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Title: Colonial Games and Toys Author: Jerome C. Shapiro Last modified by: State Historic Sites Created Date: 11/7/2002 2:39:01 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Toys

How They Made Toys
  • Colonial children had to make their own toys
    because there were no toy makers or factories.
    They made their toys with things they found, such
    as corn husks, rags, wood, strings and hoops from
  • Colonial Children played more games and had fewer
    toys then modern children.
  • Children often made up new games on the spot.

Who did Early American Children Play with
  • Since most families were large and had six or
    seven children, the children would play with
    their brothers and sisters, or their neighbors

  • Blocks were educational as well as fun. Young
    children practiced working with their hands when
    they played with blocks. The sides of some
    blocks were decorated with letters of the
    alphabet, numbers, or pictures of animals.
    Sometimes blocks had part of a picture on one
    side, forming a simple puzzle. When the blocks
    were arranged properly, they were transformed
    into a colorful picture. Children also used
    block for constructing buildings.

Animated Toys
  • Limberjack
  • Flap jack
  • Pecking Chickens
  • Climbing Bear
  • Jacobs Ladder

  • An authentic Appalachian Mountain rhythm
    instrument made and played in America since
    colonial days. Sometimes called a clogger man,
    jigger, or shuffling Sam because of its dancing
  • To Operate - Sit on dancing board--let as much of
    the board as possible hang out beyond the edge of
    the stool or chair. Hold Jack by the end of the
    stick so that his feet rest on the dancing board
    near the far end. With your free hand, bounce the
    board in time with the music.

Flap Jack

  • In the old days, family often created fascinating
    toys for the youngsters. The Flap Jack was one of
    these wooden favorites. This flippin' floppin'
    Flap Jack is an absolutely amazing performer!
    Indeed, if any normal person were to try Jack's
    brand of acrobatics he would soon be tied up in
    knots. Nobody could match his energetic, wild,

Pecking Chickens
  • Pecking Chickens are one of the earliest
    mechanical toys. Pendulum-operated toys have been
    recorded as early as 3000 BC. This particular
    form, with moveable birds, was present in and
    around Greece and Persia from 500 BC. until the
    middle ages.To Use Hold paddle by the handle.
    Cause the pendulum to swing by moving the paddle
    in a circular motion.

Climbing Bear
  • This energetic little bear loves to scurry up his
    ropes and then slide back down again for anyone
    who is willing to put him into action. One
    "udder" thing This toy was used to teach
    children the art of milking cows.To operate,
    attach the loop on the crossbar to a hook on a
    door, wall, ceiling, or clothes rod. Grasp the
    round handles (one in each hand) and pull down in
    a alternating pattern first one handle then the
    other. The bear will pull himself up paw by paw
    until he reaches the top. When you release the
    tension on the ropes he'll slide back down and be
    ready to climb again!

Jacobs Ladder
  • The Jacob's Ladder toy dates back to Pilgrim
    times in the New World and was allowed as a
    Sunday toy for Puritan children because of its
    biblical reference (Genesis 2812). Jacob was on
    a journey and had a dream about angels moving up
    and down a ladder between heaven and earth. Other
    Sunday toys included the Handkerchief Doll
    (church doll), Noah's Ark, Whirlygig, Pillars of
    Solomon, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, and the Buzz
    Saw. The Jacob's Ladder toy is still enjoyed
    today by both children and adults (as a "nice
    quiet toy").

Indian Pump Drill
  • Perhaps one of man's earliest manufacturing
    methods was the drilling of holes. Primitive
    objects of bone (fish and mammal), ivory, wood,
    stone, and pottery have been discovered in Native
    American mounds (and other burial sites), caves,
    and shell heaps. The diameter of drilled holes
    range from less than 1/32 of an inch to more than
    half an inch. The depth of drilled holes also
    varied -- from less than a quarter of an inch to
    more than six inches! Drilled objects have been
    recovered throughout the world and date from all
    periods of man's existence.

