The History of the Toy

After all, who invented toys? What was the first toy?

We can assume that since there have been children, there have also been lots of games!

Today it is believed that the first toys of all were simple objects that were found in nature itself, such as stones, shells or small branches, which children used spontaneously to have fun in their free time.

With the evolution of human societies, toys also underwent many changes and developments until they reached what we know now. But all the sophistications of modern times have not taken away the essence of toys and many of their characteristic features have survived to this day.

In ancient times, the most powerful toys were imagination and make-believe .

In ancient civilizations, such as Greece or Egypt, more elaborate toys already existed. In archaeological explorations, items intentionally made to be toys were found, such as fabric dolls, clay dolls and even other games and toys, which were the precursors of some of the ones we know today, such as checkers, chess, petanque , or even a slingshot .

Dolls are considered the oldest toy in the world. And the second? Probably a yo-yo !

In the Middle Ages there was already interest in the manufacture of toys, even if completely handmade: Toys were made by hand and using simple materials, according to what was available. Simple vehicles, spinning tops, balls made of leather or fabric, board games and even puzzles, wooden toys such as animals or miniature soldiers, or cloth or straw dolls . These toys served as the first educational toys , so that children could learn the customs and rules of society at the time, but also so that they could develop their skills through play.

From the toys of yesteryear to modern sophistication, the evolution of toys has not stopped: Adults have started to take playing more seriously!

It was the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries that brought so many innovations to modern society in different sectors and that also had a great impact on the availability and diversity of toys. Mass production reached toys, popularizing their use by all children, just like the materials that are most common today, such as metal, wood and plastic.

The first musical toys appeared, the first miniature trains and cars, made of metal, and porcelain dolls. Some games we still play today, toys for bathing and playing in the water, and even the first soft toys for newborns and little ones.

The evolution of toys, especially in the 19th century, not only reflected industrial progress, but also the growing appreciation of moments of leisure and childhood, as very essential moments in human life, as individuals and as a society. The toys had the main purpose of imitating behavior in society and teaching about the adult world, in a fun way.

Learning to Play has always been an essential function of toys. We wanted educational toys that were also fun (If they weren't, who would use them?)

In the 20th century, evolution not only continued, but expanded significantly: Childhood and children's development became a clear priority in society, and thus toys also multiplied. Progress in the educational system, in children's rights, the Montessori educational method , were all relevant milestones in the evolution of toys.

The introduction of scientific and electronic toys was also a revolutionary step that brought us video game consoles (and marked an entire generation), but not the only one: The most popular characters and brands that we know today also emerged, which made toys a fashion all over the world: the first Barbies, the first Disney characters, Playmobil and Lego . And in the 80s and 90s, who doesn't remember great hits like tamagotchi , diabolo or Jenga ?

Is today?

There are now global organizations, policies and efforts that place child development and toys at the top of priorities to ensure children's well-being and development. The diversity of toys also reflects the different cultures, interests and needs of children around the world. The technological revolution today offers impressive toys and increasingly engaging experiences, but without losing the traditional focus on educational toys ,pretend toys and, of course, outdoor play , which are as important today, if not more important, than in previous centuries. .


From toys for babies to robots and projector flashlights , from shapes to fit together to more complex constructions , and from texture books to games to develop themes and conversations, there is a toy waiting to amuse and develop any child (or adult!)

If you haven't noticed yet, at Mini-Me we take Play very seriously ! See all our suggestions, by brand, age or type. And if you need help choosing your ideal toy, we'll be here to help!

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