“ What favourite toy kept you occupied as a youngster? „
i remember the 90s kids days (if you were born in that era then you would probably know what I'm talking about!) These toys that I have mentioned and you remember any of these then you must be a 90s kid or help you remember your kids playing with these toys!
1. Pokemon cards - these cards were like drugs for children, they were addictive, every kid used to trade them to get better and better. There was always the competition who could find them all and who wind get the shiny ones - I got two and I remember Pokemon card traders asking me 'where is that card?' I always to reply 'It's mine!'
2. Beanie babies - I used to have about three or four selves worth of these toys, big or small I used to love them! I had all kinds of animals including dolphins, cats, ant-eater, dragon, rabbits and more! I used to pick one each night of who I would take to bed with, and I probably had one for each day of the month! I still have some actually!
3. Furby/Shelby - Oh my gosh! I remember these, they must had done people's head in cause they kept talking non-stop and you had to play with them nearly 24/7 as well. But at points parents just want to throw them out the window! But mine were fun and I loved playing with them
4. Lego - I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and I used to sneak in my brothers room and find lego to make the tallest tower - I even did this in school most of the time!
5. Tazo - these were free in walker's bag of crisps and I always used to find them I was even told off in the shop once for squeezing the bags to find them oops!
6. Gameboy - these was one of my favorite and this was before I got a Nintendo they were great fun and you could almost play anything from Zelda to Super Mario! awesome!
I love these toys and I will always remember them and will tell my kids one day how much awesomeness were in these toys!
Most of the toys I had when younger I could quite happily own and play with now if I am honest and hopefully when I have a bit more disposable income and space I will purchase some in the future.
I love die cast model vehicles manufactured by brands like Corgi, Matchbox and Siku. I had a Corgi James Bond Aston Martin and a Robin Reliant as driven by Del Boy and Rodney in Only Fools and Horses and I know you can buy a replica model DeLorean as used by Marty McFly to travel through time in Back to the Future which is one I would like to own some time. I had an awful lot of vintage vehicles from the 1950's and 60's produced by a firm called LLEDO sometimes also known as Days Gone and these included Morris Minors amongst other lovely looking vans and cars.
Micro Machines were a popular toy when I was young. These were tiny little vehicles maybe less than two centimetres in length including cars, vans and lorries even aeroplanes that you could use in conjunction with play sets from the range. The play sets were often small grey rectangular boxes that would open up in two and you could then use the pieces inside to construct a garage or a fire station. I had a set that looked like a toolbox but when opened up and built it turned in to a whole city landscape with suspension bridge which was quite smart.
I had a couple of Hornby train sets and some time I would love to build one of those big layouts that you sometimes see in peoples lofts with lots of different accessories making it look like a village. Similarly with Scalextric I had one or two different sets with different cars and I also had some accessories like a Dunlop bridge and pit stop crew. Like with the railway idea I would enjoy having a large layout of track with grandstands, pit stops and all the different pieces to make it look really special.
Without a doubt though my favourite all time toy is Lego and I had lots of this when I was young and I have had some as an adult as well and mark my words when I have the space I will build a big city layout. I remember when I was a bit younger having some Robin Hood sets and the castle editions with the knights and horses were cool as well.
Lots of the toys I loved as a child are ones that I still really like now and if I become a father one day I am sure they will have lots of Scalextric, Hornby Railway, Playmobil and Lego.
In the 1980's, Hasbro released "My Little Pony". From the moment I saw the pastel pink advertising on TV, and heard the cheesy jingle, I was hooked, and spent all of my time nagging my mom for one. My first pony was blue with pink hair. Her name was "Bowtie". There was a lovely plastic smell when I took her out of the packaging. I'm sure if you sniffed it too long, you would probably pass out! She came with a little ribbon and a brush to comb her hair. Bliss.
There were six ponies in the original collection. An achievable goal, or so I thought. I would scrimp and save for another pony to keep Bowtie company. They were quite expensive, about £4 each, which was alot of money for a toy in the 80's and my mom thought they were a complete rip off. When I had finally saved enough cash to buy another pony, I was shocked to discover that Hasbro had brought out a new range of ponies, and these all had rainbow hair, and glittery bottoms. Bowtie looked positively dull in comparison....
