The history of toys

Dollhouse of Petronella_Ortman by Jacob Appel from the 17th century (© Wikipedia)

Some of the earliest things children played with were stones, shells and bones. Children played games thousands of years ago. The original meaning of the word “toy” is trinket, trifle and only later did it come to mean “something for children to play with”.

The first children’s toys probably originated in Switzerland, Germany (in the 1500’s) and the Netherlands. But the elaborate Dutch dolls’ houses of the 17th century, for instance, were not for children to play with. They were to show off a family’s wealth.  

Producer: Maggie Ayre

Broadcast: November 9, 1999