  • Besides "finger drills," there were also "shaft
    drills." These basic drills were simply straight
    shafts of wood or bone. The thickness of the
    shaft could be as little as a quarter of an inch
    to over 3/4 of an inch. Drill lengths ranged from
    less than 10 inches to more than two feet!
  • Shaft drills were rotated back and forth between
    the driller's hands. A shaft drill could also be
    used horizontally. This was accomplished by
    rolling the shaft drill up and down the thigh
    with one hand and holding the object against the
    drill point with the other hand.

  • Yet another technique was to "hold" the object
    between the feet and use both hands to rotate the
    drill shaft back and forth. This type of drill
    was seen used by members of Columbus' expeditions
    and mentioned in "Antiquity of Mexico." Along
    with the "strap drill," this is the only drill
    mentioned by Early American explorers.
  • The successor to the shaft drill is the strap
    drill. This tool is used not only for drilling
    holes but also for starting fires. Hence, the
    strap drill is also known by the name "fire
    drill." The shaft drill is an improvement because
    it increases the number of revolutions and allows
    for greater pressure to be exerted on the top of
    the shaft. The drill shaft is kept in position
    using a piece of wood (headpiece) and held in
    between the person's teeth.

  • The shaft is rotated by wrapping a leather strap
    once around it and holding the ends by the hands.
    By pulling in one direction and then the other,
    the shaft spun and drilled into an object. To get
    a better grip, pieces of wood or bone would be
    attached to the ends of the strap. The strap
    drill was used by cave dwellers in France as well
    as the early Egyptian, Greek and Indian (Asia)
    civilizations. The Aleut and Greenlanders of long
    ago are also known to have used the strap drill.
  • The improvement to the strap drill came with the
    invention of the "bow drill." This tool allowed
    the shaft to be rotated at a much greater speed
    and the head piece is held by a hand instead of
    the mouth. The strap is tied to a bowed stick
    (or, possibly, a curved piece of bone) and
    wrapped once around the shaft. The bow is then
    moved backward and forward with the other hand to
    make the shaft revolve.

  • Yet another improvement led to the invention of
    the "pump drill." This type of drill has a shaft
    which passes through a disc of stone, wood or
    pottery and a crosspiece through which the shaft
    runs. To the ends of the crosspiece is attached a
    leather string or thong, There is enough "play"
    in the string or thong to allow it to cross the
    top of the shaft and permit the crosspiece to
    reach close to the disc. The disc is turned to
    wind the string about the shaft thus raising the
    crosspiece. By pressing down on the crosspiece
    several time the shaft is made to turn. The
    disc's purpose is to make the shaft rewind the
    string. This method allows the pump drill to have
    even greater speeds than the strap drill or bow
    drill. Also, one hand is left free to hold the
    object being drilled.

Fun Fact
  • The pump drill was used by the Iroquois and
    Pueblo Indians. It is still used today in the
    process of creating works of art!

Action and Skill
  • Yo Yo
  • Mountain Bolo
  • Spool Tractor
  • Puddle Jumper
  • Rocking Horse
  • Top
  • Cup and ball
  • Fish toss game
  • Kite
  • juggling

  • The yo-yo dates back to ancient Greece and was
    used in England, France, and other European
    countries. It was also known as a "Bandelure" or
    winding toy and, in England, a "Prince of Wales"
    toy, in France Bandelure.
  • About the beginning of the 19th Century, the
    bandilor as it was called in England, became a
    fashionable toy under the name of Quiz, and
    scarcely any person of fashion was without one of
    these toys.
  • Today, most yo-yos are made from either wood or
    plastic, but they have also been made from gold,
    silver, and animal horn.
  • Fun Fact The Yo-yo fromed a part of the early
    history of Filipino weaponry. Attackers would
    hide among tree branches, waiting patiently for
    the enemy to pass below, and then skillfully
    release their yo-yos, hitting the victims on the

Mountain Bolo
  • This skill toy contains two small balls at the
    end of the string.  The string has a small loop
    near the center, but the lengths of string are
    unequal to avoid a clash of the weights. 
    Grasping the center loop, the object is to make
    the two weights orbit in opposite directions
    (counter rotate) by moving the hand up and down
    or back and forth.  This looks quite easy, but it
    isn't until the straight line movement is
    mastered. The weights often are nuts (such as
    buckeyes and even machine nuts), while in the
    eskimo yo-yo version of the polar regions small
    sealskin balls are filled with sand for weight.

