Educational Children's Games from the 1940s

Written by sarah brooks
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Educational Children's Games from the 1940s
The 1940s brought a decade of creativity which evolved into the education games of today. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Think of the games you liked to play when you were younger. Think of the games your children like to play now. Chances are, those games originated in the early 1900s and evolved into the activities of today. The 1940s is an example decade that created educational children's games still being played today.


Scrabble hit the market in the 1940s and challenged adolescents and adults a like to make words out of square tiles in a crossword-like manner. Invented by Poughkeepsie, New York native Alfred Mosher Butts, this game has evolved from being called Lexiko and Criss Cross Words to being trademarked Scrabble in 1948. A former architect, Butts wanted to invent a board game that used both "chance and skill," according to, and created something using features of anagrams and crossword puzzles. In present day, Scrabble comes in a junior edition as well as several international games including French and Spanish.

Candy Land

With Candy Land, children learn basic skills such as colour identification and numbers in a sweet-inspired setting. Candy Land was introduced in 1949 by Milton Bradley from an idea a California native had of a game to entertain children affected by Polio. A former polio patient herself, Eleanor Abbot sold her new board game for only a dollar.


A game based on strategy, logic and fate, Clue was originally called Cluedo by Anthony Pratt in the United Kingdom in the 1940s. Its name was later changed by toy company Parker Brothers when it arrived in North America. The original board game has spun off a Hollywood film with three different endings in 1985, a 1997 off-Broadway musical, and a slew of children's books in the 1990s, among other things.

Chutes and Ladders

Introduced to the United States in 1943, Chutes and Ladders was introduced to the world by Milton Bradley. This game originates in India and was formally called Snakes and Ladders. According to Parents Choice, the game was made to teach children the values of virtue and the liabilities of vice.

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