First of all, apologies to all my followers, readers and fellow bloggers for a spell of silence! Due to a technical issue, I was under the impression I had published three posts since Children’s Favourites but was eventually informed by a reader that they hadn’t actually shown up in my blog! All resolved now, I’m pleased to say.
My idea for this post was to look at gender issues in the 50s and 60s in relation to children and to talk about how things have changed. I know things have changed but when I started looking into it I realised that there are still ‘boy toys’ and ‘girl toys’ and that many of them are very similar. I think children’s books is an area which has definitely changed for the better. Books for kids are now far less likely to tell stories about Tim helping Daddy to wash the car and dig the garden while Mary was washing up and dusting with Mummy.
I am not going to go into whether boys naturally prefer toy cars to dolls or whether they are given toys people think are gender appropriate. This is more of a reminiscing post so I will talk about the toys we played with in my childhood, show some adverts which now appear very sexist and hope to bring back a few memories for some of you.
Triang was a huge name in children’s toys in the UK and every boy (many dads too!) aspired to own a Scalextric set.
Ah, Meccano! The main construction toy before Lego and a must for every boy.
Of course, girls became nurses and boys were the doctors – NEVER the other way around!
Well, I like the idea of bringing science into girls’ and boys’ play but . . . . a pink microscope?!
Girls baked, boys had adventures – in story books, anyway!
Girls appeared to be either pretending to be mums (kids still do that, of course!) or were having fun in boarding school!
Since posting last week I have carried on remembering other things we liked to make when we were entertaining ourselves indoors. Many of them involved paper and scissors.
We enjoyed folding paper into boat or hat shapes – the same method.
We loved to cut out chains of paper people and at Christmas we made paper chains to decorate our bedrooms using gummed strips of coloured paper.
Paper dressing up dolls were really good fun. Sometimes they came in a box and were received as a present. Other times they were free in a comic. You cut the figure and clothes out yourself (taking care NOT to cut the tabs off!) then dressed the dolls in different outfits. The other thing we loved making out of paper were these things.
We didn’t have a name for them but researching for an image on the Internet I found them described as paper fortune tellers.
The spinners you could make with cardboard and string were really good fun, especially if you took the trouble to colour them in with a bright pattern which went crazy when the spinner whizzed around. The ones which always seemed to work best, though, were the ones which came free with cereal packets.
There was always spare wool in the house as my mum did a lot of knitting so making pom poms by winding wool around card discs was another childhood pastime – and one which I still enjoy doing!
The funny little picture on the right is showing how to make a mouse out of a handkerchief. I remember my dad showing us how to do this this when we were small.
Two more things I can recall are making perfume from rose petals in the garden and putting it into small bottles such as aspirin bottles. These were given to give to our mum and grandmothers. Also making brooches from a kit which contained a pin backing and felt shapes which we fashioned into flowers etc. My maternal grandmother, Nana, lived with us for the last few years of her life and was so good at putting a home made brooch on the lapel of her coat and dabbing on rose petal perfume before going to the village shop.