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Wondering what students did in the 18th century? Students were constantly and actively engaged in a variety of activities to learn about their world, from studying history to reading, writing, and math. Discover fascinating activities that students were busy doing in the 18th century. 

The 18th century was a time of significant change for students around the world. This period saw the rise of education as a form of self-expression, and students were exploring new ways to learn. From studying music to debating politics, there was something for everyone! Let’s look at some of the most popular student activities during the 18th century.

What Types of Activities Were Popular in the 18th Century?

There were many popular student activities back in the 18th century, including studying Latin and Greek languages, playing board games, creative writing, and learning about history. In addition, many students participated in musical performances and dances. Here are the top ten student activities that were popular in the 18th-century era.

1. Painting and Drawing

Painting and drawing were two of the most important disciplines for students in the 18th century. They helped students learn to see the world around them in a new way. Also, it was used to communicate their thoughts and feelings through art.

The painting was seen as an important tool for students to develop their observational skills. They were taught how to capture the subtleties of light and shade, and how to capture the emotions of people or scenes. The drawing was also thought to be very important, as it helped students learn perspective, composition, and shading.

2. Reading Classic Literature

Many students in the 18th century read and studied classic literature, including works by Shakespeare, Milton, and other well-known authors. It served as both an educational and social activity. Students read aloud to one another in small groups. Literature was also read aloud to young children by parents and tutors. Students read a variety of works based on their interests and individual strengths.

3. Studying History and Geography

Students in the 18th century studied a wide range of subjects, including history, geography, and science. The majority of their books were dedicated to teaching history and geography. These books were intended to broaden students' understanding of the world and the events that shaped society at the time.

No doubt studying history and geography could help students better understand the world around them. Here are some of the activities that students did to gain a deeper understanding of the 18th century:

  • Conducted historical research on key events and figures from the 18th century;

  • Conducted in-depth studies in European geography, focusing on important landmarks and geographical features;

  • Learned about pivotal battles, revolutions, and other major historical events from this period;

  • Explored different aspects of daily life during the 18th century, such as food, clothing, and architecture.

4. Learning to Play Musical Instruments

Students practiced playing a variety of musical instruments, including the harpsichord, the violin, and other string and woodwind instruments. In the 18th century, learning to play musical instruments was a key part of a student's education. Not only did it help them develop skills that would later be useful in their careers, but it also helped them socialize and bond with other students.

It was not uncommon for students to spend hours every day practicing their instruments, and many teachers also insisted that students learn how to read music. It allowed them to understand how chords and melodies worked, and it also made it easier for them to memorize songs.

5. Dancing and Attending Dance Classes

Dancing was a common activity for both adults and children, and many dance classes were available for all ages. Students have regularly attended dance classes, some of which may have even been mandatory for young adults. The most popular types of dance during that period included the waltz, the polka, and the jig.

In the 18th century, dancing served as a form of entertainment for students, a way to socialize, make new friends, stay fit, learn new skills, and have fun. Not only that, but they can also help improve your communication skills, teamwork skills, and creativity.

6. Making Art and Crafts Using Natural Materials

There was a time when making art and crafts using natural materials was considered to be a very important skill. In the 18th century, artists and craftspeople used a wide range of materials to create beautiful and unique pieces. Some of these materials included:

  • Woolen textiles;

  • Glass;

  • Pottery;

  • Needles;

  • Furniture.

One of the ways students could learn how to make art and crafts using natural materials was by attending art or craft classes in school. These classes taught students the basics of design, anatomy, perspective, color theory, and more. Another way to learn about making art and crafts using natural materials was by participating in artist-in-residence programs at museums or private collections. During these programs, artists were invited into schools to give lectures on various artistic concepts related to making art with natural materials.

7. Learning How to Fight With Swords, Spears, and Other Weapons Effectively

In the 18th century, learning how to fight effectively with swords, spears, and other weapons was essential for students. Not only was it important for self-defense, but also social status. It was a way to prove oneself in a competitive society.

In those days, it was rather a need because people lived in relatively small communities where they were constantly at risk of being attacked by outsiders. Fighting was a common way to defend oneself and gain dominance over enemies. Consequently, learning how to fight effectively was a necessary skill for anyone who wanted to survive in those days.


These historical facts are the tip of an iceberg when it comes to the activities that students could try in the 18th century. It was a time when education became more widespread and accessible than ever before. It led to an explosion in knowledge and creativity, and the birth of many famous scholars, scientists, and artists.



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About The Author:

Nancy P. Howard has been working as a writing expert at Rated by Studentscustom review service. She is also a professional writer at Top Writing Reviews in such topics as blogging, IT, and education. She loves traveling, photography and is always welcome to meet new people.