With the weather staying cold and the rain pouring down it is best to stay wrapped up inside where it is warm. Rather than relying on technology to keep you entertained why not try some indoor activities from the early twentieth century. We have a copy of The Boy’s Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations from 1912 which provides games and crafts for children to complete. The book even comes with its own set of make-your-own board games which are neatly tucked into the rear cover. It is an instructive manual with over 800 illustrations for children to follow. The book covers activities from magic tricks to shadow-graphs, and model making to creating your own toys. There is even a section on bookbinding for beginners.

Make-your-own Board Game designs
Make-your-own Board Game designs

The Research Collections houses books such as these as they help to determine the experience of childhood; they assist researchers in understanding what was deemed fashionable and achievable for children of that time. For example, The Boy’s Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations includes the use of tools such as a penknife which would be regarded as unsafe for children of today.

The instructions proved challenging to a modern-day reader, often using only letters and lines to represent where the paper should be folded and torn. Luckily for us, our copy of the book came with an example of the paper crafts that had been attempted by a previous owner.

An example of Paper Tearing , Research Collections, Worcester
An example of Paper Tearing

Despite numerous attempts I was not able to create anything as delicate and eye-catching as the existing example. Why not try for yourself and follow the instructions below to create a wonderful paper bird.

Instructions on how to create your own paper bird
Instructions on how to create your own paper bird

The Boy’s Own Book of Indoor Games and Recreations is one of our texts from the 20th Century Children’s Literature Collection. This collection contains a selection of gender-specific titles which provide a fascinating insight to the expected roles and behaviours of children in the early twentieth century. Other titles included in this collection include: The Captain: A Magazine for Boys and ‘Old Boys’ and The Girls’ Biggest Book which both provide short stories and notes on suitable hobbies. To know more about these books or to view the collection, please contact the Research Librarian.

The Captain 1916 Research Collections Worcester
The Captain: A Magazine for Boys and ‘Old Boys’, 1916
The Girls' Biggest Book, c.1935, Research Collections, Worcester
The Girls’ Biggest Book, c.1935