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Latest news: Milestones Museum is excited to announce a new development – Mr Simpson’s Teddy Bear Museum – which will be opening on 13 February 2021.

The Teddy Bear Museum will display more than 250 bears, some of which are over 100 years old, collected by and then bequeathed to the museum by Mr Bill Simpson, and on public display together for the first time. It will also include new family friendly-activities, telling the history of teddy bears and their roles in people’s lives.

While development work is taking place, the Toys and Games school programme will continue to run, with two minor temporary alterations from 1 Sept 2020 to 12 Feb 2021:

  • Toyshop Timeline activity – will be re-located away from the Toy Shop while work takes place
  • I Spy in Mr Simpson’s activity – will be replaced with a new activity while the bears are cleaned and given a new home

From February half term 2021, a refreshed Toys school programme will be launched, incorporating the new Mr Simpson’s Teddy Bear Museum into the existing programme.

Please contact if you have any questions about this exciting development. We look forward to welcoming the bears, and you, to Milestones Museum!

Toys & Games

Experience play time in the past through active participation with a range of old toys and games, comparing the museum's toy collections with the toys of today.

A 3 x 45 minutes programme for a maximum of three classes, facilitated by a Costumed Interpreter. Suitable for KS1 classes, lunchroom included. 1:5 adult:pupil ratio requested.

Information about the organisation of the session 

The session is split up into two 45 minute long led sessions, and one 45 minute session of free time. Both the 'Toys' and the 'Games' sessions are facilitated by a Costumed Interpreter in role as a toy shop owner, immersing the children in living history.

Session plan

Session objectives

  • To be able to identify differences between old and new toys and games
  • To experience play time in the past through active participation with a range of toys and games from within living memory

Session outline

The children will need to be divided up into small groups as there are different activities for the children to take part in. Each group will need an adult helper to support them when working on the activities.

The Costumed Interpreter facilitating your session will introduce themselves to the children as the toy shop owner. They will explain that the children are here to learn about toys from the past and to compare them with toys from the present.

The Costumed Interpreter will then give a brief outline of each of the different activities the children will be taking part in. With the class divided up into small groups and the activities explained, the groups will then rotate  to participate in some of the activities described below. Instructions are provided with each activity to support the adult helpers working with each group.

Some of the activities in which they may participate include:

  • Toyshop Timeline - using Milestones' toyshop which displays toys through the decades, look at ways that toys have changed and developed over time
  • Traditional outdoor games - in the street or the park, these are games that children have played for decades when larger space was needed
  • Games from nothing - no preparation, no resources and no materials. How children entertained themselves in the past with nothing to hand
  • Traditional indoor games - ways that parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents may have kept themselves occupied on rainy days
  • I Spy amongst the Simpsons Bears - find answers to the clues by looking carefully at this collection of teddy bears of every size, shape and age and all with different personalities
  • Toy sorting - the toy box is full of toys but which are old and which new? Which should be kept and which thrown away? Lots of debate and discussion to be had!
  • Building Challenge - what are the differences between using traditional wooden blocks and LEGO(R) bricks? The timed building challenge draws out comparisons between the two.
  • Mystery Games - do you know what these toys and games are? How do you play with them? How are they different from those you may have at home?