We are surrounded today by so many hi-tec gizmos, including toys, that our Life Daily team decided it would be a good idea to look back to the simpler days of our childhoods.
We chose this collection of vintage toys to help bring back some childhood memories.
Our first task was to define what is “vintage” as compared to “antique.” The definition of antique was relatively simple, as the consensus is that this term applies to any object more than 100 years old.
Defining vintage was more tricky. The Merriam Webster dictionary, for example, defines vintage as primarily relating to the age of wine. The general rule is that vintage should not be used in reference to an object less than 20 years old. In addition, the object should be somewhat representational and recognizable as belonging to the era in which it was made.
All of the vintage toys we have selected meet that definition, but all of them originated more than 20 years ago.
To be honest, some are much older than that, but newer versions continued to be produced, and it is those which we consider vintage.
Browse our list – and feel nostalgic for what childhood used to mean:
1. Polly Pockets
The Polly Pockets of the 80s and 90s were the home of a mini doll with her comfy chair and a book. They were tucked away into carry cases that looked like compacts or snap-open purses. The newer dolls are larger than the originals since the small ones frequently fell prey to the vacuum cleaner!
2. Fisher Price Little People Play Sets
Some think that the Little People alone were pretty boring, but their homes and work places were great!. The castle with its winding drawbridge, the garage with a working elevator, and the barn with its own grain silo. Todays sets still hold the same charm as their 1980s counterparts, but the selection has been expanded and now includes two-foot high wheelies rampway for the Little Speed Demons.
3. Etch a Sketch
Seemingly primitive, now that we are in the age of iPad, it’s surprising that children still enjoy creating pictures with this toy. Created originally in the 1950s, it’s still pretty amazing the artwork that can be created using just a couple of dials and a few gray lines!
4. See ‘n Say
Following upon the success of Chatty Cathy, this educational toy was released in the mid 1960s. It allowed kids to point an arrow to the sound they wanted to hear when they pulling a string or lever. The most popular sound turned out to be farm noises!
5. The Yo-Yo
Perhaps this toy is not strictly vintage – actually, it’s almost prehistoric! The yo-yo dates back to 500 BC when it was made from discs of fired clay, and the modern version first came to the U.S. in 1866. But, in spite of 3-D video games and HD movies, kids today are still “walking the dog” and going “round the world.”
6. Jacob’s Ladder
First launched in the late 1800s, this simple toy of wooden blocks is held together with strings or ribbons, and creates an an optical illusion that still holds kids’ attention for hours.
This game was once played with animal bones over 2000 years ago. Modern versions use a variety of materials, and come in different shapes and colors.
8. Paddle Ball
This classic toy exists in many different versions, but with all of them the bonus is that it’s virtually impossible to lose the ball!
9. Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots
The “Red Rocker” and “Blue Bomber” have been fighting for decades, but nothing beats the nostalgia of this original 1960s version.
10. Lite Brite
This classic toy enabled kids to sketch out ideas in colored light pegs. The latest version features a flat-screen (of course). But one thing hasn’t changed: the pegs still really hurt if you step on them.
11. Speak and Spell
This educational toy excited many kids at its launch 30 years ago. Now, it has evolved into the Franklin Speak, Listen, and Learn Spelling Master, which allows kids to create and save their own list of words. It remains a great tool for helping children of all ages.
Did our list of vintage toys stir some nostalgic memories?
Was your favorite among them? Which toys do you think we should have added?
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