Hobbies and games children loved in the 1940s

Hobbies and games in the 1940s used to be simple and involve lots of imagination with the war years still a close memory and most families not having a penny piece to spare.

Here are favourite traditional games from yesteryear.

Playing outdoors

A slice of bread and scrape, a bottle of water with a paper stopper and the gang were ready for adventures.

Soap carts, play acting and it never cost a penny!

Fivestones (Jacks)

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An interesting game of dexterity that is no longer as popular at it used to be.

It helped if the player had large hands, as the object is to throw the five stones into the air and catch them on the back of the hand.

Cowboys and Indians

A stray feather stuck on your hair for the Red Indian and a stick or a finger for the gun and imagination went into overdrive.

If a toy gun appeared in a Christmas stocking then that child was king.


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Head to the autumn woods to find your champion conker, thread it on to a bootlace, or a strong piece of string and face your friends in combat to smash your opponent’s conker to smithereens.

Stamp Collecting

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With menfolk serving overseas during the war this opened up interest in the postal stamps of other countries.

Children would spend hours pouring over stamps to careful stick into albums.

Penny for the Guy

This may have been a seasonal event but the making of the guy and the collecting of pennies- and having the best pitch took all of ones time leading up to November 5.

Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts

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Most children belonged to one organisation or another, it was almost a right of passage before adulthood.

Cigarette cards and matchbox covers

With so many adults smoking back then a popular hobby was to collect the cards inside the packets to swap with friends.

These cards were also educational and sets were collected.

Today, many of these sets of cards are highly prized.

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