Exhibit Donors Toy History Active Toys Miniatures Vehicles Trains Construction Sets Board Games Dolls and Stuffed Animals Other Toys

A History of Toys

Toys date from prehistory; animals, soldiers, and baby dolls, as well as representations of tools used by adults are often found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word "toy" is unknown, but may have first been used in the 14th century.  See Toy and Game Timeline for Toys and Games.

Toys and play in general, are important when it comes to growing up and learning about the world around us. The young use toys and play to discover their identity, to help their bodies grow strong, and to 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, exercise their minds and bodies, explore relationships, practice skills, and decorate their living spaces.