi, chess, or backgammon. These games were started in ancient China.

Flying kites was another fun way to pass the time, and it was also a form of art. Beautiful kites were created out of paper or silk for children to fly. Many kites were made to look like a bird in flight.

And what is the perfect ending to a celebration? Fireworks! Legend says that fireworks were invented in China when a cook accidentally mixed an explosive combination of ingredients and placed them in a bamboo tube, which exploded. Fireworks were used to keep evil spirits away, as well as during festivals and celebrations.


Calligraphy, poetry, and painting were called the three perfections by the ancient Chinese, and they were often used together to create a work of art. Calligraphy is a decorative type of handwriting that is an art form, often created using a brush or pen.


Terracotta (pronounced ter-uh-kot-uh), which is a hard, fired-clay material used to make pottery and sculptures, was used in ancient China. In 221 BC, Emperor Qin of the Qin Dynasty ordered a giant tomb be built for him. It's the largest burial site ever found, and inside it were 8,000 life-sized terracotta soldiers!

Terracotta Sculpture Army

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