Can you answer these 10 questions on the origins of classic toys?


After quizzing, scroll down for the answer key and some extra fun facts on toy history.

1. Ruth Handler introduced the first Barbie doll to the world in 1959. She drew her inspiration from …?

Photo by Effie Yang, Flickr

A. A Dutch fashion doll named Mila.

B. Nothing but her own imagination.

C. The tradition of fashion paper dolls.

D. A German adult novelty toy named Bild Lilli.

2. Richard James invented Slinky toys in 1943. It was really an accident. He originally set out to create …

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

A. Mattress springs

B. Moon shoe toys

C. Springs to keep ship equipment steady at sea

D. Pogo stick springs

3. Play Doh was originally invented in the 1930s as a …

Photo by Aaron Hawkins on Flickr

A. Caulking agent

B. Wallpaper cleaner

C. Tile grout

D. Molding release agent

4. The teddy bear was named after President Theodore Roosevelt after he refused to shoot a bear on a hunting trip. The first teddy bears came out in …

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

A. 1898

B. 1900

C. 1902

D. 1904

5. The invention of Silly Putty was also an accident. It was invented during World War II … 

Photo by Andrew Mulder on Flickr

A. To use in explosives

B. As a bonding agent in the manufacturing of airplanes

C. As a replacement for synthetic rubber

D. As chewing gum

6. Hula hoops had their start … 

Photo by Timothy Paul Smith on Unsplash

A. In ancient Egypt.

B. In 14th century Great Britain.

C. In the 1930s when Native American Tony White Cloud used multiple hoops in storytelling.

D. In 1948, when they were manufactured by Wham-O.

7. The first Frisbees were inspired by … 


A. UFOs and the space craze

B. University students tossing pie tins

C. Plastic chew toys for dogs

D. Boomerangs

8. The original Mr. Potato Head was missing an important part. What was it?

Photo by Liz & Johnny Wesley Barker on Flickr

A. A nose

B. A mustache

C. The potato body

D. Feet

9. The Mouse Trap game was inspired from cartoons by …

Life Size Mouse Trap Game, Photo by Scott Beale on Flickr

A. Charles Schulz

B. Walt Kelly

C. Rube Goldberg

D. Mort Walker

10. Lincoln Logs were invented by the son of which famous architect?

Photo by David Wilson on Flickr

A. Frank Gehry

B. Eero Saarinen

C. Frank Lloyd Wright

D. I. M. Pei

Answer Key

1. D. A German adult novelty doll named Bild Lilli. The associated cartoons were not too appropriate for children!

2. C. Springs to keep ship equipment steady at sea.

3. B. Wallpaper cleaner.

4. C. 1902

5. C. As a replacement for synthetic rubber.

6. A. This is a bit of a trick question. The Wham-O toy did not come out until 1948, but similar toys have been used in all of the other choices, including the earliest period, ancient Egypt. Egyptian children swung hoops around the waist.

7. B. University students tossing pie tins. (These were Connecticut students, tossing tins from the Frisbie Pie Company and yelling “Frisbie!”)

8. C. The potato body. The original Mr. Potato Head had just the face parts to be inserted into an actual potato.

9. C. Rube Goldberg

10. C. Frank Lloyd Wright. John Lloyd Wright based the mold for his toy on the Imperial Hotel of Tokyo, designed by his father.

Did you enjoy this quiz and the crazy stories behind some of these toy inventions? Would you like to read about a fictional toy inventor turned amateur sleuth who finds an interesting use for Silly Putty among other gadgets? Check out, Action Men with Silly Putty. by Susan Joy Clark.