The familiar ‘traditional’ dolls, teddy bears, prams, games, trains, building kits and rocking horses that were popular at the beginning of the 20th century are still available to those who want them in the 21st. Unlike children in 1900, today’s children are in the enviable position of being able to choose from a wealth of toys and games, both recreational and education, old and new. This has been brought about through progress in the toy industry, new technologies, modern marketing strategies and stringent health and safety guidelines.

The beginning of the 21st century raises a number of questions about the future of toys. Will video games become even more popular? What will the teenage doll of tomorrow look like? Will the electronic learning aid become standard educational equipment for pre-school children? Will robots be the next big sensation? Whatever lies ahead for the toy industry, perhaps the biggest lesson of the last century is the importance of play to children’s health and happiness.