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History of Toys and Games

History | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Toys and games changed little through the centuries. But while the children in earlier times had to make do with simple toys like wooden dolls, toy soldiers, wooden animals with wheels, balls, marbles, spinning tops, today there is no scarcity of toys and games available for you in the market.

Popular Toys and Games from the Past

Here is how some of the most popular toys and games for children were invented:

1. Jigsaw Puzzles

John Spilsbury, a British mapmaker, made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. Actually, he was trying to teach his students geography by cutting maps into pieces. People found Spilsbury’s idea pretty interesting and started making jigsaws for the entertainment of children.

2. Play-Doh

Play-Doh was invented by Noah McVicker, a soap manufacturer based in Cincinnati, as a cleaning product for removing coal dust from the walls.

3. Meccano

In 1900, Frank Hornby invented the toy construction system ‘Meccano’ to teach his kids the basics of mechanics. Meccano was earlier known as ‘Mechanics made easy’.

4. Slinky

Slinky was invented by a Naval engineer called Richard James. One day, he accidentally knocked a spring off a shelf. To the amusement of James, the spring did what a toy slinky does—it hopped from a stack of books to the table, from the table to the floor, and from the floor it lodged itself into a cylinder. James knew that it would make a great toy for kids one day, and he was right!

5. Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s cube was the brainchild of Ernő Rubik, an architect. Rubik had originally developed the cube to help his students understand the concept of 3D objects.

6. Laser Guns

In the 1970s, the US Armed Forces developed a special training program for soldiers to practice firing. The soldiers were asked to use laser lights to hit the targets. The laser lights carried no risk to the soldiers’ lives and saved the cost of live rounds as well. This technology was later used to develop the recreational game of laser tagging for kids.

7. Barbie

The Barbie doll was designed by a woman named Ruth Handler in the 1950s. Ruth named the doll ‘Barbie’ after her daughter, Barbara. It was first introduced at a toy fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This day is celebrated as Barbie’s birthday all over the world.

8. Scrabble

Scrabble was invented by an American architect, Alfred Butts, in 1933 while toying around with a word game in his idle time. Scrabble was earlier known by many names such as Lexico, New Anagrams, Alph and Criss-Crosswords.

9. Monopoly

The game of Monopoly was discovered in 1934 by Charles Darrow, an unemployed youth from Pennsylvania. He liked his invention so much that despite a financial crunch, he produced the game himself and sold over 5,000 handmade sets to a Philadelphia toy store. As Darrow had rightly anticipated, his game quickly became a big craze among children as well as adults.

10. Chota Bheem Toys

Chhota Bheem is an Indian cartoon series for kids that was created by Rajiv Chilaka the CEO of Green Gold Animation. Since its launch in 2009, the character of Chhota Bheem has endeared himself to kids and teenagers alike. Looking at the tremendous success of the series, the producers decided to launch a wide variety of toys, games, books, puzzles and surprise bags based on it.