Farm toys evolving with new technology
Agriculture.com Staff 07/11/2010 @ 11:00pm
For most farmers, farm toys started with stick horses and maybe a cast model of Dad's tractor. Now, the model business is big bucks with nearly any brand you wish available in miniature. The $50 1/64th scale model tractor and disk may sit on grandpa's shelf rather than in boy's the sand box. Whether it's a rare cast model or an old pedal tractor, farmers with nostalgia for their youth are willing to pay up for an item they want.
Farm toys have often been practical. Play was almost literally preparation for adult life. Many of us used the Radio Flyer red wagon for fun and for hauling vegetables from the garden. Sleds and toboggans were for sliding down a hill and pulling in a bucket of eggs or some firewood. Fishing rods, guns and slingshots provided enjoyment and helped feed the family. For farm kids, fun was where you found it. Farm animals became toys as lots of young cowboys and cowgirls did some mutton busting and trick riding.
Ever since hay was formed into small square bales, farm kids built forts of them. Now, older farmers stack large round and square bales into unusual shapes and add plywood cutouts to look like steam engines or pac men. Seeing what is around from a different point of view is a specialty of the farmer. Look at the ingenious ways farmers weld old pieces of scrap together. A shovel blade becomes a bird head. Pitch forks grow into deer antlers. Gears grind up a pair of bib overalls as if they'd eaten the farmer. Many products of farmers' fertile imaginations are a way to show off old equipment no longer used in every day farming.
Long winter nights and a shop gave farmers the time build wooden toys. Many a grandchild delighted in a top made by grandpa or a doll hand assembled by grandma. Wooden silhouettes of farm men and women in various poses add a light hearted note to many driveways and gardens. Weather vanes and birds with wings that "really flew" were popular on many fence posts. Wooden blocks became barns and a pipe might be a silo to a young boy or girl.
Not to be left out of the computer age, FarmVille is a popular Facebook simulation game. SimFarm is another computer farming game.
The internet is a fruitful place to investigate farm toys. Searching on the term "farm toys" leads mostly to metal die-cast models. "Wooden farm toys" gives links to hand made models or patterns.