Toys from the Past

Enjoy discovering how children played in the past, what they played with and how this differed for rich and poor children. You will investigate historic toys and games from our collection and compare them to the toys you play with today, the technology behind them and the materials they are made from. We will ask you to think ahead to when you might have grandchildren…the toys you play with today will seem very old-fashioned to them. How do you think toys and games will change in the future?

The learning pack includes original photos, images and historical information about toys of local provenance. It also provides opportunities to develop learning skills through observation, discussion and creativity. The learning pack is designed to be used in conjunction with the image bank, which provides answers to the questions posed in the pack. However, the image bank can also be used as a standalone resource.


– Changes within living memory
– Reveal aspects of change in national life.
– Significant historical events, people and places in their locality.
– Everyday materials and their uses.
– Cross Curricular links: Design and Technology, Spoken Language, Science


KS1 and KS2


By the end of this set of activities students will:

– Learn about toys from the past, explore historical language and how we know some toys are old.
– Compare and contrast the life of rich and poor children in the past.
– Use enquiry and observational skills.
– Identify and name a variety of different materials and understand their properties.
– Identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.
– Appreciate changes within living memory.


Toys loans boxes can be hired from the museum.

Watch Mark, our Collections Officer, talk briefly about the Penny Farthing bicycle and the Toy Theatre in the video links below.