Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions

by Don Wulffson (2000)

Most of you have probably played with super balls, toy soldiers, Play-Doh, Legos, or a Mr. Potato Head. Many of you have no doubt enjoyed heated games of Monopoly, Checkers, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, or Parcheesi. But have you ever thought about how these toys and games got their start? Behind every toy there is an incredible tale of creativity and tenacity, and author Don Wulffson shares these stories and more in Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions.

Did you know that long ago kites were used for fishing? Or that silly putty was developed during World War II when the United States was experiencing a severe shortage of natural rubber? Or, perhaps most surprising, that the seesaw was used as part of a bloody exhibition in the ancient Roman circus? Toys! Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions shares not only how toys and games got their beginnings, but also how they have changed and transformed over the years.

Reading Toys! will change the way children and adults look at toys and games, and it may just inspire them to design and create their own! The inventors of the toys and games in this book all have one thing in common – perseverance. Their stories teach the reader the importance of following your dreams and never giving up. Like Satoshi Tajiri, the inventor of Pokemon, these inventors are living proof of the old saying: “Find a job doing something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!”

Toys! is a non-fiction title, so it readily invites students to dive into a variety of STEM topics including hypothesis, design, invention and modification.  Our Read to Them packet will give you plenty of ideas to get your students started thinking about toys in a whole new way.