Pilgrims and Patriots: 1600s to 1783
- The early 1600s saw the influx of thousands of European colonists in North America. No longer primarily military outposts or temporary fishing and trading settlements, the newly established colonies were attracting families of emigrants.
- In the early colonies, children worked hard to help the family, and they made toys and games from whatever was at hand. Children may have been surprised to find that Indigenous children had toys and games very similar to their own. Folk music was a simple pleasure for adults and children alike.
- As the colonies grew and prospered, fortunate children would have received toys and games imported from Europe. By 1713, Ben Franklin notes a toy store in Boston; by 1759 advertisements for toy stores appear throughout the colonies.
- From the "shot heard 'round the world" in 1775 until the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, colonial life was upended by the Revolution and its aftermath. Manufactured goods became scarcer, and once again "homemade" was the norm. Many women and children lived in military camps, as necessity found them following husbands and fathers off to war. Soldiers hammered musket balls into dice, toys were made from old coins, and children practiced for the militia.