Brief history of children’s toys and games

There can be no time frame on children playing with toys and games as children regardless of the time in history will create some type of game or activity to occupy themselves. The less the child has the more creative they will become. The favorite time for toys and games is Christmas and each generation will claim that the future generation has more than they ever did. The Christmas period will see children presented with the current toy and games and of course in this period of great inactivity they will have a lot of time to play with.

The first Jigsaw puzzle was introduced in 1767

There are certain toys and games that will appear at Christmas regardless of the generation. It may be a book or a jigsaw puzzle but some presents are given the reputation as stocking fillers. They are not the main expensive gifts but are there to spread out the time of the gift ceremony without causing too much financial damage. The earliest toys can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization (3010 BC) with toys being made from local raw materials such as whistles shaped like birds. In Egypt Dolls made from wood, with wigs and moveable parts, started to appear. Toys such as bows and arrows appeared in ancient Greece and ancient Rome and were used to sacrifice to the gods.

However the biggest growth in toys and games occurred from the start of the 18th century as children were being viewed as separate people. The first jigsaw puzzle appeared in 1767 and the rocking horse appeared at the same time. As time passed into the 19th century and Victorian times, the industrial revolution resulted in mass production which meant in increased numbers of toys and games. Certain families had more wealth and they were only too happy to spend it on the happiness of their children.

The educational and religious toys became popular, as did complex toys such as the Kaleidoscope and magic lanterns. Man’s ability to produce complex models was being matched by his desire to pass on new knowledge to his children. Other factory made toys such as tin toys and clockwork toys also entered the market during this period.

The Scalextric Popular with children and parents alike

With some religious families toys were not allowed to be played on a Sunday unless it was Noah’s Ark as that was in the bible. The start of the 20th century saw further increases in wages with more income becoming available to purchase toys and games. The fascination with what was being produced in the industrial revolution was reflected in children’s toys, with train sets and model cars becoming more and more popular. Throughout the 20th century new toys would appear as a result of societies technological advancements. Play-Doh was created when during the Second World War man tried to find a replacement for synthetic rubber.

Electric toys such as railway sets and Scalextric car racing became popular as parents, as well as the children, were benefiting from these new toys. As we have passed into the 21st century toys and games have become increasingly technologically advanced. The Xbox was released in 2001 and this signaled the start in video games. The rise in popularity of the computer has seen the creation of computer games with most children now possessing a games console, which is basically a mini computer primarily designed to play computer games.

Over the years there have been huge changes in the contents of children’s stocking on Christmas day. However, there will be certain toys that will have stood the test of time and will be still desired by the modern day child. Some games that will be played by some children will certainly have been played by their parents when they were of a similar age decades before.

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