Toys and games have been a part of our lives, and the lives of children all over the world, for hundreds of years. Some, like dolls and toy cars are as popular today as they were years ago, but the materials they are made from and the way they are made has shifted and changed with the times. Others, like the Etch A Sketch have been taken over by exciting new technologies and trends.
Whether exploring iconic toys like the Rubik’s cube, or old favourites like the teddy bear, toys are a great way to help children find out about the past and develop their historical skills and understanding.
Using the resource
This resource features old toys and games from museums across the Tees Valley. These are great for stimulating group or whole-class discussions, and for children to:
- Explore and develop ideas
- Consolidate knowledge and progression
- Develop second order concepts and vocabulary
- Secure the ability to talk about what they know.
The resource is also packed with practical ideas to support history learning across the curriculum:
- Stimulate children’s early awareness of the past with our creative, play-based approaches
- Project images of our old toys onto your whiteboard and discover what they can reveal about the past through our discussion questions and ‘looking closer’ games
- Bring history learning to life with our tried-and-tested cross-curricular activities
- Explore our photo gallery of children playing with toys in the past – including members of our very own museum team!
- Print out our ‘Toys and games from our past’ grid and use it to sort, compare or order the toys, or make your own games such as ‘Snap’ or ‘Bingo’.
Why not also try…?
- Focusing on a different toy from the resource each week
- Borrowing one of our toy-themed loans boxes
- Using old toys to think about sustainability with this resource specially designed for younger children
- Visiting our museums for an exciting ‘old toys’ session designed specially for schools
- Using our ‘Museum in your Classroom’ toolkit to create your very own toy exhibition.
The below supports the following objectives.
Use museums, museum objects and play to:
- Increase children’s knowledge and sense of the world around them
- Begin to develop a sense of the past
- Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now
- Foster their understanding of a diverse world
- Enrich and widen vocabulary
- Develop skills in questioning, conversing and explaining
- Make independent choices.
Key Stage 1
- Recognise some of the ways in which the past is represented, including through museum objects and photographs.
- Understand that old ‘things’ can help us find out about life in the past.
- Ask simple questions about the past and begin to find possible answers to them through play, exploration and research.
Change and continuity over time
- Identify similarities and differences between our lives in the past and today.
- Understand similarities and differences between the lives of different children in the past, eg rich and poor; boys and girls.
- Begin to understand events have happened in the past, other events are happening in the present and that more events will happen in the future.
- Explore ideas of old and new, older and newer.
Language and vocabulary
- Use simple historical language to talk about the past such as:
- Before I was born
- In the past
- Then and now
- When I was younger.
- Develop skills in questioning, conversing and explaining.
The resource can also be used to support learning about:
- Materials and their properties
- Simple mechanisms