Toys have been around since the dawn of humanity, and have changed massively throughout history. Play is such an important part of a child’s development, and it is important for each child to be able to access toys which stimulate and teach them – starting with toys suited for 1 year olds, all the way up to their infant years. Read on for a nostalgic trip through toy history, and share your memories with your own children!
The dawn of the 20th century, 1900 to 1910, saw two significant additions to the ranks of toys – Meccano and the Teddy Bear. The former was designed by toy maker Frank Hornby, who wanted to help children learn about engineering and mechanics with the new toy.
After World War 1, toys began to change, with new manufacturing techniques helping to create new concepts like the electric train set. Board games also became very popular, with the likes of Ludo and Snakes and Ladders, as well as Monopoly, becoming favourites of children across the world. We also saw toys used as film merchandise for the first time around 1930, with Mickey Mouse and Shirley Temple dolls becoming popular.
The 1950s and 60s saw toys take on more of the technology which was developing, and Scalextric, the model car racing game, appeared at this time. The 1960s also saw the entrance of the Barbie doll in the USA, with the British version, Sindy, coming into existence shortly afterwards.
Star Wars dominated the childhoods of many 1980s kids, with toys associated with the films proving very popular indeed. This was the era of the action figure, and many movies produced tie-in toys during this time. My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers were popular toys of this type. Oh! Also Rubik’s Cube made its appearance on the early 80s.
Since the 1990s, digital technology has been dominant, with many more traditional toys seeming to fade into the background, in favour of games consoles made by Nintendo. Tamagotchi were an example of the Japanese toys which were becoming more widespread in Britain.
By the time the new Millennium rolled around in 2000, games consoles were king, with an Xbox seemingly in every child’s home. But more traditional toys like Furbies and Zhu Zhu Pets still played a part in children’s lives too.