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Plug-in toys

A toy is an object that was made to be played with and that children commonly use. However, adults and pets also act with toys. A toy is valued for its own sake or because of the joy of playing ( play instinct ). Linguistically, the term belongs to the group of collectives .

In trading in general and about the different types of operation marketed trade toys is as toys called. In addition, toys are household items or natural materials that are not specially designed as toys and are suitable for children to play with.

Sense and purpose

In contrast to a tool , which is primarily used for the production or processing of another thing, the purpose of the toy lies in itself. A toy serves to enjoy working with its material, its functions, its possibilities. It serves to act out the play instinct. It can fuel the desire to move or the need for communication and, ideally, also release creative powers. Toys do not necessarily and primarily serve specific learning purposes, such as the acquisition of various skills. However, learning processes can arise incidentally or can also be specifically planned according to didactic ideas.

With toys, certain events and observations of everyday life are imitated and re-enacted, but also own imaginary worlds are realized. Toys, for example in the form of dolls or weapons, have been used by children since ancient times to settle in the specific gender role and for socialization in society.

Educational toys - educational toys

The child's play and thus also the toys used here are not only intended to entertain the child. Games and toys are spaces and a means of encouraging children to develop. Physical, cognitive and social skills and competencies can be developed and trained in the game. In this sense, any toy that gives impetus or is suitable for discovering and training the abilities mentioned is an educational toy . In addition to such a broad definition, there are narrower ones such as that of the game didacticist Klaus Kube, according to which all those forms of play are to be described as learning games , “with the help of which, in the original sense, the learning of signs, terms and facts as well as their regular relationships are to be provoked. “ Learning toys would therefore be toys that are an obligatory part of these forms of play or that are suitable for initiating such forms of play. Educational toys in the didactic sense are toys with the help of which a child can learn to speak, read, arithmetic and to assign and recognize abstract qualities (shape, color, etc.). The everyday understanding of the term educational toys therefore deviates not insignificantly from the academic definition. Nevertheless, the educational and pedagogical purpose that a toy can have is anchored in parental awareness and plays a crucial role in the selection of toys. As two recently published studies by the Society for Applied Social Research (GEFAS) and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg show, toys are selected primarily for their pedagogical and educational suitability. Far more important than monetary or aesthetic aspects are aspects of functionality, suitability as a learning tool and the educational value for the positive perception of a toy. (See also children's play , play (pedagogy) and play pedagogy )



Roman toy bird as a grave object in Contiomagus

The doll is to be regarded as the oldest toy . Doll-like structures made of clay can be traced back to the early Stone Age . Toys were first made in the simplest possible way, e.g. B. by carving . In prehistoric children's graves, small ceramic noise instruments , especially rattles , rattles and whistles, were found as additions . Such instruments were also used to ward off "evil spirits", but an interpretation as toys cannot be ruled out.


Around 200 BC There were already wooden crocodiles and lions with movable lower jaws in Egypt . Dolls with movable limbs made of wood, clay, terracotta , bone and plaster of paris were also known throughout the ancient Mediterranean. Children with toys are often depicted on Greek vases . In ancient Rome there were even complete sets of dolls' furniture.

Toy sellers moved from village to village.

middle Ages

Simply made rocking horse (19th century)

In the 12th century, brass horses, wooden and clay animals were just as much sought-after toys by young boys as armed knights in small formats. Other toys, as they are documented for the 14th century, were clay knights on their horses, dice and footballs made of cow hair. The games also included blowing soap bubbles with a straw or, of course, using found objects (such as chicken heads and chicken feet). Also rocking horses were very popular, since they had next to the soothing weighing function and the purpose of preparing to ride. Due to the solidification of social role definition , gender-specific toys were increasingly found in the privileged aristocratic class and in the emerging bourgeoisie. Girls were playfully prepared for their roles as mothers (dolls, dolls houses) and keepers of domestic order (embroidery, spinning and jewelry work). The children of the so-called lower classes, on the other hand, had less play time and the toys were often limited to self-made marbles, balls made of raffia and wooden tops.


Spaceship, built with material from a construction kit

In the course of industrialization , the toy industry has developed. Since the 15th century is Nuremberg a center of trade and production of toys. The so-called Nuremberg trinkets , by which one understood fully furnished dollhouses , wooden soldiers, hobby horses , drums and even small brass cannons, conquered the world market that was known up until then.

Since the end of the 17th century, wooden toys have been sold by domestic toy makers in the Ore Mountains , mainly from Seiffen via peddlers. They entered world trade before 1800. Since around 1905, more and more miniaturized figures, houses and vehicles in the Nuremberg size have been produced in Seiffen . Small toys were even offered in matchboxes. In addition to rising timber prices, the reason for this trend was the change in customs regulations in important importing countries, which introduced weight duties instead of value-added duties. This made exporting heavy, bulky toys very difficult. In Seiffen, the publisher HELanger made a particular contribution to promoting the process of miniaturization.

