The History of Toys and Games
Did you know that toys and games have been part of childhood for thousands of years? As early as 4000 B.C. (before Christ), games became a source of entertainment. At that time, people of Babylon played a game that preceded the present day game of chess.
In 3000 B.C., a game much like today's backgammon was played. Games resembling backgammon have been played for centuries in Rome, Greece and Egypt.
In 1000 B.C., kites became popular in China. It's possible that kites have been flown since before history began to be recorded. In 1890, Australian Lawrence Hargrave invented the first three-dimensional kite. Kites are fun for both boys and girls and come in many styles.
Can you imagine playing with a stone yo-yo? I think it would be very hard to maneuver. That is exactly what Egyptian children played with in 1000 B.C.
In 200 A.D. (after Christ), the first skates were used in Scandinavia. Can you imagine skating on an ice rink with skates made of iron? They would be very heavy, wouldn't they? Well, that's what skates were made of way back in those days.
The first playing cards made their appearance in Asia in 969 A.D. They were much different from the ones we use today. Some were made of earthenware, others of tin. Later, they were made of wood.
As time progressed, toys became more advanced. Joseph Merlin invented the first roller skates in 1759. He showed off his invention at a dinner party, but failed to impress the guests because he couldn't turn the skates or stop properly.
In 1840, an American dollmaker was issued a patent to mass produce dolls. Madame Alexander was the first manufacturer to base a doll on a character. In 1950, Ms Alexander insisted her dolls be fashionable. She didn't care for the fact that their stockings slipped down, so sewed them to the dolls' underwear. Viola! Pantyhose had been invented.
The Mansion of Happiness was the first board game sold in the United States. It was developed by S.B. Ives of Massachusetts and was released in 1843. The object of the game was to move around the spiral track and be the first player to gain eternal happiness. Good deeds allowed you to advance, while deeds such as cruelty and being ungrateful moved you back. Today, game boards are still a lot of fun.
I'm glad you came on this journey back in time to take a look at different toys and games. Please leave your comments in the Discussion Area. If you have questions, I would be glad to answer them.
For another great article on the history of toys and games, read Toys and Games in the Middle Ages, written by Virginia Marin of Kids' Medieval Quest.
Clipart on this article, courtesy of Clipart ETC.
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