Outdoor Toys, Learning, and Action
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Toys have been around since man has been around, starting presumably with the stick, and progressing to today’s zhu-zhu dolls and ninja turtle action figures among other things. Toys and games have been unearthed from the sites of ancient civilizations. They have been written about in some of our oldest literature.
The earliest toys were made from materials found in nature, such as rocks, sticks, and clay. Thousands of years ago, Egyptian children played with dolls that had wigs and movable limbs which were made from stone, pottery, and wood. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, children played with dolls made of wax or terracotta, sticks, bows and arrows, and yo-yos.
A display of Roman toys, including several that would be familiar to children today: a doll, dice, rattles, and toy dishes for playing house.
As technology changed and civilization progressed, toys also changed. Whereas ancient toys were made from materials found in nature like stone, wood, and grass modern toys are often made from plastic, cloth, and synthetic materials.
This change in the nature of toys is exemplified by the changes that have taken place in one of the oldest and most universal of human toys; dolls. The earliest and most primitive dolls were simple wooden carvings and bundles of grass.
Egyptian dolls were sometimes jointed so that their limbs could move realistically. By the early 1800s there were dolls that could say "mama". Today there are dolls that can recognize and identify objects, the voice of their owner, and choose among hundreds of pre-programed phrases with which to respond.
As our technology progresses, so does the complexity and diversity of our amusements. Once, toys simply reflected everyday life and activities. Today, toys create new ways of living and teach us to adapt to changing technologies, and inspire us to follow our dreams.
In the early 1970's, Pong, the first patented video game was a great hit. Nolan Bushnell created Pong along with a company named Atari. Pong debuted in arcades, and was soon ported to home units. The games Space Invaders, Pac Man, and Tron followed. As technology advanced, the dedicated single game machine was replaced by programmable machines that allowed different games to be played simply by exchanging a cartridge.
Inventions in circuitry and miniaturization in the early 1980's produced handheld games, as Nintendo, a Japanese electronics company, along with many others, moved into the video game market. Home computers created a market for games that were versatile, action packed, challenging, and diverse.
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