The Specialists

Vikings Schools Visits.jpg


Old Toys Toybox school visits for education.  We provide a living history and reenactment service as historical interpreters focusing on the QCA How are toys different from those in the past topic.  As re-enactors and educators, we bring the excitement of real history to your classroom.


Some of the locations we travel to for our Egyptians workshops are:

East-Midlands, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire , Warwickshire, Leamington, Leicester Hinckley Nottingham Peterborough Coventry Birmingham, Tamworth, Derbyshire, Derby, Chesterfield, Ilkeston, Swadlincote, Buxton, Matlock, Ashbourne, Nottinghamshire, Mansfield, Worksop, Newark, Leicestershire, Leicester, Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Coalville, Lutterworth, Rutland - Oakham, Uppingham. Cottesmore, Northampton, Peterborough, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, West-Midlands, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley, Coventry, Smethwick, West Bromwich, Solihull, Bedfordshire, Birmingham, Warwick, Nuneaton, Rugby, Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon.





                                                                  The Toys from the Past school

                                                                  workshop is highly flexible.  It can be

                                                                  booked for up to two classes for just

                                                                  £80.00, for up to three classes in a

                                                                  half day at £100.00, or combined

                                                                  with other sessions.  Please see our 

                                                                  Victorian Visits page for a full day    

                                                                  of Victorian activities.  Alternatively,

                                                                  our Making Push and Pull Toys

                                                                  Workshop links well with the DT curriculum and Exploring Forces uses aspects of our Fun with Science session to explore Science objectives.  Mileage is also charged.


Moving Toys from the Past Handling Session


Thomas Top-Hat introduces himself and certain outstanding replica toys, which have been sourced internationally for the session, discussing how they work and their materials.  These

include a charming, limited edition Steiff

replica marionette Pantom bear which first

appeared in the Steiff catalogue in 1911.

Thomas then continues to show off his

collection with examples of hand-made folk

crafts from the southern USA and clockwork

tin toys including Duck on a Trike which

delights children.


Then, a wealth of high quality

reproduction and original toys are presented

to the children in traditional wicker baskets

for them to play with and discover the

various mechanisms.


Addionally, each small group has a larger or special toy to engage with, such as bagatelle, shove ha'penny and a zoetrope.  The baskets of toys carousel around the groups until all have been seen, when the class gather for a plenary.


This session can also be adapted upon request to cover Science learning objectives from the Forces unit, eg. pushes, pulls, gravity and friction.


Making Push and Pull Toys Workshop


This workshop is designed to complement the handling session and the replica toys are used as inspiration for children to craft their own.  Thomas introduces a range of partly constructed kits of thaumotropes, flick books, whizzers and zoetrope strips for colouring and in some cases designing.  This work incorporates DT objectives.


This session incurs an extra charge per head to account for the time and resources involved in making the kits.

Old Moving Toys

School Visits

Exploring Forces Workshop

This workshop is

designed to

complement the

handling session

where teachers have

requested a focus

on Science


specifically Pushes

and Pulls.  Using


inventions from our

Fun with Science

presentation, this

workshop also offers the opportunity for children to craft models such as paper aeroplanes and helicopters with Thomas and to test them for efficiency. 


Our usually strict approach to in-role work is tempered with a realistic understanding of KS1 for these sessions and we can certainly come in costume but not in role if teachers think that it may cause confusion for pupils.  Our approach for Key Stage 1 is that we will acknowledge materials like plastic which we "shouldn't" know about - essentially whatever facilitates learning best will be our approach for the session.  Our focus is on the educational experience for the children and what serves them best, so the sessions are interactive and involve everyone.


The main handling session can also be adapted for older children to study toys through the ages, involving Roman, Egyptian and Tudor toys as well as the Victorian ones to compare and contrast.

SEN Schools

We are experienced in working with

children of a range of ages and abilities.

We understand the need for explorative

learning and incorporate sensory

opportunities. Our Toys from the Past

visit into SEN schools is less structured

and will try to meet the needs of the

children. Please get in touch to discuss

your specific class and their needs with us.

We can visit in costume but not in role

(to reduce confusion) and can incorporate

basic Makaton.                                                                     Zoetrope


                                                                                           For more images of Moving Toys,

                                                                                       see our Toys Gallery.


Any of the above activities, including Victorians, can be booked at the costs quoted below, which covers the service itself, to be delivered by either or both of us, dependent on your area and other factors (see our Terms and Conditions).  However, the Making Push and Pull Toys Workshop incurs an extra charge of £1.00 per pupil on top of the below fees.


Full Day

The full day rate is £175.00 plus mileage

(50p per mile round trip from LE9 9HG).

I/2 day

In our local area, you are more than

welcome to book half a day and incorporate

some of the above sessions. The cost for

½ day is £100.00 (50p per mile round trip

from LE9 9HG).


1-2 hours

£80.00 for up to two hours involving up to

two classes plus mileage (50p per mile round trip from LE9 9HG).



Two classes of children, engaging in the handling session and the Exploring Forces Workshop for half a day - £100.00 plus mileage.


Two classes of thirty children, engaging in the handling session and the Making Push and Pull Toys Workshop for half a day - £160.00 plus mileage.


Three or more classes of children, engaging in a Victorian Visit (to include Toys from the Past sessions) for a full day - £175.00 plus mileage.


These rates are held for 2011-12 and there are no hidden costs.

Greg and Lisa McCarthy have many years of experience working with children. Greg is a teacher and Lisa a former Occupational Therapist in learning disabilities. Both have full CRB's and public liability insurance.



Old travelling toybox visits into school for your class, staffed by professional educators.  Why not combine the handling session with a toy-making workshops led by the Specialists?