As consumers-in-training, active engagement with financial and material tasks were key didactic tools for eighteenth-century children. The expanding and tempting world of goods, which rose to ever-increasing prominence in the eighteenth century, brought with it a threat of moral decay, material decadence, and financial ruin. The importance of arming children in order to resist the allure of the commercial world was an issue of great importance to pedagogical writers such as Locke and Edgeworth, and was recognised as an appealing selling point by publishers such as Newbery and the Fullers. The didactic materials produced to promote the training of children to be economically literate, rational consumers were utilised with varying degrees of success. However, the material training of children to understand where things came from and how they were made was prevalent both in pedagogical literature, and in the practice of children making clothing for their dolls. This self-conscious development of children’s knowledge of the material world and consumer goods through unmaking and making aimed to promote restraint, and an understanding of the value of things.
|Title of host publication
|Childhood by Design
|Subtitle of host publication
|Toys and the Material Culture of Childhood, 1700-present
|Place of Publication
|Number of pages
|E-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2019