So the obsession started. As a young, impressionable child, I fell for every marketing gimmick going, and soon had MLP wallpaper, lighting, bags, lunchbox....the list goes on. You could also collect tokens for limited edition collectors items, and I had a few of those, too.
For a couple of years, I played happily with my ponies, brushing their hair, dressing them up, and buying accessories, but alas, it was not to last. I got older, and soon realised that my "pony paradise" bedroom was not the coolest place to bring friends after school (and no, I was not 16 at the time!). The ponies were sold to a friend, the wallpaper stripped off, and one by one, the bits of merchandise found a new place to live. The last I heard, the ponies were gathering dust in someone's loft. Shame that, because I reckon they would be worth a pretty penny now, especially the collectors items.
One little pony, a baby unicorn, survived the cull. I found her the other day in the kid's toybox, with faded, matted hair and a yellowing body, that was once white. Kids today live in an electronic age, obsessed with Playstations and handheld consoles. The pace of life is so fast. Back when I was a kid, I was perfectly happy with my pastel ponies and their adventures in the sunny meadow...
The men in the white coats are coming to take me away now......
I was a child in the 1960s. Toys were simpler then, but great fun. There were probably more toy shops around. Not the superstore type but neighbourhood toy shops. I had two favourites and if I was being treated for something I loved going to one of these shops to choose a toy. A price limit was set, there wasn't that much money to spare but, I always found something.
In the October half term my mother would take my brother and myself to London's West End and Selfridge's where we would visit the magical grotto then choose a small toy from the large and wonderful toy department.
I remember being a child of around six and playing in the garden with a friend, Linda. We would set up my Wendy House. The frame consisted of metal rods and clips that had to be fitted together and a red and yellow tent like cover then went over the top. It had two gauze type windows and a flap door. We had hours of fun in there, especially as Linda's dad was a baker and supplied us with tiny Hovis loaves and chocolate biscuits. The house must have been small but we managed to divide it with an old curtain, making two rooms. Everything seemed to fit in: dolls' beds, chairs, and cushions.
Before reaching my fourth birthday, my highly inquisitive, and too old for his age, brother, told me he knew the 'truth' about Father Christmas and the tooth Fairy. I tried not to believe him but he'd certainly spoiled things for me. I still got very excited around Christmas time and loved a surprise but my brother had to know everything! He would search everywhere if my parents weren't around and would say, 'See that suitcase on the wardrobe? It's full of toys. I'll get in down and show you!' 'No!, I would say, they're not for us!'
And he said, 'You wanted a doll's pram for Christmas, well look above the wardrobe at that shape covered with a blanket...you can see the shadow of the wheels!'
He was right and Christmas morning revealed my new doll's pram in all it's glory- maroon and white (with a doll, called, 'Chatty Cathy' to go in it. She was great. On pulling a string she would speak). I had happy times with this pram. After seeing, 'The Sound of Music,' I would fit as many of my dolls as possible into it, and a tiny cardboard suitcase with supplies and, off we would go to climbing mountains to escape the Nazis!
I loved my dolls. They were Christened and named. I longed for 'Tiny Tears.' She was floppy like a real baby and could be bought wearing a pink or blue romper suit. I was fascinated that you could feed her and she would wet her nappy if her tummy was squeezed. She was top of my Christmas list but, alas, that was the year of the shortage of Tiny Tears'. I got a doll named 'Suzy Cute' instead. I tried to love her but she wasn't what I wanted. I felt guilty. Tiny Tears came to me the next year.
I can't remember whether it was leading up to Christmas or my birthday when my mum went shopping alone while an aunt stayed with me. I couldn't work out why I wasn't allowed to go but, when mum tried to sneak in some hours later with a large box, the penny dropped. That was my lovely doll's house. How I loved this. Over the next few years I collected furniture and 'people' to go inside. I hoped 'The Borrowers' would move in. I had everything prepared for them, even 'real' lights and a glowing 'coal' fire.
