Only the best toys stand the test of time, sometimes evolving but never losing their charm. After looking through our list of favourites, you might find yourself going through dusty old boxes to rediscover yours.
The Tonka Truck, now a staple in any toy box, got its start in small-town Minnesota. After a small gardening tool company realised the potential of their metal toy side-business, they changed their name to Tonka – after the nearby Lake Minnetonka – and soon produced one of the most sought-after sandbox toys to date: the yellow Mighty Dump Truck. Sturdy Tonka trucks continue to roll around in sand boxes and along neighbourhood sidewalks to this day, though they have had a modern makeover and are now produced by Hasbro.
The queen of toys, this iconic doll has been the star of many a girl’s playtime for over 50 years. Though she has always been a hugely popular toy, Barbie has also been met with criticism due to her lack of evolution and diversity over the years. Mattel, Barbie’s maker, has finally answered the call for a more realistic, updated Barbie with its new line of dolls this year. There are now Barbie dolls of all sizes, shapes and colours to choose from – a definite improvement that will keep her relevant for future generations.
This one is a no-brainer, since Lego is one of the most powerful and popular brands in the world. The interlocking building system, first introduced by the Danish toy company in 1949, revolutionised the way we play and create (‘we’ being both children and adults). Lego sets have covered all imaginable themes over the years, from the classic Lego City to the hugely popular Star Wars sets. The reason these mini plastic bricks continue to fascinate kids of all ages is quite simple: they provide endless possibilities while nurturing our need to create our own little worlds.
[Photo Right: woodleywonderworks/Flickr]
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
Before we had video games and Gameboys, we had Rock’em Sock’em Robots. First created by Marx Toy Co. in 1964, these blue and red plastic boxers battled it out in the ring until one boxer’s head popped off – signalling the end of a round. Though this toy is not as popular as it was before the digital age, it’s still available for purchase. The latest model, created for the Batman vs. Superman movie coming out this year, has the two superheroes duking it out against each other. amazon.com
Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone
Remember this one? The Fisher-Price company has been making some of our favourite toys since the 1930s, and the Chatter Telephone is probably the best. The smiling rotary dial toy was first created in 1961 to teach youngsters how to dial a telephone. It has been so popular over the years that when Fisher-Price modified the toy to a push-button telephone in 2000, consumers complained until they went back to producing the classic rotary dial version. You can’t mess with the classics!
Competitors have tried to outdo them over the years, but let’s face it – Hot Wheels are the coolest toy cars around. First introduced by American toy makers Mattel in 1968, these mini metal automobiles are wildly popular with both kids and adults. There’s no end to what Hot Wheels will dream up each year, varying their cars from old classics to outlandishly futuristic models. Admit it – you had a really really hard time giving up your collection (or you refused to).
Star Wars Action Figures
The original Star Wars film trilogy started a revolution in the world of action figures. American toy company Kenner produced the first line of Star Wars actions figures from 1978 to 1985 and sold over 300 million toys in the U.S. alone. The toys began flying off the shelves again in the 1990s (now produced by Hasbro) with the re-release of the original trilogy and with the newer movies in the early 2000s. There’s no stopping the wave of Star Wars collectables mania (which goes way beyond just toys). With Disney’s The Force Awakens came the newest action figures – which awakened the giddy kids in all of us.
Fisher-Price Record Player
Music fans are rediscovering vinyl, so it only makes sense that the toy version is making a comeback, too. The Fisher-Price Record Player, first sold in 1971, comes with 5 plastic records that play 10 songs. Parents who played with this beloved toy will be thrilled to know it’s still available to purchase. If you’ve been thinking about digging out your old record collection, you might as well get one of these as well – music is a great thing to share with your children. wheniwasakid.co.uk
These toys are “more than meets the eye”. Transformers make the list because there just isn’t anything else like them. First created in the 1980s by Japanese toy company Takara, and later in partnership with Hasbro, these action figures can be transformed from ordinary objects – cars, a boom box, an airplane – into robots. The cartoon show companion to the toys made them even more popular, as kids could play with their favourite TV heroes. The battle between the evil Decepticons and heroic Autobots came to the silver screen in 2007, proving that Transformers are just as beloved today as they were three decades ago.
The Game Boy was one of the first toys that launched us into the digital age of play. First sold in 1989 by Japanese company Nintendo, the Game Boy soon became a phenomenon. Before the age of smartphones, this handheld computer game was what every kid wanted, and had them all hooked on Super Mario Land and The Legend of Zelda. Sadly, Game Boys are no longer manufactured – but that might change. German-based graphic designer Florian Renner recently shared a concept for what he is calling the Game Boy 1up, which is a modern version of the handheld console that he designed in homage to the original. People love it and are demanding that it be made a reality…
Article by Gail Wilcoxen
Are you tempted to replace your old toys with these modern interpretations?