Popular Family Activities During Depression Years of 1930s

Sometimes the era of the Great Depression – 1930s are shown as depressing for families, even your ancestors of that era. But it turns out there were many activities that adults and children found joy and a good time in. Here are a few.

With radios available, people liked listening to sports and news, as well as jazz and swing music. With orchestras led by Count Basie and Benny Goodman, swing bands brought joy to many people.

Contests of various forms also provided fun activities and many even gave prizes, especially cash to the winners. Contests included goldfish swallowing, kissing marathons, flag pole sitting events, and soap box derby races. There was Monopoly, the popular board game about money and wealth, was first published by Parker Brothers in 1935 during the Great Depression.

For children they loved having a stuffed Mickey Mouse toy, finger paint, a Buck Rogers Rocket Pistol, a Red Ryder BB gun, marbles and jump ropes.

During the 1930s, football was almost as popular with Nebraskans as it is today. High school teams were sources of pride for entire communities and the University of Nebraska team was becoming a national force.

Singing telegrams were popular anyone was thrilled if was sent to them.

Yet not all people and especially children had an easy life in the 1930s. During the Depression, many children had to take jobs to support the family rather than even attend school. Many children were even self-employed, collecting junk to sell or doing odd jobs for neighbors.

For teenagers in the 1930s, they loved to listened to a variety of radio shows or took in a cheap movie when they could. They also took part in a variety of sports, that didn’t cost anything at all.

A big change for your female ancestors of the 1930s was the wearing of pants. They had them at home or at the beach or to attend sporting events. Another form popular of women’s clothing was overalls designed for women too, complete with cute details, fun color combinations, buttons, and a sweetheart neckline.

It is great to know what life was like in the 1930s, especially for our ancestors who lived it.

Photo: Lady wearing pants in 1930s.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

The New Deal and Our Ancestors

Inventions that Helped Your Ancestors in the 1930s

Slang of the 1930s

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