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The evolution of outdoor toys has taken places over hundreds of years in civilizations spanning the globe. Outdoor toys, initially, were things created as diversions from the perils and toil of everyday existence. From pre-historic times until the 20th century, toys were specific to the climate or terrain in which their producers lived and whatever materials were convenient. Entertainment certainly proved to be a necessary escape for people of all ages during difficult periods of history.
With the devlopment of plastics and the proliferation of mass-production, outdoor toys and games have become readily available for all. There is a conflict in this day and age, however, between outdoor toys and video gaming systems that seem to keep today's youth inside. Almost all outdoor toys are affiliated with some form of exercise or physical exertion. This trait dates back to the birth of such toys, from hoops and sticks to marbles.
Outdoor toys became wildly popular through the 20th century. Many of the toys were designed as party games for many adults or children to play. These types of toys sold very well, providing the initiative necessary to increase production. Outdoor toys grew from more individualized units to larger, activity-based products as people began to congregate more for entertainment purposes. In the days before the industrial revolution and assembly line production, simple toys such as balls, rods, hoop and stone marbles represented the vast majority.
The birth of aviation and growth of the automobile industry led to a shift in the desires of young people. Toys were designed to be played with outside that mirrored the planes in the sky and cars on the road. Eventually, with advances in technology, these evolved into remote controlled units with a wide range of uses and styles. The remote controlled movement created a boom in the outdoor toy industry, but was a precursor to the video game controls that now seem to dominate the toy market. Currently, there is a movement among educators, parents and doctors encouraging children to get back outside for play. While indoor toys continue to increase in profitability, many are making a conscious effort to exert themselves physically and engage in play with outdoor toys.