I preferred Sindy to Barbie. I had Sindy and her bofriend, Paul, and Sindy's sister. Then, I even saved up for a red sports car but it wasn't an official Sindy car but she still enjoyed trips out with Paul! An aunt of mine lived in Hong Kong, and could get cheap accessories and clothes for Sindy, so she was very well dressed. She possessed a skiiing outfit, beachwear and even a water skiing outfit.
I also had a Tressy, who was a reject from a toy warehouse. Her hair did grow and I liked her. just a shame she had a hole in her tummy.
Books, books and more books. I was a regular visitor to the library but would buy books when I had the chance. The book magazine came round to school every so often and I was sorry I could only buy one or two. My favourites were, Charlotte's Web, The Borrowers, The Family From One End Street, 101 Dalmatians and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, to name just a few.
I wanted a typewriter as I wanted to write and illustrate books. I was given a real but heavy, old fashioned model. I never quite got the hang of it.
Anything to do with art. I still love art equipment. As a child I was eager for paints, pencils, magic markers, paper and, I adored clay and plaster of Paris modelling sets.
I liked toys, and still do, that are a mini version of the real thing- dolls' baths with working (pump) showers, washing machines and ovens. I had a cooker that really worked and made custard on it. Then my brother slipped and fell onto it, badly cutting his leg (toys weren't as safe then) and had to have stitches. I really didn't mean to leave it lying around!
I spent many hours using my 'Knitting Nancy' which is a little wooden hollow doll used for French knitting. Oh, the presents I intended to make. I started scarves, hats and blankets but, (just as well!) didn't finish anything. Should have known then that I was the type to leave things unfinished, like the books I've started to write and then left abandoned.
And one more thing...a box! I always loved a box and think for all the sophisticated toys children of today own, they still love a box. A large box would be a house or a cooker and a smaller one would be an extension to the dolls house or a dolly wardrobe. Out would come the paints and I'd be engrossed.
Thank you for sharing my reminiscing. What were your favourite toys?
I was born in the 70's and would like to put baby alive at the top of my list of favourite toys but sadly I am unable to as I didn't ever get one despite it been on my Christmas and birthday lists for a few years. However I was far from deprived of toys and spent many happy hours playing with my sister who was 15 months older than me. So this is a list of games I enjoyed playing.
This was a board game in which you were a cat who had to go round the board collecting fish from the dustbins but there as a dog hiding in at least one bin. I cannot remember what happened when you found a dog but this but was a game I regularly pestered my sister to play.
2-Game of life
This was another personal favourite board game in which each player got a car and you drove around the board and accumulating money by choosing a career, collection children and gambling on the stock exchange. For some reason I do seem to remember my car overflowing with children
3-Pop up pirate
This is one item that is still around today. The idea is that each player takes turns to put in a sword until you find the one slot that initiates the pirate jumping out this was a simple game that I often played on my own. My son now has an ELC version and strangely is happy to play this game on his own as well.
This was a huge inflatable ball which you bounced down the field on we even had space Hooper races at sports day in the days when you were able to compete and winning was celebrated. Mine was the traditional orange face. My son now owns his own space Hooper but his is of Thomas the tank engine and I watch him bouncing around our garden and remising of our summers when I was little.
This was a doll which was a step down from the baby alive but you did give her water from a bottle and you could make her cry or wee her Nappy. Amazingly this was considered to be one of the modern dolls in its day.
Girls world was a manikin from the shoulders upwards designed for Girls to create hairstyles and practise your make up skills. The hair had what they described as a tress which you could lengthen or shorten the length of her hair. I actually applied to get some bright coloured dyes which were basically very fat felt pens but the colour did wash out which meant she often had her head under the bathroom sink.
I had a magic roundabout carrousel which you could wind up and had all the characters from the program would revolve around to the tune of the show. This would probably be worth a fortune now but for me the value was not important I would spend watching Dougal, Emintrude and Florence enjoying their ride.
While this is not technically a toy it was something I spent many happy hours creating all sorts of experiments. This set came with its own test tubes, goggles and instruments. It was probably one of the few education toys I ever owned.
9 & 10- Pac Man and Space invaders
Pac Man and Space invaders are both connected as these were cartridges on my Atari. The Atari in the 80's was considered cutting edge. Pac man was a little man who you steered around a maze eating little balls and trying to avoid ghosts. Space invaders was game where rows of aliens were trying to land and the aim was to shoots as many as you could.
