Construct a pull-along toy - middle years
One of the projects is to work as part of a team to construct a pull-along toy that would be suitable for a young child. It needs to be drawn along by the use of a cord or string, move on wheels and axles and be approximately 25cm in length.
To begin, here is some interesting information about pull-along toys.
The origin of the very earliest pull-along toys is speculative, as no remains of toys exist from the very earliest Stone Age times. However, play is a basic instinct in humans, and an important stage in learning the skills needed for life. Children's play often imitates the behaviour of adults. It is therefore likely that the very first pull-along toys were imitations of adult activities, with loads such as bundles of firewood, or large animals hunted for food and hides, being dragged home rather than carried. It is probable that children would have copied this behaviour to create their own pull-along toys.
The mechanism of moving very large loads has been well established since the times of the earliest civilisations. The massive pieces of rock used to build ancient structures such as Stonehenge, in England, or the Pyramids of Egypt were transported over very long distances, something that would only have been possible by pulling them along with the help of rollers underneath.
Again it is speculation, but it is quite possible that the first wheels or rollers might have been used in toys, and then scaled up to the larger versions needed for carts. There are also two more modern examples of models being produced before the full-scale machines. Prototypes of both the steam engine (locomotive) and the aeroplane had been designed and constructed before Stephenson built the Rocket, and the Wright brothers made the first successful powered flight.
The earliest known toys are of clay, and come from the early period of pottery in Mesopotamia, around 4000 BC. Later remains of toys come from the Copper Age (around 3000 BC), and from the Egyptians of the Bronze Age (around 1000 BC). Ancient mythology tells us that the Trojan Horse that was filled with Mycenaean soldiers and used to end the siege of Troy in around 1250 BC could be described as a giant pull-along toy.
There are few written records from the Dark Ages, but there are many records of toys throughout the Middle Ages. Toy making had become a very large industry in Europe by the 16th and 17th centuries, with pull-along toys and hobby horses being particularly popular.
If you would like to construct a pull-along toy as an EngQuest project, why not ask your teacher?