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Remember when we were kids? Toys did not come with apps, require you to buy a console, or become obsolete every few months. We built, we designed, we played, and we used our imaginations. Although modern toys are interesting, I think there is something to be said for the things we played with back in the day. Luckily, many of these things have remained available, or have made a comeback, so that we can watch our own children play with them today.
Who didn't have these? We spent hours designing log cabins like the ones Abe Lincoln used to live in. The hardest part was always laying the wooden panels across the roof so that they'd balance. Fun fact: Did you know that Frank Lloyd Wright's son, John Lloyd Wright, invented Lincoln Logs in 1916?
When you saw the heading of this paragraph, did you exclaim, "OMG, Tinkertoys!" I did. Anything was possible with this building kit. I once had a Barbie doll whose leg fell off, and I couldn't get it back on... so as a solution, I built her a wheelchair out of Tinkertoys! Today's Tinkertoys are made out of plastic instead of wood, and have been updated so that creations stay together longer, plus it looks like they've added some new pieces. But they're still the same idea. I would love to play with these again!
If you prefer the classic wooden Tinkertoys, you could buy this set instead. It looks like this set has fewer of the newer pieces, makes them either less cool or more cool.
This was one of my favorites! The only bad part was if someone stepped on one of the sharp little colored pegs. You could either make your own design, or use one of the templates. We also sometimes used to use white chalk on black paper to draw a template, and then poke the pegs through the paper. Although they call it "classic," it looks like this Lite-Brite is smaller than the old one and has a flat screen instead of the TV tube shaped one we had. Plus, it takes batteries.
Barbie Fashion Plates
My aunt and I spent hours upon hours playing with this! This toy contained plates that you picked out and put together like a puzzle... you'd need a head, a shirt, a skirt or pants, and shoes. You made a rubbing of it with the little crayon holder thing it came with. Then you could use the reverse sides of the plates to choose fabric patterns for the clothes, and make another rubbing. Finally, you colored the whole thing with colored pencils. Our Barbies rocked 70s fashions, but I'm guessing the clothing choices have been updated for modern kids.
This is the "sweet little game for sweet little folks," and for many of us was our very first board game! I always loved the bright colors and the whimsical pictures. While I've seen different versions such as the Disney Princess version and a kind with 3D buildings, I prefer this classic version. My five-year-old nephew has it, and when I visited him we played it every day. Not gonna lie... I never get sick of this game!
What a noisy, but fun, game of skill! This one looks like a clear tube with holes in it. First you push the little sticks through the holes, criss-crossing them over each other. Next you pour in the marbles. Then, you take turns carefully removing a stick. Eventually, there aren't enough sticks to hold the marbles, and they come tumbling down.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Cabbage Patch Kids have gone through tons of reincarnations over the years, but this is the closest to the one I had. Although their hair was made of yarn, so I couldn't brush it like I brushed my other doll's hair, I loved my Cabbage Patch Kid and carried her everywhere... far longer than I carried around any of my other dolls!
We were always getting View Masters for Christmas. My very first one came with disks that had the Muppets characters. Kids today can still enjoy View Masters, which is one toy that really has not changed much over the years!
Simon was a fun memory game. I loved it because of the bright lights and colors, and the interesting noises. You have to try to press the buttons in the same pattern that Simon does it. If you mess up, it makes a disappointed woh-woh noise. I'm sure there is a phone app that does the same thing, but I think this is way more fun!
Mr. Potato Head
Who could forget playing with a potato who stored his accessories in his rear end? The Toy Story movies made this toy come back into fashion, and it is still going strong. When I was a kid we also had the green pepper one. I have no idea if this part is true, but my mom used to tell us that when she was a kid, they just had the little body parts, and they had to poke them into an actual potato.
See 'n Say
The cow says, "Moooooo!" Does that bring back memories? We had several of these, but ours had a string that you had to pull in order to hear the noise. It was always getting tangled inside of the toy. The new version has a lever, but the sounds are just about the same!
The moral of this story is just because time moves on, that doesn't mean we can't give kids the same innocent, colorful, non-internet-connected toys that we enjoyed. How many of these would you love to see in your child's toy box today?