Although most of the toys I owned would probably look dated these would still entertain little ones. This is my favourite memories of childhood games.
I have come across a few of these reviews recently and it really got me thinking about my own childhood and what I used to love to play with. I grew up with an older brother. However, the age gap between us was quite big and therefore we didn't really get along and there was nothing to bind us when it came to playing with toys. I used to get a lot of his old toys. However, my mum always wanted a little girl so when she had me she was quite intent on making me very much a girly girl!
I am hoping that my memory will be able to bring back the names of all the toys I used to play with but if not I will do my best to describe it or guess the names though please feel free to let me know the proper names if I have got something wrong!
I was firmly a Barbie girl. I know in theory you should support your own and buy Sindy but she was just rubbish. I had two Sindy's and both their heads fell off and as a child who loved dolls this was definitely not the way to impress me (though one of the Sindy's I did have could swim which was kind of cool). I had tons of Barbie's all of which I loved dressing up. At Christmas I would regularly get the latest Princess Barbie or equivalent and wait impatiently as mum untied all those twisty plastic things that held her in her box. However, you could also regularly get cheap Barbie's who were just dressed in bikini or something equally as simple which my gran would often buy me when I went to visit. One of my favourite Barbie's was a mermaid who was dressed in gold and had really long hair which you could attach Velcro stars to. I think the worst Barbie I ever got was a skater Barbie who was completely flexible and weird. I never quite got in to Ken though, I think I had one Ken so that I could give Barbie a boyfriend However, although I had plenty of Barbie's I always never got the ones I really wanted, like the Barbie whose hair you could cut and dye. I also dreamed of having the Barbie house, my next door neighbour had it and I was so jealous. I still love looking at Barbie's on the odd occasion that I enter a toy shop now a days. They still look as good as they did when I was a kid. However, I don't like the fact that Barbie is under competition from Bratz which are dolls I find really scary!
I also had Disney dolls which although not quite Barbie used to be really good. I was more likely to want pairs of Disney dolls like Beauty and the Beast and Princess Jasmine and Aladdin. I was only really accepting of the Disney male dolls because I loved the films so much. If my memory serves me correctly I also remember the Disney males being a little more anatomically correct than Ken.
With the collection that was given to my brother as a baby when I came along a few years later I had already amassed quite a collection in hand me downs. However this collection continued to grow and by the time I was about six I had a big corner hammock thing in my room that housed my entire collection of teddies. Some of these teddies were lovingly knitted by my mum and gran; these are still patterns that are available today like the two clowns, one who was a normal clown and one who was a painter. However, I did have a couple of favourites, which included Gloworm which was a worm with stubby arms and a plastic face which lit up in the dark and also Heart to Heart bear. He was a bear dressed in a night shirt and hat, he looked just like any other ordinary bear until you hugged him and you could hear his heart beating.
I was a complete bookworm as a child. I completely loved reading and amassed quite a collection. My reading days started with books like Puddle Lane, Topsy and Tim Cockleshell Bay, the Jolly Postman, Lars the little polar bear and Beatrix Potter. When I was older I used to read books from the Point collection, Point Horror being my favourite as well as Goosebumps. I used to love a good horror story and still do. I also used to love books where every couple of pages you chose the outcome and skipped to a certain page, I remember having a famous five version which was amazing.
I was given a spectrum one birthday as a hand me down from my brother, he had been given a mega drive the previous Christmas and I think mum made him give up the spectrum and the box of games that came with it so that I could have a games console. The spectrum was gaming on such a simple level and I remember my mum being able to make basic games that she recorded to cassettes. The games I used to love were tapper (where you were a barman and had to serve beers and collect the empty glasses that came sliding back down the bar) and dizzy (he was an egg that went on adventures but he was also in simple games such as one where he was riding a barrel down the rapids and you had to control him to avoid obstacles). After a while I got bored of the spectrum and started playing on my brother's mega drive. Games like the original sonic were amazing. When I was older I got given the original Gameboy which I was so proud of as it was the first non hand me down console that I had got. I kept it in its original box and it came with me everywhere, short journeys long journeys it didn't matter as long as I had batteries! I remember once going on holiday and wanting to take it with me. I brought so many batteries along it was ridiculous.