Spool Tractor
  • Before children's toys became mass-produced, many
    parents made toys for their little ones from
    whatever they had at hand. This toy evolved from
    the wooden spools of thread normally found in the
    sewing baskets of mothers. Other spool toys were
    made but the spool tractor became a classic toy.
    Wind up the long dowel, put the toy down on a
    hard surface and watch it go!

Puddle Jumper (Flying Machine)
  • This toy is possibly the world's oldest flying
    toy! Over 2,000 years ago, the Chinese invented a
    toy of this type called the "Chinese Top," which
    consisted of a propeller attached to a stick. A
    helicopter-type flying toy of this kind was given
    to the Wright brothers by their father, and they
    became fascinated with the idea of flying. Now
    known as a hand propeller or helicopter, kids
    love to play with this simple toy at family
    gatherings and birthday parties. Spin it between
    your hands and watch it soar! Adult supervision
    is suggested for young children.

Rocking Horse
  • Rocking horses are more than a great toy for a
    child they are a distinguished piece of history!
    In fact private collectors and museums currently
    own and/or display some dating back to the 17th
    century, including one once owned by King Charles
    the First of England when he was a child.
  • Although rocking horses became prominent during
    the Georgian and Victorian periods of England
    (where it subsequently became popular in
    America), it is believed that crude toy horses
    placed upon wheels were made for children as far
    back as ancient Greece and Egypt.
  • A 17th-century rocking horse which could have
    been commissioned as a gift for Charles I is to
    be unveiled as the VA Museum of Childhoods
    latest acquisition. Purchased from a private
    collector, it will go on public display in the
    Museums new mezzanine galleries when the Museum
    reopens to the public on 9 December.

  • Spinning tops have been used by cultures
    throughout history and around the world. Tops
    were introduced in Japan during the 8th century
    from China by way of Koma in the Korean
    Peninsula. Japanese tops are known as "koma" and
    were originally a game for court people and
    nobility. Playing with tops is also part of our
    Early American history. They were known as "peg
    tops" in the early 1800s and played with by boys.

Top Nursery Rhyme
  • Spinning Twirly Tops
  • No Strings or spring or ring or wing.
  • It spins on its pedestal true.
  • Just give it a twirl, then its off with a whirl.
  • And the effect will surely surprise you too.

Circle Toss (Top Game)
  • Circle Toss Twirly tops can be even more fun
    when used in top games. The simplest of all top
    games involves trying to land the twirly top in a
    designated area. First, make a ring on the floor
    or outside in the dirt. Stand back about a foot
    behind the circle and throw the twirly top in the
    circle. Make sure it lands spinning! The player
    whose top lands in the circle the most times out
    of ten attempts wins!

Plugging (Top Game)
  • Plugging the first player begins by spinning a
    top in the circle. The next player attempts to
    knock it out of the circle while keeping his/her
    twirly top spinning

Numbers (Top Game)
  • Divide a circle into sections and assign a
    numerical value to each section. Players
    alternate turns in the game. The first player
    places his/her twirly top directly in the middle
    of the circle and then begins spinning the top.
    Score points according to where the top stops
    spinning. The player with the most points in ten
    attempts wins!

  • Conqueror was an exciting game! Two players spun
    their tops so that the tops so that the tops
    bounced against each other. The top that knocked
    the other over, but stayed upright itself, was
    the winner.

Peg in the Ring
  • To play this game children drew a circle on the
    ground about 3 feet (1m) wide. Players threw
    their tops into the ring one at a time, trying to
    peg, or hit the other tops in the ring. The
    object of the game was to split an opponents top
    and keep the iron peg as a trophy.

