Toys 100 Years Ago

Posted by on Jun 20, 2012 in Art, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Logic Smart, Non-Fiction, Self Smart | 0 comments

It is only Day 3 of summer vacation, and already I’m hearing the words guaranteed to make a parent go bonkers: “I’m bored!” I point out the oodles of toys, many of them electronic and almost all of them plastic, that litter my house and yet, my child still insists that “there’s nothing to do”. Before I threaten my precious darling with a list of chores that could keep him occupied miserably for the next three months, I gently sit him down beside me to read this book.

Toys 100 Years Ago by Allison Lassieur is one of those wonderful nonfiction books that doesn’t read like a dry encyclopedia entry. The sepia photos of children from 100 years ago playing with Tinker Toys and Erector sets make me want to build something. Toys 100 Years Ago is an early reader book, so the words are simple enough for even young ones to understand. I love the section that talks about “homemade fun” and describes how kids used to make their own toys by cutting paper dolls, building model airplanes, and swinging on rope swings.

After reading this book, my child and I can discuss how it truly is possible to have fun without batteries, plastic, or electricity. In a classroom, I’d make a “Then and Now” chart with my students, and I’d share other books from the 100 Years Ago series, on topics like food, clothes, and school. At home or in the classroom, kids can use newspapers and magazines, popsicle sticks and crayons, string and clay to make their own kites, airplanes, dollhouses – anything they can imagine – just like the kids who, 100 years ago, dared to whine to their parents, “I’m bored!”

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