In the 19th century, Sonneberg became the center of toy manufacturing and the toy trade. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Sonneberg publishers and merchants dominated the world market with their mostly home- made toys, and made Sonneberg a world toy city .

From the 19th to the end of the 20th century, there was a very active home industry in Val Gardena in South Tyrol for the manufacture of wooden toys . Around 70 percent of the German toy industry is still located in southern Germany today (see Nuremberg Toy Museum ). The majority of all toys are now manufactured in the People's Republic of China .

The design of the toy reflects the different natural and cultural relationships in life. Adults also deal with toys, for example with model building .

Safety testing of toys

Toys placed on the EU market must meet the (safety) requirements of the Toy Directive 2009/48 / EC. Testing is not a requirement before toys are placed on the EU market. However, every toy must have a CE mark, along with the (European) address of the manufacturer or distributor. He is criminally responsible for ensuring that the toys he has placed on the market comply with the Toys Directive. However, the CE mark has little informative value with regard to the content of harmful substances in toys, as an independent inspection is usually not carried out.

The task of the market surveillance authorities is u. a. to test toys for the requirements of the Toys Directive. If discrepancies are found here, the distributor must prove that he has checked the safety of his toy beforehand. He can only do this by presenting test reports from certified testing institutes that have tested the toy on the basis of harmonized standards. If the distributor cannot prove this, the first offense only threatens administrative offense proceedings, otherwise criminal proceedings.

The safety tests for toys include mechanical / physical tests (see also: Normschlund ) based on the EN 71-1 and EN 71-2 standards, as well as chemical tests, mainly based on EN 71-3 - 71-12, but also others.

In addition to the requirements for special toy safety, toys must also meet additional requirements, such as B. the REACH regulation, which bans certain substances in all products. Particularly with regard to carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), the permissible limit values ​​were redefined in December 2015. Objects that could come into direct skin contact must not exceed the PAH limit of 0.2 mg / kg.

Toxic toys and tightening of EU limit values

After scandal reports about poison in toys were reported in December 1996, May 1999, August and November 2007, December 2008, April and December 2009, October 2010 and most recently in November 2011, the call became loud EU level to tighten legal regulations with regard to limit values ​​for lead , cadmium , nickel , polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons , organotin compounds and fragrances in toys. The first reactions can be found in the implementation of the results of some working groups, after which the limit values ​​for some substances have been corrected and further limit values ​​have been defined. With some revisions between 2012 and 2014, this affects the substances nickel, cadmium, bisphenol A , TCPP , TCEP and TDCP .

Examples of toys

Boy with tire
Doll stove
Model railway
Homemade football in East Timor

War toys

The war toy represents a category of toys with which military combat is played. In the face of war, terror and suffering, this type of toy is often discussed emotionally. The confusion of the levels of the real bloody war with the combat-oriented, but peaceful, injury-free symbol level of the game often blocks a factual approach that unencumbered children usually still find. In order to arrive at a non-ambitious, prejudice-free argument, it is essential to deal more thoroughly with the phenomenon of play and the psychological backgrounds that have been developed by game science .


German Toy Museum - the oldest special museum for toys in Germany



  • Karin Hildegard Balk: Children and their toys , Sutton, Erfurt 2007, ISBN 978-3-86680-186-8 .
  • Otto Keil : Toys. A walk through the German Toy Museum in Sonneberg. Urania Universum Volume 2, 1956, pp. 494-504.
  • Laura M. Knüsli, Ruth Holzer-Weber: 100 years of Swiss toy manufacturing. For the 125th anniversary of the Franz Carl Weber company , Zurich Toy Museum / Chronos, Zurich 2006, ISBN 978-3-0340-0843-3 .
  • O. Kopetzky: The Nuremberg ABC . Attenkofer, Straubing 1912, digitized version (ABC book with illustrations of Nuremberg wooden toys throughout).
  • Ebenezer Landells, Alice Landells: The girl's own toy-maker, and book of recreation . London 1860, digitized version (illustrated do-it-yourself guide for making toys for girls).
  • Hein Retter : Toys - social class - education . Finken, Oberursel 1973, ISBN 3-8084-4025-2 .
  • Hein Retter: Handbook on the history and pedagogy of play equipment . Beltz, Weinheim 1989, ISBN 3-407-83018-1 .
  • Hein Retter: Games and toys on the threshold of a new age or: Quo vadis, homo ludens? International Council for Children's Play 2001 (Erfurt, June 6-8, 2001), opening lecture, Nostheide Verlag, Memmelsdorf near Bamberg 2001.
  • Hein Retter: Postmodernity - what about toys? In: Berg / Nelson / Svensson (eds.): Toys in educational and socio-cultural contexts. Toy research in the late twentieth century . Tl. 2. Stockholm International Toy Research Center (SITREC), Stockholm 2003, pp. 25-37, ISBN 91-974811-2-2 .
  • Karl Staudinger : Child and Toys . (= Decided school reform issue 4), Verlag Ernst Oldenburg, Leipzig 1923.
  • Siegbert A. Warwitz , Anita Rudolf: War and peace games . In: The sense of playing. Reflections and ideas for games , 4th edition, Schneider, Baltmannsweiler 2016, ISBN 978-3-8340-1664-5 , pp. 126–151.
  • Gisela Wegener-Spöhring: The meaning of "war toys" in the world of elementary school children . In: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik , No. 6/1986, pp. 797–810.
  • Gisela Wegener-Spöhring: War toys and computer games in the world of elementary school children: a crisis of “balanced aggressiveness”? In: Titus Guldimann: Education 4- to 8-year-old children , Waxmann, Münster 2005, pp. 169–188, ISBN 3-8309-1533-0 .

