A brief history of toys

Seeing this store in Palo Alto’s main strip got me thinking about toys. What are toys? When were they invented and what exactly does this store sell?

I have decided that toys are manufactured items that either represent tools of adults or creatures (real or imaginary) that serve the purpose of helping children in their very natural activity of play.

It is worth noting that, unrefined –non-manufactured– items could also be considered toys. Since the invention of the spear and before, young children have undoubtedly emulated the adult hunt using raw, naturally sourced sticks.

Toys are rare in the archaeological record in great part because they are not critical tools which their manufacturers intend to last long. Toys are secondary or tertiary to all manufactured goods –tools, clothing, religious objects, dildos and even shiny stones are more important.

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Children playing with sticks. Source

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