Looking back: Popular children's toys and games during World War II

Monday, 4th May 2020, 9:49 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 9:56 am

Toys and games have always reflected the attitudes, humour, and imagination of the culture and times that created them.

During WWII, children played many different games, both in groups and individually

Children commonly played games like hopscotch, four square, jump rope, and chess together, as well as all types of ball games.

Young children loved to play jacks, marbles, play school and house, and played with cars or dolls

Kids in the neighbourhood loved playing games out on the street such as red, light, green light, red rover, hide and seek, statutes and many other games

Board games were popular too like Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, checkers, chess, backgammon, Chinese checkers, and dominoes.

Cards were a really big hit with games like fish, concentration, crazy eights, hearts, and if old enough, canasta, gin rummy, solitaire, slap jack, war and 21.

There were also games played in the water such as Marco Polo, dive bomb and water ballet.

Children played for hours because they did not have video games or television.

More often than not they made up their own games too.

In the evening children played cards, chutes and ladders, candy land and checkers.

The boys enjoyed playing with army figures, while the girls liked the brand new Barbie doll.

During the war, families were short of money so only the rich children had toys.

Other children may have had a football and maybe if lucky, a couple of marbles.

Life wasn’t all fun and games though as children still had to go to school, though some schools moved from the towns to the country.

As well as ordinary lessons children learned air raid drills, leaving classrooms when the sirens sounded to go to air raid shelters.

To raise money for the war effort, schools started ‘Spitfire funds’ and National Savings Groups.Children saved money each week, instead of spending it on toys.