Cup and Ball
  • Toss toys date back to ancient Greece. The Cup
    and Ball Toss Toy was played with in Colonial
    America and is mentioned in an 1834 publication
    for girls. It is similar to, but much easier than
    the Bilboquet, which has the ball landing on a
    pointed stick instead of inside a cup. See if you
    can catch the ball with the cup. Play with others
    and see who can score the majority of points by
    catching the ball the most. Do not let this toy
    fool you it takes good hand dexterity to score.
  • Cup and Ball is a game that tests the hand-eye
    coordination of the player. Played indoors or
    outdoors, the game consists of a cup made of
    wood. A wooden ball is connected to the cup by a
    string and the cup is attached to the handle.
  • The object of the game is to swing the ball into
    the cup.

Fish Toss Game
  • American Folk toy. They say The Indian Ring Toss
    game was created by the Indians to teach the
    children how to spear fish. When all the rings
    line up just so, the fish appears through the
    holes and thats the moment to spear him.

  • Walking on stilts is practiced by the shepherds
    of the Landes, or desert, in the south of
    France. Stilts are easily constructed two poles
    are procured, and at some distance from their
    ends, a loop of leather or rope is securely
    fastened in these the feet are placed, the poles
    are kept in a proper position by the hands, and
    put forward by the action of the legs. A superior
    mode of making stilts is by substituting a piece
    of wood, flat on the upper surface, for the
    leather loop the foot rests on and is fastened
    by a strap to it a piece of leather or rope is
    also nailed to the stilt, and passed round the
    leg just below the knee stilts made in this
    manner do not reach to the hands, but are managed
    entirely by the feet and legs. In many parts of
    England, boys and youth frequently amuse
    themselves by walking on stilts. (Clarke, 73-4)
  • Take two long poles of equal length. At the same
    height, nail a flat piece of wood perpendicular
    to each pole sot that it forms a small step. Hold
    poles at angle so that the end of the pole
    closest to the step is facing down. Wrap an arm
    around each pole so that your shoulder is in
    front of the pole, but your elbow is behind the
    pole. Place one foot on the step, and as you
    place your second foot up, pull the poles so that
    they are perpendicular with the ground. Pull up
    with the stilt at the same time you take a step.
    Take small steps to begin.

  • Kite-flying has been a favorite pastime of
    American Children for generations. Perhaps the
    most famous kite-flyer of all time was Benjamin
  • In one original test, kite-flying was described
    as fine fun, especially if you had a good kite,
    plenty of string and a day neither too windy or
    too calm.
  • The object of kite-flying was always to see whose
    kite could sour higher than anyone elses or
    whose kite could remain airborne the largest.

Bilboquette (Bilbo Catcher)
  • A popular toy regarded today as an Appalachian
    toy, the Bilbo Catcher is a ball with a hole
    drilled into it which has a string running
    through the ball, and the other end of the string
    is attached to a turned handle with a small
    curved surface onto which the ball, being swung,
    is to be caught and balanced. Much like the Cup
    and Ball game, this is more difficult than Cup
    and Ball. The chief differences between the two
    are that the Bilbo Catcher has a much smaller
    area with which to capture the ball, and the
    ball, once caught, is not bounded by walls, and
    so can easily fall off rather than being trapped
    in a cup.

