Boys would play with their tin or lead soldiers. Later in the century as the railways developed across the country clockwork trains became popular.
Girls might spend
their spare time sewing. They practiced their stitches by embroidering letters
of the alphabet, texts or complex pictures within a fancy border. These pieces
of embroidery were called samplers.
Reading was a
popular pastime, many books written during the Victorian Era are still enjoyed
extremely popular in Victorian times. Traditional sports like football, cricket
and boxing had been played for centuries but now they were given proper rules
for the first time. The first Football Association (FA) Cup was played in 1871.
This was when many football clubs were set-up, ones like Aston Villa and Everton
were set up by churches to attract more people to come to church. Others like
Arsenal were set up by employers. Football was meant to keep people healthy and
to encourage a sense of fair play. It wasn't that successful and free kicks
(1877) and penalty kicks (1891) had to be brought in to clamp down on foul play.
Lawn tennis was another popular sport for middle-class women. At first proper tennis involved patting the ball back and forth, without keeping score, but, players were soon caught up in the competitive spirit of the game, finding it an excellent method of exercise and a useful mental and physical outlet. More active than croquet or archery tennis also appealed to men. By the 1880ís it had become the rage in fashionable summer resorts, and magazines devoted space to the proper clothes to wear while playing.
This became very popular. The safety bicycle was brought out in 1885 and was the cheapest way to travel. People who lived in town would ride out into the countryside on their bicycles.