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Are my toys different from toys in the past?

This family photograph was taken over 100 years ago, in 1900.  It shows the two parents and their four children, who are posing with their favourite toys.

A family photograph taken in 1900.  It shows the two parents and their four children, who are posing with their favourite toys.
A family photograph taken in 1900. It shows the two parents and their four children, who are posing with their favourite toys. © Reproduced by permission of Oxfordshire County Council. Ref. HT12953

Teaching idea

Ask pupils to look at this family photograph that was taken in 1900. Ask them to try and spot any toys in the photograph. The toys in the picture are a doll and a horse and cart. Ask the pupils if they still play with toys like these. You may want to bring in a modern doll and toy car, to help them make comparisons between the old toys in the photograph and ones today. Then ask them to look for similarities and differences between the old and new toys, such as the doll's clothes, why a horse not a car? You could also ask what they think the toys might be made of.

Learning aims and outcomes

  • Describe the characteristics of old toys
  • Ask questions about toys in the past
  • Infer information about toys in the past
  • Recognise similarities and differences between old and new toys

Prior knowledge

  • No prior knowledge is require for this Teaching Idea, as new concepts will be introduced

Extended learning and useful links

  • Using the same photograph you could ask pupils to bring in a photograph of themselves with other people who they consider to be their family. Then compare the two, looking at clothing, size of family and other aspects, such as how formal/informal the pictures are
  • Museum of Childhood Image Collection

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