I wasn't really one for collecting things like stickers as my mum wouldn't regularly buy me the packs so it was a pointless task. I discovered this quite early on when I tried to collect Animals of Farthing wood stickers and I think I managed to collect around twenty and my sticker album story book looked very bare. However, when it came to the latest playground phase I always tried to keep up I remember a huge phase with marbles, yo yos and also tazos and pogs. The later became quite a competitive playground game where you piled the tazos/pogs face down you whacked it with a slammer and the ones that flipped over you got to keep. Essentially it was childhood gambling.
McDonald's happy meal toys were another must have, if there was something they were doing I really wanted I would beg and plead to go (but not in a temper tantrum kind of way... I wasnt that kind of child lol). I remember at one stage my mum going shopping during the day and bringing me back a happy meal so I could eat it for tea at home. Microwaved happy meal - couldn't have been good for me lol! The same goes for the toys that came in cereals I would promise to eat said cereal and force everyone else in the household to do so just because I wanted a toy. To this day I cant eat weetos because of my attempt to collect all the puppy in my pockets they were doing (puppy in my pockets were awesome I owned the doggy hotel for them!).
A lot of these sorts of games were hand me downs from my brother and I rarely got new board games etc. I loved games like monopoly, hungry hippos and even the true classics like snakes and ladders. However, one thing that I really loved was the big loader construction set, completely boyish but it was amazing how the trucks went round the tracks moving and collecting the balls. I also remember the Rubik's cube in my house. It was not something I ever touched. It was a thing to be admired and looked at. Why? After hours of twisting and turning, my mum had managed to finish it. Anyone who dared touched it was threatened with the pain of death lol. Either me or my brother must have dared messed with it because it's not in its completed state anymore. I was never really an arty person but I loved to make things like jewellery, candles and soaps that came in the big creative kits. However, I did go through the massive stage of trying to get all the kinds of crayola stamp and smelly pens that existed. Pens you sniffed what a good idea lol (on the whole smelling thing does anyone remember that bright pink glue that used to smell like marzipan, lol not only did I sniff pens as a child but glue aswell lol) One of the things I really wanted and never got was a Mr Frosty machine, I must have asked for one literally every Christmas and Birthday, to this day I still consider getting one (well you know... hes such fun and he makes drinks for everyone!).
Since I have managed to waffle on for quite a long time now there is still so much I could mention though I will try to just list a few extras here:
Big Red Fun Bus - you had little figurines that lived on a bus, there were lots of things to explore such as the pet (possibly a cat) that lived behind the radiator cover on the front of the bus.
Fisher Price Garage - you got little fisher price people and cars, you put them in an elevator to the top of the garage, when you got to the top a little bell rang and you then let them go spinning down the ramp all the way to the bottom.
Lego - I wasn't a massive Lego fan as that was more my brothers domain. However, on occasion I did enjoy being creative with it. My parents still have boxes and boxes of bricks in their loft - it's probably a Lego goldmine if any of us could be bothered to make up the kits again.
Polly Pocket - I never really got in to Polly Pocket but was always fascinated by the fact they squeezed so much in to such a small space.
My Little Pony - It wasn't something I caught on to. However, I remember having a bride pony that had a ring attached to her leg. You could remove it and wear the ring yourself.
Cupcake dolls - They were a little doll which instead of having legs had a skirt which were scented (they used to smell amazing). You could turn the skirt upwards to cover up the doll who was wearing a hat which made it look like a cupcake. Pure genius!
Play Doh - It provided hours of entertainment and the smell of it is something that I can still remember today. It was great until it inevitably dried up and went a bit weird.
Playmobil - I had the big house which was amazing, Three floors of Playmobil heaven, though I remember that the roof was easily knocked out of place. Most of the Playmobil kits I used to get were to go in the house and they were so intricate and amazing, they kept me amused for hours.
Sorry if I have gone on for way too long but I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it! I know I have missed out loads of classic games and toys but it's been nice to try and remember some!
