An Old-Fashioned Christmas

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What toys did children play with before electronic games were invented?  Old photographs show children with homemade toys, games and dolls before the rise of the department store and electronics. While homemade was easier to acquire, and cheaper too, parents might also purchase a few commercially made toys on special occasions.  Most of these were uncomplicated items, and were designed to foster creative play, hand-eye coordination and to promote skills or interests that parents believed children would need in the future.

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Frank and Grace Ead’s Children at Flag L Ranch: Jim, Iris, Eileen, Warren 2004.71.013

This month we’re featuring several old-time toys in our Museum Store

The wooden Cup-and-Ball toy is fun for everyone.  The object is to toss the ball, which is tethered by a string, into the cup.  It’s a skill which takes patience and coordination to master. The museum staff finds that attempting to land the ball into the cup is great distraction and a good way to work off nervous energy. It also makes for a fun victory cheer each time it is achieved.

Remember playing jacks as a child?  There are many ways to play with a set of metal jacks and two rubber balls.  The set comes with a handbook loaded with game suggestions for hours of fun for ages 4 and older.Jacks.jpg

Most are familiar with the game of marbles where the object is to knock one’s opponent’s marbles out of a circle with a larger “shooter” marble.  Many other games can be played with a set of marbles, and our collection comes complete with marbles, a wooden arch-board, dice and instructions.

The best kind of play for children’s developing brains is creative play, where they can design their own toy.  We have several types of beading kits, where children can design their own necklaces with colorful beads. They can take pride in wearing something they have made themselves, or give one as a gift.  This bead kit is best for ages 6 and up.

In other news from the Museum Store, we are excited about our upcoming holiday open house, which will feature an Old-Fashioned Christmas, complete with old-time toys, decorations, gifts and ornaments.  We will be open from 1pm to 5 pm Thursday through Saturday, and will extend our holiday shopping hours from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, December 8 and Saturday, December 15.marb 

Would you like to receive a discount on merchandise from the Museum Store?  Simply become a Museum member, and you will receive 10% to 15% off all merchandise except for memberships.  Many other benefits come with your Museum membership—please call, visit the link below, or stop in today!

https://mercantile.sheridanmuseum.org/t/membership

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