Two British children's toys, the Tesselated Pastime (1843) and Architectural Pastime (1845), are opportunities to relocate the history of design reform away from the conventional perspective of governmental agenda and to situate the discourse amidst the domestic interior and middle-class family. Because the inventor of the toys was Henry Cole (1802-88), proponent of the Crystal Palace, South Kensington museum complex, and national design schools, the toys are worth considering in relation to the canon of design history and the question of representative artefacts. Investigating the relationship between printing technology and aesthetic taste, this article documents the ways that these toys express several important issues of the decade that came to a head in the Great Exhibition, such as aesthetic prescriptions, particularly the question of historical and representational ornament, the propriety and proper applications of new technologies and the edifying mass commodity.