As a little girl I was never really in to all the dolly's that other girls had - my girliness extended just as far as a few pollypockets and that was about it. I got given a dolls house and some barbies, but had no interest in them at all - I used to dress up my smaller cuddly toys in Barbie's clothes instead of Barbie!
Some of the toys that I do remember playing with and enjoying are:
The game where you have all these little plastic rods inserted through a larger plastic tube and with some marbles on top - each player has to take out a plastic rod on each turn, trying not to let any marbles fall to the bottom. At the end of the game, the person with the most marbles is the loser.
- Colouring books
I remember once getting a mosaic colouring book from the roman palace at Fishbourne. I was looking for it at home one day as I wanted to do some colouring, but it wasn't where I'd left it - I later found it chewed to bits by my beloved dog. I also have a vivid memory of being in my grandparents living room, scribbling in a colouring book on the floor - my dad came over and started teaching me how to colour in the lines.
- I don't recall the name of it or even what you were supposed to do to play the game, but I have a memory of playing this game with my grandparents. All I recall about it was that it was some sort of card game and all the cards had chickens on them. Once something funny happened when we were playing it (again I can't recall what) and I remember bursting into such hysterical laughter that I ended up crying.
A game that's strangely addictive and can go on for hours.
I once had a sleep over at my friend Naomi's house and we literally played Monopoly all day. According to Naomi I shouted out 'park lane!' in my sleep later that night.
- Snakes and Ladders
I know you're not supposed to play this on your own, but I often did because as an only child I'd get bored and have no one to play with. Despite playing against myself I'd still cheat to avoid going down a snake!
- Cuddly toys
As a child I had a massive collection of cuddly toys, infact I still have most of them today as even though I don't play with them anymore I don't want to get rid of any incase they aren't looked after or end up in a dump (silly I know)! My favourite cuddly toy was and still is my pink dog, imaginatively named Pinky - my dad bought him for me on the day I was born and he's been with my ever since. I used to take Pinky to bed every night and although I don't do that anymore I still get him for a cuddle every time I'm upset as it's a real comfort thing.
When I saw this Dooyoo category I thought it was a lovely idea and I really enjoyed reading other people's childhood toy story... so here is mine...
I was born in 1985 and I grew up with a brother that is three years younger and a sister that is five years younger. We lived in a three bedroom detached house - I shared a room with my little sister until I was 14, then we had the garage converted into a grown up bedroom for me.
Here is a rundown of the toys I loved to play with while I was growing up...
**** Dolls ****
When I was two years old I received my first doll for Christmas - she had a plastic head and soft body and I named her 'Baby' (because she was my baby - do you see the logic?). My mum used to knit cardigans for Baby and I used to hand wash her clothes to make sure she was clean. Then I'd put her into her trolly and push her around, while my mum pushed my brother and sister in their double buggy. I carried that doll around until I was about seven years old and Baby appears in various family snap shots that were taken between those years.
I still have Baby (I could never part with her). A few weeks ago my boyfriend's three year old niece Telysia came to visit, clutching a doll she'd named Millie, I told her about Baby and she asked to see her. Part of me thought "Please don't ask to take her home with you" because Telysia regularly asks if she can have my digital camera / mobile phone / other shiny items that are lying around the house - she is like a little magpie. However I needn't have worried... Telysia took one look at Baby and said: "Claire, your baby is hangin'." ...the youth of today eh! ;o)
I also remember having a Tiny Tears doll. For those of you that don't remember them, you used to feed the doll water in a little plastic bottle, then you'd press its tummy and the doll would wet itself... I loved Tiny Tears, I used to enjoy changing her nappy, dressing and feeding her. However one day tragedy struck... my little brother scribbled all over Tiny Tear's belly in pen. I scrubbed and scrubbed Tiny Tears's belly in a vain attempt to remove the pen, but it wouldn't budge. I was so upset - my baby had been ruined. I went off her shortly after that incident.
Another doll I remember having was more of a head. You were meant to style this 'doll's' hair and put her makeup on. However I was never very good with hair and makeup and I'm still rubbish with it now... so that phase didn't last long...
**** Collections ****
When I was growing up I collected issues of a weekly dinosaur magazine, each week when you bought an issue you got a glow in the dark part of a puzzle. The pieces then slided together to form a glow in the dark model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. I'm not too sure where my dinosaur fascination came from, because science has never really interested me, however I kept each magazine filed away.