  • The oldest reference of juggling appears in an
    Egyptian tomb of an unknown prince from the
    Middle Kingdom period circa 1994-1781 B.C. A
    drawing depicts three women juggling by
    themselves and two pairs of women with partners
    on their backs who are juggling with each other.
    Balls used for play during this time period would
    probably have been made from leather stuffed with
    shredded leaves, three to nine centimeters in
    diameter. We know of other balls made of wood,
    clay faience, or plaited palm leaves because they
    were found in children's graves. In ancient
    Greece, competition was a part of life. Greek
    girls did not compete as much in physical
    activities as the boys, but they did play games.
    A vase shows a Greek girl juggling, but she is
    not considered an entertainer or an acrobat,
    rather just an ordinary girl. The word juggling
    derives from the Middle English jogelen to
    entertain by performing tricks, in turn from the
    French jongleur and the Old French jogler. There
    is also the Late Latin form joculare of Latin
    joculari, meaning to jest.
  • Juggling became highly popular in America during
    the days of traveling circuses and was closely
    associated with clowns. Today, there are juggling
    associations, magazines devoted to juggling and
    open competitions. Jugglers use other props to
    juggle such as beanbags, rings, clubs, knives,
    and lit torches.
  • Juggling is a physical human skill involving the
    movement of objects, usually through the air, for
    entertainment (see object manipulation). The most
    recognizable form of juggling is toss juggling,
    where the juggler throws objects through the air.
    Jugglers often refer to the objects they juggle
    as props. The most common props are balls,
    beanbags, rings, clubs, and bouncing balls.

Optical Toys
  • Thaumatrope
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Zoetrope

Thaumatrope (Wonder Turner)
  • The Thaumatrope, also known as the Wonder
    Turner was invented in 1826 by the English
    physician J.A. Paris. The Thaumatrope consisted
    of a piece of cardboard with a picture or image
    drawn on each side and two pieces of string
    attached to the cardboard with which to spin it.
    When the Thaumatrope was rapidly twisted back and
    forth, the pictures on either side merged into

  • The kaleidoscope was invented in 1818. It looks
    like a telescope, but you can see a wonderful
    design inside the tube. This effect is created
    by several mirrors at the end of the tube. The
    mirrors reflect the pattern made by many chips of
    colored glass. The design can be changed by
    turning the section containing the bits of glass.

  • This toy makes pictures appear as if they are
    moving. The toy is a drum like cylinder lined
    with a series of pictures. Between each picture
    was a small slot. To use the zoetrope, a child
    spun the cylinder and peered through a slot. The
    pictures inside appeared to move creating a short

Puzzle Toys
  • Button and string
  • Ox and yoke
  • Nail puzzle

Button String Puzzles
  • The Button and String Puzzle is also known as the
    Cinch Puzzle because it resembles cinch blocks
    used to tighten tent ropes during the American
    Civil War. The object of the puzzle is to remove
    the wood button and string from the block of wood
    without untying the string. A similar but much
    more complicated toy called The Puzzling Rings is
    described in great detail in "The Boys Own Book,"
    published in 1829. These kinds of puzzles are a
    great amusement for anyone traveling long
    distances. Keep this toy in your car or give it
    to a child who has everything, especially time on
    his or her hands!

Ox yoke Puzzle
  • Puzzles have been a source of amusement and
    entertainment since the 3rd century B.C. If there
    were a "golden age of puzzles," it was probably
    around the end of the 1800s and early part of the
    20th century. It was during this period that the
    first patents for puzzles were granted.
  • The Ox-Yoke Puzzle belongs to a group of string
    puzzles that were popular during the mid-1800s
    and early 1900s. In fact, these puzzles are still
    mind bogglers for all ages today.
  • The object of the Ox-Yoke Puzzle is to move one
    wooden ring from the string loop on one side of
    the puzzle to the string loop on the other side
    of the puzzle without untying knots or cutting
    the string.
  • Fun Fact The Ox-Yoke Puzzle is also known as the
    "Lover's Yoke Puzzle."

Nail Puzzle
  • The Nail Puzzle is a good example of olde-time
    ingenuity and resourcefulness. It looks simple,
    but is guaranteed to drive many bonkers! Just
    when you're ready to pound out the nails and use
    'em in your fence, they fall apart. But then try
    to show somebody how it's done -- wrong-o! Just
    remember, if at first you don't succeed, try, try
    again. Getting them back together is fully 50 of
    the puzzle fun.

