"disporting themselves in such grim fashion as the Puritanic nurture would permit"
Children's Games (1559-60)
Public DomainChildren's Games (1559-60) - Credit: Pieter Bruegel the Elder

In a society that viewed hard work as the route to self-discipline and prized self-discipline above all else, play was frowned upon. It was a habit of frivolity, so the Puritans thought, that would lead to an adult life marked by idleness at best and sin at worst. Some games — namely those involving cards, dice or bowls — were banned outright; others — singing games, riding hobby-horses and flying kites — were permissible. Play was often highly gendered and, since toys were scarce, depended on children’s improvisation.

Children spinning tops
Public DomainChildren spinning tops - Credit: John Gendall