Have you ever wondered about the origins of toys. We have all played with them, they are a big part of our childhood and many of us still have toys that we could never part with, they are as important to us as our family and friends, and in most cases, especially with cuddly, soft toys they can be more important.
But the history of toys and what they were for is interesting. Having thought they were a relatively new concept brought into society as we started gifting it’s somewhat shocking to discover the truth.
Toys, We have all had that one extra special one we loved and treasured, no matter how bashed and broken it might have become over the years. That lovable doll with one arm missing and tufts of her hair where its been styled and styled time and time again, eventually falling out. The teddy bear with hardly any fur left because its been cuddled that much it’s literally worn out. The toy car that has taken young boys on magical imaginary road trips.
But the history behind toys is surprising. We checked out some interesting facts and it’s apparent that the things we play with started out as educational pieces.
The origin of toys is prehistoric, Dolls representing infants animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults are readily found at archaeological sites.
The origin of the word “toy” is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century. Toys are mainly made for children. The oldest known doll toy is thought to be 4,000 years old.
Playing with toys is considered to be important when it comes to growing up and learning about the world around us. Younger children use toys to discover their identity, help their bodies grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, and practice skills they will need as adults. Adults on occasion use toys to form and strengthen social bonds, teach, help in therapy, and to remember and reinforce lessons from their youth.
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 (3010–1500 BCE) include small carts, whistles shaped like birds, and toy monkeys which could slide down a string.
The earliest toys are made from materials found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and clay. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood.
In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, children played with dolls made of wax or terracotta, sticks, bows and arrows and yo-yo’s. 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 oldest known mechanical puzzle also comes from Greece and appeared in the 3rd century BC. 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).
After the ‘enlightenment period’ toys slowly became more widespread and the educational element was softened with the enjoyment aspect that we know about our toys. And now we have the collectability factor where individual toys are part of a bigger picture. Some might say this exploits our desire to have everything, others see it as a way of ‘educating’ children about the value of collections and caring for special things.
With all of these factors taken into consideration here at OceanJ we have decided to add a small collection of [collectable] soft toys to our ‘kids’ range. Limited, affordable and extra specially cute we hope you and your children enjoy them.
Watch this space.
With thanks to Wikipedia. for the ‘history’ lesson and to Pixabay for the toy images.