Toys! Toys! Toys!

Posted: 6th May 2013 by Mrs. Toad in Olde School, Photography
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“When I am grown to man’s estate I shall be very proud and great.  And tell the other girls and boys not to meddle with my toys!” – Robert Louis Stevenson

If you believe roller skates should have keys, made a game of picking up wooden sticks with painted ends, created endless works of art with the simple help of two plastic buttons only to shake them all away and start again, or spent countless hours running up and down the stairs only to watch a spring crawl down them, then we’re in for an afternoon that’s better than a barrel of monkeys!

Today we take a step back into our childhood in our continuing series “Olde School“.  When I was a mere tadpole every classroom was equipped with the usual fare required to educate curious little minds, but if your grade school was anything like mine, it also had a corner filled with toys.  As the teacher tried her best to convince me that math could be fun, it was all I could do to make it to the bell that meant the fastest one to the corner got their choice of the toys!

Antique Baby Carriage - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Antique Baby Carriage – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada

While the toy corners at my school never once included a thirty-pound cannon ball in a bookcase, they did indeed include a doll carriage.  Once I figured out that sitting at the back of the class gave you a distinct advantage in the sprint to the play area, the doll carriage was always my first choice.  Designed to reflect the real prams of the day, they were ornately embellished with delicate iron curves that would easily survive the challenge of the younger sibling using it as a race car.  As generations of baby-dolls, and perhaps a few other assorted and beloved little critters all took their rightful turn as the contents, these sturdy little vehicles outlasted every coat of paint a dad could throw on them.

Antique Baby Carriage - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Antique Baby Carriage – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada

Simple and designed to last, these toys were not equipped with any buttons or whistles like the electronic toys of today.  They did not run on battery power, they ran on imagination.   I cannot help but giggle at the thought of a child today getting a blob of silly putty in their Christmas stocking.  Would they even know what it is?  Well, even if they got that far, they would surely never know about pressing it against the comic strips and stretching the faces all out of shape.  Now, that was good fun!

Antique Baby Carriage - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Antique Baby Carriage – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada

And while perhaps Rock’em Sock’em Robots weren’t quite as exciting as some of the video games available today, at least when you lost your head you could simply pop it back on!  And if you found yourself in a real pickle, you could always rely on the platoon of tiny plastic green soldiers that you kept at the ready in your Superman lunchbox.

Antique Baby Carriage - Metchosin Schoolhouse - Metchosin, BC, Canada

Antique Baby Carriage – Metchosin Schoolhouse – Metchosin, BC, Canada

I must admit, some of my most cherished memories are of my grandfather trying to fold his legs underneath himself as we sat for hours on the livingroom floor creating eclectic works of art through the magic of Spirograph.  Incomplex and unassuming, whether you fancied Easy-Bake ovens or Tinker-Toys, Legos or Yo-yos, they required much more than just moving your thumbs on a control pad.  They required cooperation, innovation, creativity and make-believe.  The very kind of make-believe that childhoods are made of.

Thanks ever so much for joining us today, I must say it’s been more fun than an afternoon with the Fisher-Price Little People!  Whatever your day looks like today, we hope that you bring a little bit of childhood to each and every moment.

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad




  1. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    They don’t make toys like they used to Mrs Toad. I often wonder what the current generation of children will become without these “real” stimuli (as opposed to video versions) to nurture their imagination. Great images by Toad with super details in the carriage.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      I completely agree with you Len! And quite honestly I don’t recall ever being bored, we were always outside playing something. Thank you for your comments today!

  2. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . what a great series!! . . . thank you so much for sharing!!!

  3. avatar Sandra Kent says:

    Wonderful blog…fantastic photos. It brings back all the memories of my child hood. In fact, I actually forgot about most of these toys and games that children of my generation played with… and was so content to have.
    Thank you for this and thank you for the memories.:-)))

    Sandra

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you very much Sandra, we really appreciate you taking the time to leave these wonderful comments! I really suggest you google “retro toys” and click on the “images”….a wonderful stroll down memory lane for sure! We had some great stuff.

  4. Matchbox cars and a box of toy soldiers – what more could any boy ask for? What a difference to today where the most important accessory is an endless supply of batteries rather than the child’s imagination. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Mrs. Toad, and the great shots from Mr. Toad.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you kindly Mark, I must say Mr. Toad would completely agree with you on those Matchbox cars! Thank you for visiting today!

  5. Great post and wonderful shots Mr Toad, loved the little green army men!

  6. avatar LensScaper says:

    Ah, those were the days, Mrs Toad. But there were never any toys at the back of my classroom sadly! But we cherished and looked after the toys we had – in those days, things had real Value and not just in monetary terms. We were brought up in a world where we made our own games and used our imaginations – so different from today when children have to be constantly ‘entertained’ by some gizmo or electronic device otherwise they complain they are ‘bored’. Another enjoyable read and Mr Toad’s wonderful images.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Sorry to hear you missed out on the toy corner Andy! It’s so true, we were part of a great time to be a kid. We spent all day outside until forced to come in, these days I hardly ever see kids playing outside anymore. In regard to how well we kept our toys, I will share a secret with you….there is a box in our attic just full of Mr. Toad’s die-cast cars! I guess you’re never too old for toys!

  7. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Wow what a great piece. I remember having a doll carriage (even though I was a bit of a tomboy 🙂 ) but not as nice as that one. Wonderful post Mrs. Toad and top notch images.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Edith, if you were anything like me, there was seldom a doll in my carriage, usually a collection of frogs or caterpillars. Go tomboys!

  8. Totally agree with the sentiment on old toys Mrs. Toad and as usual Toad’s images are spot on.
    Where ~I live we have a communal green that is segregated from the road and overlooked by the houses, it’s great that kids still play outside on the green using their imaginations and little else, just a shame that they will no doubt grow out of it all too soon.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      It’s nice to hear that there are still some kids who find it fun just to play outside. I remember my mother my mother tossing my behind outside and telling me not to come back until I was good and hungry…and then she would have to yell for me to come back in! Thanks so much for your visit today Chris!

  9. avatar ehpem says:

    Mrs Toad, you have arrived at the perfect blend of nostalgia and story to go with these terrific photos. My kids had a toy and book corner in their elementary school which were well used by the teachers to further their educational goals. However, even the schools I went to a half century ago did not have wicker prams in them, or cannon balls!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Ehpem, I must admit that I am rather relieved that our schools did not feature many cannon balls! Thank you for popping by today.

  10. avatar Jim Nix says:

    nicely done my friends!

  11. avatar Amanda says:

    I just found almost the exact same one at my local consignment shop. I’m a photographer and I plan on using it as a photo prop. Though when my 7 month old daughter is old enough, I’ll allow her to play with it. I agree, they just don’t make toys like this anymore. Question: For photography, should I keep it at its natural state, or paint it?

    • avatar ToadHollowPhoto says:

      Hi Amanda, thank you for visiting and leaving these comments, we really appreciate it! For the work we do, natural patina and weathering is an important part of the story we try to capture and share. Depending on what your intentions are, I personally would leave it as is to really have a chance to explore the great character found in these old items, but your needs may be different and a quick paintjob may be what’s in order for you. What kind of projects are you planning on using it for? Thanks again for your visit here, it’s great to have a chance to connect with folks who love the same stuff we do!