Web links

Commons : Toys  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Toys  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Toys  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kube, K .: "Spieldidaktik", 1977, p. 41
  2. Parents, Children, Educational Toys - Two Studies in Comparison ( Memento of the original from November 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Toys from the Middle Ages / German Toy Museum Sonneberg
  4. ^ Wolfgang Schneider: Folk culture and everyday life. In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001–2007, Volume 1 (2001): From the beginnings to the outbreak of the Peasants' War. ISBN 3-8062-1465-4 , pp. 491–514 and 661–665, here: pp. 504 and 664 as well as plate 48 (pp. 544/545).
  5. ^ Doris Fischer: Games and toys in the Middle Ages
  6. Erzgebirge Toy Museum in Seiffen ( Memento of the original from March 18, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. ^ Oskar Stillich : The toy house industry of the Meininger Oberland. Verlag Fischer, Jena 1899 | (New edition Nabu Press 2010)
  8. Examples of the wood industry in Val Gardena in the 1930s
  9. Marktjagd: Pollutants in children's toys ( Memento of the original dated February 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . In: Marktjagd consumer tips , accessed on January 30, 2013 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. List of harmonized standards in the European Official Journal ( Memento of the original from July 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Children's and baby products in a large quality test. Retrieved September 25, 2017 .
  12. a b Monitor (TV magazine) , 2010: Harmful toys remain in the trade ( Memento of December 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), Monitor No. 615 of December 9, 2010, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  13. Seith, Anne, 2007: Dangerous Toys. Risk made in China in Der Spiegel from August 15, 2007, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  14. AFP / bica, 2007: Gift-Ware also in Germany in Süddeutsche Zeitung of November 11, 2007, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  15. Kurfer, Tobias, 2008 Poison in Toys in Focus from November 20, 2008, accessed on December 15, 2010
  16. dpa / cor, 2009: Every fifth toy is poisonous and dangerous in Die Welt from April 5, 2009, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  17. Kuhr, Daniela, 2009: Poison in toys. Dangerous cheap goods in Süddeutsche Zeitung of December 7, 2009, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  18. Stiftung Warentest: Alarm in the children's room More than 80 percent of the toys examined by Stiftung Warentest are contaminated. Wooden toys and branded goods also fail. from October 21, 2010.
  19. ^ Stiftung Warentest: Every sixth toy inadequate, November 11, 2011.
  20. ^ Lahrtz, Stephanie, 2010: Poison in toys. In the EU and Switzerland, a new guideline with stricter regulations is to be introduced in Neue Zürcher Zeitung on December 15, 2010, accessed on December 15, 2010.
  21. on safety in toys ( Memento of the original from September 16, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , - section: "Revision", accessed on September 15, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  22. EU restricts bisphenol A under Toy Safety Directive and EU expands permitted use of nickel under toy safety directive and EU restricts three flame retardants under toy safety directive , HKTDC - Research, accessed on September 15, 2014.
  23. ^ Siegbert A. Warwitz, Anita Rudolf: The assessment of the war game . In: The sense of playing. Reflections and game ideas . 4th edition. Hohengehren 2016, pp. 131–135.
  24. Gisela Wegener-Spöhring: War Toys and Computer Games in the World of Elementary School Children: A Crisis of “Balanced Aggression”? In: Titus Guldimann: Education of 4- to 8-year-old children. Waxmann Verlag 2005. pp. 169-188.
  25. Toy guns are less bad than their reputation - in "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" February 23, 2015.