Childrens' entertainment

Childrens’ entertainment

Medieval (c500-1500)

  • In this period, children’s entertainment was largely provided by the family and community, with an emphasis on tasks and games that educated and trained children for adult roles.
  • Popular activities included physical games like hide and seek, tag, and simple ball games.
  • Storytelling was an important aspect of children’s entertainment, often intertwining morals, religious teachings and life lessons.

Early Modern (1500-1750)

  • The Renaissance period saw the rise of puppet shows, often used to instruct and educate children on social and moral topics.
  • Increased literacy rates led to the wider availability of children’s books, such as Aesop’s fables.
  • Games like chess, checkers and backgammon were increasingly popular.

Industrial Revolution (1750-1900)

  • The invention of the printing press led to the mass production of playing cards and board games. This made them accessible to a wider audience.
  • Publicly organised sports and schooling started to shape children’s leisure time.
  • Toys became more intricate, with the creation of dolls’ houses, train sets and teddy bears, reflecting society’s advancing technological capabilities.

20th Century

  • The development of cinemas and the television dramatically changed children’s entertainment, introducing new forms of storytelling.
  • The advent of comic books and later video games gave children a new form of interactive leisure.
  • The proliferation of children’s television shows started to shape and influence children’s play, with toy merchandise becoming increasingly popular.

Present Day

  • The internet has revolutionised children’s entertainment, giving birth to a host of online games, virtual worlds and learning platforms.
  • The creation of intelligent toys and gadgets like interactive robots and tablets have given a new dimension to play.
  • Children’s entertainment is more structured and commercially driven than ever before, with organised activities and classes often replacing traditional play.