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Introduction

A variety of traditional wooden Channapatna toys from India

A toy is an item that is used in play, especially one designed for such use. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life in society. Different materials like wood, clay, paper, and plastic are used to make toys. Many items are designed to serve as toys, but goods produced for other purposes can also be used. For instance, a small child may fold an ordinary piece of paper into an airplane shape and "fly it". Newer forms of toys include interactive digital entertainment. Some toys are produced primarily as collectors' items and are intended for display only.

The origin of toys is prehistoric; dolls representing infants, animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults are readily found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word "toy" is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century. Toys are mainly made for children. The oldest known doll toy is thought to be 4,000 years old.

Selected article

Rubik's cube

Rubik's Cube is a 3-D mechanical puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. Originally called the "Magic Cube", the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to be sold by Ideal Toy Corp. in 1980 via German businessman Tibor Laczi and Seven Towns founder Tom Kremer, and won the German Game of the Year special award for Best Puzzle that year. As of January 2009, 350 million cubes had been sold worldwide making it the world's top-selling puzzle game. It is widely considered to be the world's best-selling toy. In a classic Rubik's Cube, each of the six faces is covered by nine stickers, each of one of six solid colours (traditionally white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow). A pivot mechanism enables each face to turn independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be solved, each face must be returned to consisting of one colour. Similar puzzles have now been produced with various numbers of stickers, not all of them by Rubik. Although the Rubik's Cube reached its height of mainstream popularity in the 1980s, many speedcubers continue to practise it and other "twisty puzzles" and compete for the fastest times. Its international governing body, the World Cube Association, has organised competitions and kept the official world records since 2003.

Selected image

Exterior of a hand-built American dollhouse
Credit: Dave Parker

A dollhouse is a toy home, made in miniature. For the last century, dollhouses have primarily been the domain of children but their collection and crafting is also a hobby for many adults. The term dollhouse is common in the United States and Canada. In UK the terms dolls' house or dollshouse are used.

Selected biography

John Schow Anderson (b. Aug 8, 1925, Alameda County, CA; d. November 6, 2000, Hayward, California) was a design engineer and entrepreneur in the model railroading industry. He was one of three cofounders of Associated Brass Products, Inc., a California corporation based in Pinedale, California (Fresno area).

Did you know...

Did you know?

German bisque doll

  • ... that antique bisque dolls (pictured) are collectible, and dolls from French companies like Jumeau can be worth over US$20,000?


  • ...that the Love Tester, created in 1969, was the first product by Nintendo to use real electronic components?


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