Portal:Toys

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A toy is an object used in play. Toys are usually associated with children and pets, but it is not unusual for adult humans and some non-domesticated animals to play with toys. Many items are manufactured to serve as toys, but items produced for other purposes can also be used as toys. A child may pick up a household item and 'fly' it around pretending that it is an airplane, or an animal might play with a pinecone by batting at it, biting it, chasing it, and throwing it up in the air. Some toys are produced primarily as collector's items and are not intended to be played with.

The origin of toys is prehistoric; dolls representing infants, animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults are readily found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word "toy" is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century.

Toys and play in general are an important part of the process of learning about the world and growing up. The young use toys and play to discover their identity, help their bodies grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, and practice skills they will need as adults. Adults use toys and play to form and strengthen social bonds, teach, remember and reinforce lessons from their youth, discover their identity, exercise their minds and bodies, explore relationships, practice skills, and decorate their living spaces.

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Selected article

Objects made of Play-Doh.

Play-Doh is a modeling compound used by young children for art and craft projects at home and in school. Composed of flour, water, salt, boric acid, and mineral oil, the product was first manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s. When a classroom of children began using the wallpaper cleaner as a modeling compound, the product was reworked and marketed to Cincinnati schools in the mid-1950s. Play-Doh was demonstrated at an educational convention in 1956 and prominent department stores opened retail accounts. Advertisements promoting Play-Doh on influential children's television shows in 1957 furthered the product's sales. Since its launch on the toy market in the mid-1950s, Play-Doh has generated a considerable amount of ancillary merchandise such as The Fun Factory. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Play-Doh in its "Century of Toys List".

Selected picture

Lincoln Logs
Credit: Jesse Weinstein

Lincoln Logs is the name of a children's toy consisting of notched miniature logs, used to build miniature forts and buildings. They were invented by John Lloyd Wright, son of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Lincoln Logs were inducted into the US National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Selected biography

Theresa Caplan (1913–2010) was an American twentieth-century scholar of early childhood development and a collector of worldwide toys. Working with her husband Frank, she wrote multiple acclaimed books and built a massive collection of toys that is now part of a significant museum.

Did you know...

Did you know?


  • ...that the travels of a shipment of 29,000 Friendly Floatees bath toys lost overboard in the Pacific in 1992 have been used to model the world's ocean currents?


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