History of Toys

Toys have been around since the beginning of time. Children have always found something to play with. From rocks, pincones, and sticks, to more elaborate dolls that were able to move and bend. Some cultures had rituals that involved toys when children would pass from childhood to adulthood. Toys are an important part of a child's life, they help, not only to entertain, but also to enhance cognitive behavior and encourage creativity. This is why many of the toys that are popular today are learning toys and games.

Let's take a look at the timeline in the history of toys:

6,000 - 4,000 B.C.

A discovery of a Babylonian board game similar to chess or checkers put toys back into history further than some people would have thought that they would have went.

3,000 B.C.

Samarians played a game very similar to our backgammon. Egyptians played with marbles that they had fashioned out of stone. Scandinavians had the first pair of ice skates, which were made from animal bone. A ball was also discovered in Scotland that dated back to this time era.

2,000 B.C.

A game that resembled modern day checkers was being played by Egyptians. Dolls have been discovered that date back to this time that were made of string, fabric, and paper, these were also in Egypt.

1,000 B.C.

More traditional toys starting being invented during this time, such as kites in China and yo-yos made of stone in Greece. Also in Greece, girls were to sacrifice their dolls and toys to the goddess Artemis the night before her wedding to signify that she was all grown up.


A game very similar to our parcheesi was dated back to this era.


Playing cards started being used in Asia. (Although it is unlikely that their original use was for a children's toy).


Roller skates were invented by John Joseph Merlin. The first pair of skates were more akin to our roller blades, they were a more primitive inline skate with metal wheels.


A patent for dolls is granted and they are mass-produced in America for the first time.
"The Checkered Game of Life" is invented by Milton Bradley
However, the first board game produced commercially was invented by S.B Ives and was called "The Mansion of Happiness".
Alphabet blocks became a favorite children's toy.
The Steiff bears collection was created by Margarete Steiff.
Roller skates were improved upon with two wheels on each side and an axle for each pair of wheels.
BRIO's first Wooden train sets were introduced.
The first BB gun was invented just after the Civil War.
Johann Maezel's speaking doll is improved by Thomas Edison's phonograph technology.
Mah Johngg is invented in China.
Sleds for playing in the snow are introduced.
Three-dimensional kites are invented by Lawrence Hargrave.
Musical and soft toys are first mass produced by Gund.


Since the early 1900s we have been able to keep better records on how many toys were introduced and what types of toys were invented. But the invention of toys seems to have exploded in the 1900s through the present. In the early 1900s the now famous Radio Flyer Wagons were starting to be produced, Crayola crayons were manufactured. Video Games were introduced, as well as many many board games, new dolls, action figures, the list goes on.

Toys have been improved upon over the ages. Dolls, yo-yo's, marbles, and some board games have been around nearly as long as humankind itself, and children still adore these toys and ask for the frequently as gifts.

In the past children didn't always have toys available to them, so they would make do by playing music with washboards and cowbells as well as creating things from left over wood stove pipe and other items that would be recycled instead of just thrown away such as paint buckets and galvanzied tubs.