Toys in rich homes
During the 19th century, factory-made toys, including tin toys and clockwork toys, went on sale. Rich children had more toys to choose from: train sets, toy soldiers, rocking horses, dolls and doll's houses, tea-sets and toy shops with toy fruit, vegetables, meat, hats and medicines. Other popular toys were alphabet bricks, sailing boats, jigsaw puzzles and Noah's Arks. In many homes, children were not allowed toys on Sundays - except Noah's Ark, because that was in the bible.
Toys in poor homes
Most Victorian toys were made of wood, paper or metal. There were no plastic toys. Poor children usually played with home-made toys. A clothes peg might be turned into a doll, and a lump of wood become a toy boat. A piece of rope could be used for skipping, and rags stuffed with sawdust might become a ball or an animal to cuddle. As a treat, families sometimes bought cheap factory-made toys from a 'penny stall' in the market.
The Victorians were keen on outdoor games, such as football. The first FA Cup Final was played in 1872. Schools encouraged team games to 'build character'. The Victorians made up rules for many games we still play. An example is badminton, which developed from a old game called battledore and shuttlecock. If they did not have a proper football, poor children kicked around a blown-up pig's bladder, from the butcher's shop.
Indoors, children played board games such as Snakes and Ladders (which became a popular toyshop game towards the end of the 19th century), Ludo and Draughts, and also card games. A popular card game was Happy Families, introduced in the middle of the Victorian period. There were also pencil and paper games, such as Noughts and Crosses, which we still play today. Children played table games, such as Tiddlywinks, a new craze in the 1890s, and Shove Halfpenny and Bagatelle. At parties, children played traditional 'ring' games like Oranges and Lemons and Kiss in the Ring. In quiet moments, they pasted pictures into Scrapbooks.