Hobbies and games in the s used to be simple and involve lots of imagination. A good job too with the war years still a close memory and most families not having a penny piece to spare. Author Elaine Everest looks back on some of our favourite traditional games. A slice of bread and scrape, a bottle of water with a paper stopper and the gang were ready for adventures. Soap carts, play acting and it never cost a penny! Wheels for the soap carts came from old prams and there were always a few planks of wood about.
Little boys and girls in the s had much more sophisticated toys than those just a decade older. In the early 40s toys were getting more advanced, but they all had sort of a war slant to them. Girls were playing house, pretending to be mommy, feeding and clothing their little baby dolls — of which they had dozens to choose from. They had toy brooms, mops, tea sets, irons, ovens — you name it. If mom had it, they made a small version for lil Jane. A game could call itself electronic if it had a blinking light. Chutes and Ladders, which was originally a game in India called Snakes and Ladders, was introduced in by Milton Bradley.
Board games were a tactile thing with components that you could physically move around a board vs. Games were about chance and strategy or a combination of the two. They were fun.
Girl with doll, Piper family. The joyful holiday season is the perfect time to introduce you to the Library and Archives Canada collection of photographs related to games and toys. It was also during the Victorian era that toys and diversion were deemed beneficial to children, thereby kick-starting the mass production of playthings.