I also collected trolls - which were little figurines with crinkled faced and coloured hair. The trolls came in different shapes and sizes and you could buy them without clothes on or in a themed costume. I loved collecting them and I acquired a massive collection - I had a baby troll, a spaceman troll, a ballerina troll, a Santa troll - to name but a few... I think I got rid of most of them at a car boot sale in my teens... I wish I'd kept hold of them now!
Another thing that I remember collecting as a child was football stickers. I had a Premier League sticker book and I used to trade player stickers in the playground with my peers. When you were trading Manchester United player stickers and 'silvers' always had more street value. 'Silvers' were holographic stickers - I always got excited when one of them appeared in my sticker pack.
**** Board games ****
Every Christmas I used to receive a board game that we would all sit down and play as a family after lunch. I loved playing Hungry Hipos - where each player had a hippo with a big mouth that you had to open to collect balls. The winner was the person who acquired the most balls.
Another favourite was Frustration, where the aim was to get your four counters home by pressing dice in the middle of the board. However if another colour landed on you then your counter was sent right back to the beginning. My friends and I used to play that game for hours!
Thank you for reading my review... writing it has brought back some very happy memories.
Being born in 1969, I enjoyed a 1970s childhood and my teenage years in the 1980s. I was an only child throughout these years. In fact, it was only in 2000 that my half-sister from my Dad's second marriage was born - a month before my 31st birthday!
Being an only child was a bit of a mixed blessing. I was lucky to have my own bedroom and many of the toys I wanted, as both my parents worked, and we had regular holidays, both abroad and within the UK. I was able to take a friend with me on several family trips, which I enjoyed as well.
But I was occasionally lonely and wished I had a sister (usually) to share my troubles and happiness with. (I believe this is why I always wanted a big family myself and am now mum to four children.) I did have dogs though (Lee-Lee in the 1970s, Lady Olga from 1982 to 1990 - both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and these fulfilled a bit of that confidant role.
I credit my status as being an only child with many positive characteristics though, including some which I still appreciate today. I have no problems occupying myself and I am perfectly happy in my own company. As a child, I spent many happy hours reading books and writing (stories, poems, lists, diaries, letters and so on) and these remain two of my favourite hobbies.
So my top toys - in no particular order - would be...
I read many books and collected around eighty Enid Blyton ones. I especially loved the Malory Towers series and read them over and over again. Other favourites included Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (I had the whole set of Narnia books, but only really enjoyed the first one.) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.
I inherited my love of Doctor Who from my Dad, who would read me the Target novelisations until I was old enough to read them myself. At the time, the role was played on TV by the great Tom Baker and I was unaware of the earliest incarnations, so as far as I was concerned, all the novelisations starred Tom Baker in my mind. It was only later that I discovered William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton existed!
COMICS AND MAGAZINES
I used to get various comics (and later on magazines) throughout my childhood and teenage years. It would be an exciting trip to our local newsagents to pick up all our orders. Dad would get The Stage and World's Fair, while I would get a gymnastics magazine and some comics.
I remember getting quite a few over the years - Twinkle, Bunty, Tammy, Misty, Jinty, Penny - where I loved following the comic strip stories and seeing what would happen each week. (Being an only child also meant these were treated well and I later sold all the issues of Misty on eBay, some for up to £7 each!)
Girl was the first of a new kind of magazine I got, aimed at young teens and sporting glossier pages and a colour cover of a smiling child model. I enjoyed the gymnastics column they had in it too, written by Suzanne Dando and the free gifts were a welcome extra too.
As I got older, I remember getting Jackie and Blue Jeans where photo stories amused me and I learnt a lot from problem pages, beauty tips and plastered my walls with Debbie Harry posters. Look-In was another good one for posters of Charlie's Angels, the Famous Five and other TV series I loved.
I spent many hours playing with Lego and it lasted so well, that we still have some of these bricks in our household! As well as the basic bricks in different colours, I had some of those green bases, which I inevitably built houses on. I had other bricks for 'CINEMA' and 'KIOSK' and 'GARAGE' but I always went back to the houses. Sometimes these would last a while, displayed on my desk until I got bored of them.
