Toys in the 1940s

1940s Toys

Little boys and girls in the 1940s had much more sophisticated toys than those just a decade older.

In the early 40s toys were getting more advanced, but they all had sort of a war slant to them. Guns and military type toys were in every little boy’s hands.

Girls were playing house, pretending to be mommy, feeding and clothing their little baby dolls — of which they had dozens to choose from. They had toy brooms, mops, tea sets, irons, ovens — you name it. If mom had it, they made a small version for lil Jane.

Later the games started to call themselves electronic, but they weren’t electronic like we think of them. A game could call itself electronic if it had a blinking light.

Board games didn’t change much, but it was clear as the years progressed that board game makers were trying their best to make the next Monopoly. Chutes and Ladders, which was originally a game in India called Snakes and Ladders, was introduced in 1943 by Milton Bradley.

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Toys of the supernatural were finally starting to break through into the mainstream. Ouija boards and spinning fortune tellers were making their way into living rooms with increasing regularity.

We will be bringing you more info soon, so please pardon our dust as move into to our new home!

Check out these vintage 1940s toys advertisements!

Browse our collection of 1940s toys below!

1940s Board Games

Board Games in the 1940s »

I was asked to make a list of my favorite board games from the 1940s. I love board games more than anyone and these were some my mama & papa bought for me.
All Star Baseball by Cadaco

All-Star Baseball by Cadaco »

All-Star Baseball by Cadaco is hands-down one of my all time favorites. The accurate gameplay all made for a great to learn baseball statistics.

More pictures of 1940s toys below!


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14 thoughts on “Toys in the 1940s

  1. susan

    My favorite game was Uncle Wiggly. I have , as an adult, collected every year of the game it was made, I think. As early as the 1930’s the first game board, up to one in the 1980’s. It just reminds of the carefree fun as a child. Susan

    1. Joyce

      I don’t know what your game was played with, but I played a game called either two- square or four-square, ( depending on the number of players in the game ) where each player is positioned to stand in or near their square and a ball (about the size of a soccer ball) is bounced back and forth in the squares by the players. A player who cannot return the ball to their opponent or causes it to bounce outside of the intended square, is put out of the game and replaced by another player who has been waiting in line for their turn to play in the game.

      1. nay

        Also known as hand-ball today. Many a recess passed playing this game. And the “rules” have evolved into something much more complex

  2. Pam Egan

    I’m looking for a set of brightly colored geometric blocks that I played with growing up in the early fifties. I remember diamond shapes, square, triangle. The object was to create geometric designs. Does anyone remember these blocks?

    1. Joyce

      Yes, I do. I think my younger siblings may have even cut their teeth from gnawing on those brightly colored blocks of wood. You could use the different shapes to create things like , houses, cars, trains, etc. You were only limited by your own imagination.

  3. norm

    1943/44 I had a bombing game. a cork board with a map of Europe was placed on the floor. I stood over it with a bombsight . I looked through the sight and aimed at cities on the map. I then pressed a button on the sight to release the bombs. The bombs were standard darts. You got point for hitting the targets. the game would be banned today because of the chance of bombing your feet instead of the cities.

    if anyone remembers the name of the game or the availability, please reply.

  4. Sofie

    A friend and I are doing a school project on toys in the 1940’s and we are quite interested in the muscle builder advertisement. What year is from and who manufactured it?

  5. Alistair Campbell

    My 3rd birthday…I got a wooden board on two supporting ends. there were holes in the thing and pegs (dowels) and a wooden hammer. You bashed the pegs into the holes and then turned the thing over and hit them again from the other side…hours of fun at that age. Thing is I was told , “It’s your birthday!” so I assumed this toy was called a birthday. Soon after I was taken to another kids birthday party and lo! he had one too. I had no idea at all there were two of them, so I grabbed it from him, and shouted over and over, “It’s MY birthday!” I was taken home in disgrace…the beginning of a life-line sense of injustice in the world,

  6. Kathy M.

    I have a toy/game that I found in an estate property several years ago. I have attempted to research it a few times without any success. The name of the game is Catopoolt, and yes, that is the spelling. It is made of wood and glass. You drop the small wooden token onto the catopoolt and flip the lever while maneuvering the the other wooden section inside to catch the token. It say PAT. PEND U S A but there is no maker/mfg name or mark. Any ideas?


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Last modified: Sep 02, 2014 | Written by Paul Phipps