Toys and Games

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  • Home life in Carlow

Toys and Games in the Past

Long ago, most children did not have toys bought for them. Parents often worked hard to give them essentials like food and clothes. Toys were often homemade, like the straw dolls you can see in the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Most homemade toys have not survived but we can still imagine what they might have been like. For example, do you ever play ball with rolled up socks, or have you made a swing from an old tyre and rope?

By the 1950s, shop-bought dolls became more common. Girls liked to play with dolls' houses and prams. Dolls were often dressed beautifully. Teddy bears looked just as they do today, but they were usually available only in brown, rather than in the variety of colours available today.

Click on the image of the Crolly Doll on the left. Do you see how well dressed she is? These dolls are still popular today.

For boys, Meccano sets were very popular. These were construction sets made from metal. Boys could build cranes and other mechanical items from it. Boys and girls both liked to play with jigsaws and board games like Ludo and Snakes and Ladders.

Toys and Games Today

Today, many toys run on batteries, or can be controlled by remote control. Toys are often based on characters that children see on television or in films. Older children like to play with action figures that look like their favourite characters.

Some of today's toys are similar to those that your parents and grandparents played with. These include teddy bears, dolls, trucks and cars. Modern versions of these toys have extra features and lots of accessories. Today, dolls can cry and speak and come with strollers, buggies and carrycots. Cars and trucks are colourful, and may have flashing lights or sirens.