Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Moving Toys

The toys featured in this resource move in different ways!


Pull-along toys

Pull-along toy horse made of plastic and metal musical drum.  The horse is white and has red wheels attached to its front legs.
Pull-along Toy Horse with a Musical Drum

Some of the simplest moving toys are ones which can be pulled. The ones featured here have wheels and a ribbon or string with which to pull the toy along. Pulling is one of the oldest ways to make a toy move.


Clockwork Toys

The snake is coiled up.  It has a green back and a cream underbelly and yellow eyes.
Clockwork Toy Snake from 'The Jungle Book'

Clockwork, or wind-up toys are ones which use a key to turn a steel coil. This turning winds up the coil inside the toy and movement occurs as the coil unwinds itself. The rate the coil unwinds is controlled with a balance wheel, and cogwheels convert the energy into movement.


Battery Toys

The truck is red with chunky black wheels and is connected to the controller by a wire.
Battery Operated Remote Controlled Toy Car

These were developed early in the 20th Century but have become more popular and widespread in recent years. The frustrating thing about these toys is that the battery runs out!