Historical Background: Children from around the world have enjoyed playing with toys since before recorded history. Many classic toys and puzzles evolved from what was naturally available or from what adults could invent. Many wooden toys are made with string (Cat's Cradle, Button on a String, and the yo-yo), cord (toss toys), rope (jump rope, and quoits) or ribbon (Graces and Jacob's Ladder).
These toys are "kid powered," use the child's imagination, and improve mental and physical coordination as well as other development skills. Similar toys have been found in ancient Greece, Africa, Australia, England, France, and even the Arctic region. Native Americans, Pilgrims, New World colonists, and children in the Victorian era played with these types of toys and puzzles. Many traditional games come from ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and China. Traders and explorers introduced many of these games to other parts of the world.
Children still enjoy games that were popular throughout our recorded history. Adults have also adopted some of these games as their own. While Jacks, Marbles, Dice, Dominoes, and Cards seem to be favorites, children still enjoy games of skill and competition, whether they are board games, juggling, bowling games, sidewalk games, or parlour games such as pick-up sticks and string games.
Historical toys and puzzles still delight children (and many adults) today! When given the opportunity at a party, a school function, a youth group activity, or when visiting a living history museum, children of all ages will enjoy playing with toys and games from the past.