Toys can be dated back as far as 3,000 years ago. The most interesting fact about the history of toys comes from how they were made. Many children played and acted out what they were accustomed to in their culture. For instance, boys would mimic being soldiers with having shields made of wood to protect them and long sticks would become their version of swords. Little girls would draw from their imagination what they saw mothers do such as tending to younger siblings, cleaning, sewing and cooking.
Native American Toys
Early Native American settlers had toys such as bows & arrows, whistles, fishing poles and dolls, all of which were carved from wood or whittled by sharp knives. These were handcrafted and distinct to each tribe based on the beads and thread used. Some children used vivid imaginations to create a doll out of corncobs and stalks. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s to early 1900’s that American children would be introduced to toys that were manufactured.
Some games that early American children were introduced to were Rolling Hoops, Nine pins, Flying Circle and Tops which came from Dutch settlers. These toys were in every house in America just as skipping rocks were close to a creek. These toys were relatively easy to hand carve or create with the tools and talents a member of someone in the household would have.
Most children beyond toddler years had few toys to play with, if any. Some toys that were often on farms were wooden toy hammers, stilts, carved farm animals and carved food. This was a past time event for children to pretend play.
Board Games became a favorite past time event long before technology took over. Image the dawn of the day ending and a lantern used as a nightlight hovering at the kitchen table. Father and son sitting near one another and challenging each other in a game of checkers. Wooden board games were very popular and were introduced to Americans by Roman settlers. Games similar to tic-tac-toe has been etched into the walls and floors of the Roman empire. Modern games from India like checkers and chess were popular as well.
Another past time adventure is Jigsaw Puzzles. Created from an Englishmen mapmaker were pieces that when put together formed a picture. You can spend hours and days putting together a puzzle and then pulling it apart and putting together again. Early puzzles were made from wood. No matter what your favorite part about our history of toys are, enjoy our past and bring it to the future.