On November 10, The Strong announced that the swing had been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, along with Fisher-Price Little People figures and the game Dungeons & Dragons. Though the play figures and the role-playing game surely fit the hall’s criteria for iconic toys, the swing seems so suited to hall of fame status that its 2016 induction falls into the “it’s high time” category.
Ancient historians neglected to record when the first swing was made. Maybe the first one was fashioned from plant fiber common to tropical forests—though if you believe Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan movies, jungle dwellers used these woody vines not for recreation but for traveling around the neighborhood. In less forested lands, someone, somewhere, attached a rope or two to an overhead tree branch, set a wooden plank at the other end, hopped on the seat, and began swaying to and fro. Where and when the first swing maker plied his or her craft is a mystery indeed, but the idea caught on.