Metal Puzzles
Noise Making Toys
  • Buzz Saw
  • Bull Roarer

Buzz Saw
  • The Buzz Saw is one of the most popular
    noisemakers of all times! Native Americans made
    "buzzers" from a circular piece of bone or antler
    and used sinew instead of string. Colonial
    children played with buzz saws. This type of
    noisemaker was also known as "button on a string"
    during the Victorian Period and later. A very
    large button from a mother's sewing basket could
    be strung for this toy. Coins, bamboo, stones,
    and seashells have also been used to make this
    toy. Tin was even used, and teeth were cut around
    the circumference so that the disc would shred a
    piece of paper when the two came in contact. Made
    this way, it resembles a circular saw blade, and
    this is where it got the name Buzz Saw. Other
    names for the Buzz Saw are Whizzer, Whiligig,
    Whirligig, Moonwinder, and Skyewinder.

Bull Roarer
  • The bull roarer is a primitive wind instrument
    and one of the first musical instruments Man
    invented. It has been used by primitive cultures
    in Africa, Australia, New Guinea, Europe, the
    Americas, and the Arctic polar region. Its
    origins can be traced to 24,000 years ago! It has
    been a symbol of fertility, and evidence of them
    has been found in several Paleolithic sites.
  • The bull roarer was an important acoustical part
    of various spiritual rituals and certain rites of
    passage in some areas of the world. When spun
    overhead in a circular motion, it produces a
    pleasing "whirr, whirr" hypnotic droning sound.
    This sound was incorporated into primitive
    rituals to produce a "voice" of an ancestor, a
    spirit, or deity. To others, its sound
    represented various insects and animals.
  • The bull roarer has been used for several
    purposes. It has been used to call out to the
    spirit world and to gain the attention of
    spiritual beings who were thought to be able to
    influence the natural elements, such as wind and
    rain. Hence, bull roarers are usually painted
    with various symbols representing clouds,
    raindrops, lightning, and other depictions. The
    Apaches in North America used bull roarers to
    call forth rain.
  • This ancient wind instrument was made with a flat
    wooden board (called a "rhomboid") and pierced
    with a small hole at one of the ends for
    attaching a length of cord or rope. The rhomboid
    was sometimes carved, painted, or both. Sometimes
    animal bone or stone was substituted for the flat
    wood board. Oftentimes, a thong handle was tied
    to the other end of the cord for a better grip to
    control speed and direction.

Bull Rorer Continued
  • The bull roarer's sound is produced by vibrations
    of the flat wood as it rotates in the air.
    Changing in the speed and angle to the ground
    changes the sonority and allows an individual to
    make the sounds of a whimper, moan, roar, or
  • There is not a typical range for bull roarers as
    each one is a one-of-a-kind instrument. Change
    the velocity of the spin, however, and the size
    of the instrument affects the relative pitch. The
    smaller the bull roarer, the faster it can be
    spun for a higher pitch. Conversely, a larger
    instrument spinning at a slower speed results in
    a lower pitch.
  • The bull roarer has been used by Native American
    cultures such as the Athabaskan, Nootka, Yokuts,
    Pomo, Hopi, and Aztecs. The Navajo call their
    bull roarers "Tsin di'ni" (groaning stick) and
    used them to drive away evil spirits. It is
    called several different names, including
    "Burliwarni," "Ngurrarngay," and "Muypak."
    Sometimes a bull roarer was used to send animals
    into ambush or to alert a tribe of another's
    presence in their area.
  • To the Maori, the bull roarer is called
    "Purererhua" (butterfly), and a smaller version
    (called a "Porotiti") was used for healing by
    spinning over areas of rheumatism or arthritis.
    (The sound's vibrations massaged joints in a
    similar way to modern ultrasound therapy!)
  • The main academics that have studied ancient bull
    roarers have been ethnomusicologists and
    anthropologists. This is because of the
    instrument's use in ritual and magic ceremonies.
  • Fun Fact The bull roarer is also called a
    Rhombus and is still used today as the "voice of
    God" by Aborigine tribes in Australia!
  • Fun Fact The bull roarer is an "aerophone" and,
    along with the flute, one of the oldest musical
    instruments of its kind!