We use the term “Toys” not only to describe those children’s things, but we also use it to describe much stuff like when we say “boy’s toys” we mean cars, motorcycles, and things that boys and grown men like. That term is generally used to describe anything that we play with, so let’s see what people have been playing with since ancient Egypt to present times.
Ancient Egyptians enjoyed living the good and prosperous life, and toys and games were a big part of it. Egyptian kids had toys made of knuckle bones of animals that they used to play games like Jackstones, and they used dice in some games as well. They had toys made from clay like clay rattles and little animals and people clay figures, like a hippo with jaws that close and open. The fanciest ancient Egyptian toys were made of cloth and were stuffed with papyrus.
Did you know that the Yoyo is an ancient Greek invention? In ancient Greece, Yoyos were made out of terracotta or wood, and they were often decorated with images from Greek mythology. They also made dolls that had movable limbs. They also took the Jackstones game from ancient Egyptians, and also just like them, they used animal knuckle bones, but it was soon replaced with other materials like brass, copper, silver, gold, glass, ivory, marble, terracotta and even precious gems.
Children kept playing with wooden dolls until the 16th century. They used to be called Bartholomew babies because people could buy them at St Bartholomew’s Fair in London back then. They played cup and ball too, which is a wooden ball with a wooden cup atthe end of the handle. They played by swinging the handle and trying to catch the ball in the cup.
The Germans made the first dollhouse back in 1558. Then toys started becoming very popular after the English philosopher John Locke stated that “Dice and playthings” with letters engraved on them can significantly help children learn the alphabet.
The industrial revolution then came, which allowed toys to enter the stages of mass production, and their prices gradually went down as a result. The first Jigsaw puzzle was made by John Spilsbury in 1767, with the intention of teaching children geography by cutting maps into pieces and assigning them the task of putting it together again. In 1817, the Kaleidoscope was invented. In 1882 Adeline Whitney took Joh Locke’s words seriously and patented the alphabet blocks.
In the 19th century, porcelain dolls were very popular among middle-class girls. They also had model shops, doll houses, and skipping ropes. Boys at the same time enjoyed marble soldiers and toy trains, some of these trains actually had functioning engines fueled by methylated spirits. Kids from richer families had rocking horses and various clockwork toys such as moving animals. The jack-in-the-box was very popular at that time too.
In 1897, William Harbutt invented the Plasticine. It was made commercially available three years later. In the early 20th century most popular toys were tin cars. In the 1920s teddy bears and train sets became extremely popular, as well as other soft toys.
Legos started becoming popular in the 1950s, and the famous Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1952. Skateboards were created in 1958, Barbie dolls in 1959, and Action Man in 1966. Space Hoppers and Clackers became very popular in the 1970s.
The Furby was invented in 1998 and Tamagotchi in 1996.
And in today’s society, video games and electronic games are the most popular among all toys and games.