From a tomb dating — BCE, Kerameikos Archaeological Museum, Athens Most children have been said to play with whatever they can find, such as sticks and rocks.
Toys and games have been unearthed from the sites of ancient civilizations. They have been written about in some of the oldest literature. Toys excavated from the Indus valley civilization — BCE include small carts, whistles shaped like birds, and toy monkeys which could slide down a string. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood.
When Greek children, especially girls, came of age it was customary for them to sacrifice the toys of their childhood to the gods. On the eve of their wedding, young girls around fourteen would offer their dolls in a temple as a rite of passage into adulthood. The game consisted of a square divided into 14 parts, and the aim was to create different shapes from these pieces. In Iran "puzzle-locks" were made as early as the 17th century AD. Enlightenment era Toys became more widespread with the changing attitudes towards children engendered by the Enlightenment.
Children began to be seen as people in and of themselves, as opposed to extensions of their household and that they had a right to flourish and enjoy their childhood. The variety and number of toys that were manufactured during the 18th century steadily rose; John Spilsbury invented the first jigsaw puzzle in to help children learn geography.
The rocking horse on bow rockers was developed at the same time in England, especially with the wealthy as it was thought to develop children's balance for riding real horses. Hoops have long been a popular toy across a variety of cultures. Other popular toys included hoops , toy wagons , kites , spinning wheels and puppets. Religiously themed toys were also popular, including a model Noah's Ark with miniature animals and objects from other Bible scenes. With growing prosperity among the middle class, children had more leisure time on their hands, which led to the application of industrial methods to the manufacture of toys.
Carpenter and Westley began to mass-produce the kaleidoscope , invented by Sir David Brewster in , and had sold over , items within three months in London and Paris. The company was also able to mass-produce magic lanterns for use in phantasmagoria and galanty shows, by developing a method of mass production using a copper plate printing process. Mass market Frank Hornby's patent number GBA for what later became known as Meccano The golden age of toy development was at the turn of the 20th century.
Real wages were rising steadily in the Western world, allowing even working-class families to afford toys for their children, and industrial techniques of precision engineering and mass production was able to provide the supply to meet this rising demand. Intellectual emphasis was also increasingly being placed on the importance of a wholesome and happy childhood for the future development of children.
William Harbutt , an English painter, invented plasticine in , and in commercial production of the material as a children's toy began. Frank Hornby was a visionary in toy development and manufacture and was responsible for the invention and production of three of the most popular lines of toys based on engineering principles in the twentieth century: Meccano was a model construction system that consisted of re-usable metal strips, plates, angle girders , wheels, axles and gears , with nuts and bolts to connect the pieces and enabled the building of working models and mechanical devices.
Dinky Toys pioneered the manufacture of die-cast toys with the production of toy cars, trains and ships and model train sets became popular in the s. The Britain's company revolutionized the production of toy soldiers with the invention of the process of hollow casting in lead in  — the company's products remained the industry standard for many years.
Puzzles became greatly fashionable as well. This book grew into a reference work for puzzle games and was very popular at the time. The Tangram puzzle, originally from China, spread to Europe and America in the 19th century. During the Second World War , some new types of toys were created through accidental innovation. After trying to create a replacement for synthetic rubber , the American Earl L.
Warrick inadvertently invented "nutty putty" during World War II. Later, Peter Hodgson recognized the potential as a childhood plaything and packaged it as Silly Putty. Similarly, Play-Doh was originally created as a wallpaper cleaner. He was intrigued by the way it flopped around on the floor.
He spent two years fine-tuning the design to find the best gauge of steel and coil; the result was the Slinky , which went on to sell in stores throughout the United States. After the Second World War as society became ever more affluent and new technology and materials plastics for toy manufacture became available, toys became cheap and ubiquitous in households across the Western World.
Among the more well known products of the s there was the Danish company Lego 's line of colourful interlocking plastic brick construction sets, Rubik's Cube , Mr.
Potato Head , the Barbie doll and Action Man. Culture The act of children's play with toys embodies the values set forth by the adults of their specific community, but through the lens of the child's perspective. Within cultural societies, toys are a medium to enhance a child's cognitive, social, and linguistic learning.
In Saharan and North African cultures, play is facilitated by children through the use of toys to enact scenes recognizable in their community such as hunting and herding. The value is placed in a realistic version of development in preparing a child for the future they are likely to grow up into. This allows the child to imagine and create a personal interpretation of how they view the adult world.
In these communities, adults place the value of play with toys to be on the aspirations they set forth for their child. In the Western culture, the Barbie and Action-Man represent lifelike figures but in an imaginative state out of reach from the society of these children and adults.
These toys give way to a unique world in which children's play is isolated and independent of the social constraints placed on society leaving the children free to delve into the imaginary and idealized version of what their development in life could be. Children in more affluent communities may tend to be possessive of their toys, while children from poorer communities may be more willing to share and interact more with other children.
