Daily Life in Ancient Rome: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kristin Pia Hayman

Kristin taught for over 10 years in the elementary classroom. She holds a B.A. in Journalism as well as a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Pretend you are a regular man or woman living many, many years ago in Ancient Rome. What would you do all day? Would your life be much different from how it is now? Well, throw on your Roman toga and let's take a look!

Starting Your Day

Do you hear that alarm clock? The Ancient Romans started their day early! At sunrise they had a light breakfast, and then it was time to start the day. Typically, the men went off to jobs, boys went to school, and women and girls stayed home to take care of the household. Sometimes adults visited the markets to shop or do their banking. Men had a variety of jobs, but some of the most common were farmers, tradesmen, and merchants.

The workday ended in the early afternoon, and then it was off to the bathhouses to clean up, visit with friends, and relax. In the late afternoon, they would have an elaborate dinner. Sometimes they would spend their evenings at lively festivals, gladiator fights, or chariot races. The Romans went to bed early, so they could get up the next morning and start a new day.

Many Romans spent their afternoon at the baths

The Necessities

So what did the Romans eat? Their basic diet consisted of bread, olive oil, and wine. Almost every meal had these three items at the table, but sometimes they would also serve fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish. In the early days, the Romans wore togas, but in the later days men and women wore tunics, which were like long shirts with a belt around the waist.

The Most Important Things

What were the most important things to Romans? Family & religion. Called the familia by Romans, the family didn't just refer to parents and siblings. Families included all extended family members, as well as slaves and servants who lived with the family. It is said that an emperor's family could include thousands of members!

Religion was also a big part of Roman life. The Romans were a polytheistic pol-ee-thee-is-tik society, which means that they worshiped many gods. Families often had small shrines in their homes so they could worship the gods, but they also attended temples. Elaborate festivals to honor the gods were frequent, lasting into the evening with entertainment, food, and games.

Romans worshiped many gods

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