My stories often have children in them so I am often challenged to find toys for them. I’ve visited countless museums and have thousands of pictures taken at them but if one were to judge the abundance of toys (or rather lack of) by how many displays there are of toys, I’d have to conclude there weren’t a lot of toys. It would seem that children of the 1800s relied heavily on their imaginations, their siblings and pets or farm animals for entertainment.
There has always been dolls. Both commercially made and homemade.
There were carriages for the dolls.
There has been marbles, and board games. And of course, books. (see marble game and books on coffee table)
Sometimes the child was fortunate enough to have a wooden horse or a wagon.
Wealthier families might have a stereoscope what would be used with adult supervision.
Mothers and fathers often created toys for the children. Mother’s made dolls and animals from socks, clothes pegs or scraps of fabric. Fathers carved little animals. And swings hung from trees have always been popular. We have a play structure in our yard and two swings hanging from the tree. Guess which is the most used.
One of the problems I encounter in museums is the lack of circa dates. I really appreciate it when the displays are clearly marked.
I’m wondering if any of you have discovered information about the toys pioneer children would enjoy.