M995.47.2.1-3 | Building game

Building game
1905-1910, 20th century
8 x 26 x 39.5 cm
Gift of Mlle Louise Desforges
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Game (29) , Toy (148)
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Keys to History

Medicine made significant progress in infant health in the early 1900s, but other sciences, particularly psychology, also made discoveries that helped further our understanding of child development. Research conducted by educators and psychologists like Swiss scientist Jean Piaget, for instance, provided insights into how children learn and led to the establishment of educational programs suited to different age groups.

Toys changed tremendously in the 20th century thanks to technological developments. Building blocks that used to be made of wood or metal were gradually replaced, starting in the 1940s, by colourful plastic blocks. A reflection of their century, toys also mirrored major scientific and technological changes, as trains gave way to automobiles and subsequently to airplanes and rockets!

  • What

    This set of Globe Building Stone blocks has 292 pieces. Games and toys reflect social values and trends. For many years, building sets like this one were of special interest to boys.

  • Where

    In the 1920s, the Canadian toy industry, concentrated primarily in Ontario and Quebec, consisted of a dozen or so manufacturers. The Dominion Toy Manufacturing Co. of Toronto specialized in making dolls and stuffed animals, whereas the Thomas Davidson Manufacturing Co. of Montreal made miniature dishes.

  • When

    In the late 1800s and early 1900s, it began to be recognized that playing and toys were a way for children to develop their faculties, their perception of the world around them and their social relationships.

  • Who

    Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) focussed his research on the development of children's intelligence. He defined the main stages in the construction of logical reasoning, from the sensory and motor intelligence that enables a baby to satisfy its primary needs to the formal operational thought processes by which an adolescent puts forward hypotheses and develops concepts.