A toy is an object used in play. Toys are usually associated with children and pets, but it is not unusual for adult humans and some non-domesticated animals to play with toys. Many items are manufactured to serve as toys, but items produced for other purposes can also be used as toys. A child may pick up a household item and 'fly' it around pretending that it is an airplane, or an animal might play with a pinecone by batting at it, chasing it, and throwing it up in the air. Some toys are intended primarily as collector's items and are not to be played with.
The origin of toys is prehistoric; dolls representing infants, animals, and soldiers, as well as representations of tools used by adults are readily found at archaeological sites. The origin of the word "toy" is unknown, but it is believed that it was first used in the 14th century.
Toys and play in general are an important part of the process of learning about the world and growing up. The young use toys and play to discover their identity, help their bodies grow strong, learn cause and effect, explore relationships, and practice skills they will need as adults. Adults use toys and play to form and strengthen social bonds, teach the young, remember and reinforce lessons from their own youth, exercise their minds and bodies, practice skills they may not use every day, and decorate their living spaces. Toys are more than simple amusement, and they and the way they are used profoundly influence most aspects of life.