United States, Colonial Period
The New World, as an abundant and dangerous frontier, presented new opportunities for play for European settlers. Colonial America was considered by many historians to be a “no toy” culture for children because of a Puritan fixation on eradicating idleness in society, but even Puritan families shared play and recreation time. However, settlers in the south and in cities along the East Coast, including New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, had more positive attitudes toward play. When Europeans arrived in the New World, their play was transported and became a mechanism for cultural exchanges. Medieval and Elizabethan sporting traditions, related to military training, influenced athletic play and amateur competition in the colonies. English settlers brought gifts, including dolls, for indigenous people when they arrived on North Carolina's Roanoke Islands in 1585. French missionaries were later exposed to Native Americans playing a team sport called lacrosse that was played on a turf ...