Mongolian children are like kids anywhere, but hardened by the climate. They are encouraged to participate in traditional culture, as can be seen at the yearly Naadam festivals, where many children come dressed in traditional clothes and participate in horse racing - boys learn to handle horses at an early age and are expert jockeys. They also practice archery and Mongolian wrestling, and little boys may be dressed as a real wrestler. Both boys and girls learn to play the Morin Khuur, Mongolia's national instrument, a fiddle with a carved horse head.
The Lotus Children's Centre in Ulaanbaatar is a Non-Government Organisation helping orphaned children and employs young people who lived in the orphanage. It was started in 1993 by an Australian yoga teacher, Didi Kalka, who was affected by the plight of street children and started helping them; this grew from caring for street kids to abandoned babies and a Kindergarten was started in 1997. This evolved into a primary school including a program for children with special needs. Each summer there are summer camps for the children, like the camp near Gachuurt, on the banks of the Tuul river. The children have a great time and get visitors for whom they may perform a program of traditional dances. It is a wonderful organisation and volunteers from all over the world may work there for a time.
The photos here give an idea of what it is like to grow up in Mongolia.