Thursday, October 23, 2014


Young girls playing in Arlington Heights, 1914

Old MacDonald Day at the Arlington Heights Historical Society Museum, 1993

Today is #TBT, but it’s not Throwback Thursday, it’s Throwback Toys!

Before we talk about the above pictures, we have a game! It should not be too hard, but see if you can figure out this quick history of toys.

The toys children have played with have varied greatly over time. From cornhusk dolls to EZBake Ovens, Tinker Toys to robot dogs, some things have prevailed to always be true in the world of children’s toys.

One thing that has always been true about children’s toys is that they use the latest technology available. In the 1940’s it was electric trains that were utilizing technology. In the 1970’s and 80’s developing technology gave way to the EZBake Oven. While we’re talking about technology, let’s not forget Barbie! She was created because of advancing technology, and cause there’s only so many things a paper doll can do. Since her debut in 1959, Barbie has had many careers in the technology field. She was an astronaut in 1965 and was most recently was an oncologist fighting cancer.

Another aspect that has stayed prevelant is the popularity of action figures and building toys. Today it is Transformers, in the 1960’s and 70’s, it was G.I. Joe. The popularity of these toys never seems to waiver. Also still popular are building toys like Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys that rose to popularity in the 1940’s. If we had to bet, we’d say that parents will forever be stepping on, and cursing, those little Legos.

Despite all the technology available to kids these days, simple toys still retain their magic. Yo-yos, kites, a baseball, and a doll can still bring a smile to a child’s face. Other toys that are still popular are “Cup & Ball”, Jacob’s Ladder, Cat’s Cradle string game, and puzzles. If you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or items to keep the children busy in the car, all of these are available at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum’s Heritage Shop. 


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