The importance the child places on possession is dictated by the values in place within the community that the children observe on a daily basis. They provide entertainment while fulfilling an educational role. Toys enhance cognitive behavior and stimulate creativity. They aid in the development of physical and mental skills which are necessary in later life. One of the simplest toys, a set of simple wooden blocks is also one of the best toys for developing minds.
Mary Ucci, Educational Director of the Child Study Center of Wellesley College , has demonstrated how such toys positively impact the physical development , cognitive development , emotional development , and social development of children. Through play with toys infants begin to recognize shapes and colors. Play-Doh , Silly Putty and other hands-on materials allow the child to make toys of their own.
Educational toys for school age children of often contain a puzzle , problem-solving technique, or mathematical proposition. Often toys designed for older audiences, such as teenagers or adults, demonstrate advanced concepts. Newton's cradle , a desk toy designed by Simon Prebble , demonstrates the conservation of momentum and energy. Not all toys are appropriate for all ages of children.
Gender Certain toys, such as Barbie dolls and toy soldiers, are often perceived as being more acceptable for one gender than the other. The turning point for the addition of gender to toys came about in the s and s. Before , only about two percent of toys were labeled by gender, whereas today on the Disney store's website, considered a dominating global force for toys by researcher Claire Miller, all toys are labeled by gender.
Too, many psychological textbooks began to address this new issue. Along with these publications, researchers also started to challenge the ideas of male and female as being opposites, even going as far as to claim toys which have characteristics of both gender are preferable. For example, Legos added more colors to certain sets of toys in the s, including colors commonly attributed to girls such as lavender.
Boys showed no preference for the truck over the doll. These differences in toy choice are well established within the child by the age of three. They were allowed to play with the toys in a typical environment, a preschool classroom, which allowed for the results to be more authentic compared to research done in a lab.
The researchers then quantified play quality of the children with each toy based on factors such as learning, problem solving, curiosity, creativity, imagination, and peer interaction. The results revealed that boys generally received higher scores for overall play quality than girls, and the toys with the best play quality were those identified as the most gender neutral, such as building blocks and bricks along with pieces modeling people.
Trawick-Smith then concluded that the study encourages a focus on toys which are beneficial to both genders in order to create a better balance. Target removed all identification related to gender from their toy aisles and Disney did the same for their costumes.
A study done regarding their website found that though they have removed gender labels from their costumes, the toys online reflect more stereotypical gender identities. For example, males were associated with physicality and females were associated with beauty, housing, and caring. Those which are generally deemed for both genders more closely resemble what many would label "boy toys," as they relate closer to the stereotype of masculinity within play.
In South American Indian communities, boys receive a toy bow and arrow from their father while young girls receive a toy basket from their mother. While female dolls are used to represent brides, mothers, and wives, male dolls are used to represent horsemen and warriors.
This contrast stems from the various roles of men and women within the Saharan and North African communities. There are differences in the toys that are intended for girls and boys within various cultures, which is reflective of the differing roles of men and women within a specific cultural community.
Sales of toys often increase around holidays where gift-giving is a tradition. In recent years many toys have become more complicated with flashing lights and sounds in an effort to appeal to children raised around television and the internet.
According to Mattel 's president, Neil Friedman, "Innovation is key in the toy industry and to succeed one must create a 'wow' moment for kids by designing toys that have fun, innovative features and include new technologies and engaging content.
Many traditional toy makers have been losing sales to video game makers for years. Because of this, some traditional toy makers have entered the field of electronic games and even turning audio games into toys, and are enhancing the brands that they have by introducing interactive extensions or internet connectivity to their current toys. Construction sets Main article: Construction set The Greek philosopher Plato wrote that the future architect should play at building houses as a child.
Popular models to make include cars, spaceships , and houses. The things that are built are sometimes used as toys once completed, but generally speaking, the object is to build things of one's own design, and old models often are broken up and the pieces reused in new models. The oldest and, perhaps most common construction toy is a set of simple wooden blocks , which are often painted in bright colors and given to babies and toddlers.
Construction sets such as Lego bricks and Lincoln Logs are designed for slightly older children and have been quite popular in the last century. Construction sets appeal to children and adults who like to work with their hands, puzzle solvers, and imaginative sorts. Dolls and miniatures Main article: A doll is a model of a human often a baby , a humanoid like Bert and Ernie , or an animal.
Modern dolls are often made of cloth or plastic. Other materials that are, or have been, used in the manufacture of dolls include cornhusks , bone , stone , wood, porcelain sometimes called china , bisque , celluloid , wax , and even apples. Often people will make dolls out of whatever materials are available to them.
Sometimes intended as decorations, keepsakes, or collectibles for older children and adults, most dolls are intended as toys for children, usually girls, to play with.