Toys are ubiquitous in early years settings. Providing particular toys and grouping them in particular ‘activity areas’ has come to be regarded as an indicator of a quality program. How did this homogeneity of toys in childhood spaces emerge? This article explores some of the assumptions we carry about toys, and considers how social, commercial, and scientific discourses have shaped how we see childhood and toys and embedded particular “truths” in our educational thought. The author suggests that critically reflecting on the role of toys in early years settings can open possibilities for teachers and children to think differently about the image of the child, the image of the educator, and the construction of knowledge.

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