Did you know that the child’s rocking horse had almost disappeared by the 1960s because it lost popularity? The rocking horse toy is believed to be connected to the earlier hobby horse, a wooden-carved horse head on the end of a wooden pole which a child could pretend to ride. In the 1600s bowed wooden rockers were invented and when added to the wooden horse it could move. These early rocking horses were heavy, designed with a poor center of gravity, and often toppled over, not ideal for a child’s toy. The design of the rocking horses was improved by being made hollow with a storage space for children to put their treasures. One of Queen Victoria’s favorite toys for her children were rocking horses and this helped increase the toy’s popularity in the 1800s and early 1900s.
MHHM has in its collection a rocking horse usually on exhibit in the children’s period bedroom. In December, it is on display under the Christmas tree with the other nineteenth-century toys for the holidays.
Listen to the story Rocking Horse Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne read aloud https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaBinxLhwto
Explore different historic rocking horse designs https://www.wallswithstories.com/uncategorized/rocking-horses-one-of-the-most-popular-toys-in-history.html#:~:text=It%20is%20believed%20that%20children,a%20wheel%20on%20the%20other.
See the rocking horse in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. This rocking horse is believed to have been used by a young King Charles I (1600-1649). http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O138880/rocking-horse-unknown/
Topic: Celebrating Holidays
Age / Level: 1, Primary