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A Look at the Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

So much scrimping and saving had to be done during the Great Depression. Everything from housing to clothing to food was conserved. It’s no surprise that children’s toys were often makeshift as well. We all know that children will play with just about anything and this was especially true during the Depression when materials and money were extremely scarce. But, sometimes the occasional store-bought toy or finely-crafted homemade creation would become a child’s special toy.

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

Via/ Flickr

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

Homemade 1930s toys include irregular scrap wood alphabet blocks and empty thread spools on string. Via/ Library of Congress

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

Fort made from a wooden shipping box and limbs, with logs for seats, 1938. Via/ Library of Congress

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

Simple toys like Tinker Toys were popular and presumably were relatively inexpensive when compared to fancier toys. Via/ Library of Congress

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

This child appears to be playing with a bike fork amongst refuse, 1935. Via/ Library of Congress

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

This little girl is lucky enough to have both a baby doll and an airplane. Via/ Library of Congress

The Toys Kids Played With During the Depression

Little girl playing with her dolly. Via/ Library of Congress


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A lover of antiques and a collector of all things vintage, discovering treasures has always been a passion for Rose. Once a seller of antiques, collecting early 20th century advertising art has become her main focus, in addition to studying and writing about history.