OUTDOOR TOYS AND ACTIVITIES
I spent many hours outdoors too, amusing myself. When we lived in Lincoln in the 1970s, I had a swing in the back garden and used to spend ages on it, swinging and singing, lost in my own little world.
In the 1980s, we moved to a village seven miles out of Lincoln and had a bigger garden, along with a safer area to grow up in. I would skip, play ball games, play hopscotch and go off cycling alone or with my Dad.
I loved gymnastics from the age of eight and would practice it most days. I eventually bought my own floor beam, which was kept in the garage. I would take it into the garden, put it on the concrete patio and endlessly repeat routines and new movements, trying to copy what I had seen the top Soviet and Romanian gymnasts do on the telly.
EARLY COMPUTER TYPE TOYS
In the 1970s, we had the game of Pong on the big TV set in my parents' bedroom. It was the height of technology at the time! For those not old enough to remember, it was like a table tennis or tennis game where you had two bats and a ball, which you hit between each other to win points. I don't remember much else about it, except you could increase the speed to change the level of difficulty and I had great fun playing it!
In the 1980s, our school's computer room consisted of huge BBC Micros on which I usually did "goto" programs to write "I love gymnastics" on the screen. A few geeky lads in our year had ZX Spectrums, but I persuaded my parents to buy me an Oric 48K. I think the most impressive thing I did on it was create a program where the names of the 1984 Romanian Olympic gymnastics team popped onto the screen, accompanied by a variety of sound effects!
I loved TV in the 1970s and 1980s and was lucky to have my own portable TV set in my bedroom sometime in my teenage years. My parents bought a Betamax video recorder in 1980 and I would record any gymnastics that was shown on TV and rewatched them countless times afterwards.
Dad would tape Carry On films, James Bond, disaster movies (The Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, etc.), St. Trinian's and Ealing comedies and I would watch this over and over too. I also loved musicals and regularly taped these. Some of my childhood favourites were Calamity Jane, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz. When I was around ten or eleven, I listed my favourite actresses as Doris Day and Betty Grable!
I also used to listen to cassette tapes a lot and taped the Charts once a week too. Rather a primitive method, I remember literally holding a microphone to the radio speakers and experienced many an annoyed moment when I was taping, only for Mum to come in and ask me something, ruining that particular song!
The first record I bought was Geno by Dexy's Midnight Runners, followed fairly swiftly by Eighth Day by Hazel O'Connor, Babooshka by Kate Bush and Too Much Too Young by The Specials. Abba and Blondie were big favourites of mine too - and still are.
SINGING AND DANCING
Following on logically from that, I also spent a lot of my childhood singing and dancing to pop music. I remember my friend Anita used to come round to my house and we would sing such songs as Nicole's A Little Peace (winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982) and I Know Him So Well by Barbara Dickson and Elaine Paige.
Being a gymnast, I also listened to a lot of instrumental and classical music, making up floor routines to them and tumbling across our living room. I would also dance and do gymnastics to modern music, especially things like Irene Cara's Fame and Toto Coelo's I Eat Cannibals.
No wonder I never had any weight problems as a kid. I was always on the go!
Playing games was a big family past-time. We had a static caravan on a site in Ingoldmells on the Lincolnshire Coast and we would go there most weekends. We played cards there and a variety of board games, with Chinese Checkers being a big favourite of ours. I also played chess with my Dad on a little travel set we had.
We had lots of big family gatherings over Christmas and New Year, taking it in turns to host parties which included my grandmothers, uncles, aunts and cousins. We would play cards at my Gran's house, Colditz at my Auntie Christine's, Scrabble at my Nanna's and Monopoly at our house. Trivial Pursuit came a bit later, Sorry! And Ludo were good games and we could always fall back on Charades if need be.
I played games on my own too - Solitaire, Round The Clock patience and Frustration (where you had to fit all the shapes in the right holes against the clock or they all popped out!). I had a Rubik's Cube in the 1980s, of course, which was a huge craze, though I never did any better than finishing two sides.
Besides from books, my big favourite childhood toy was my collection of Sindy dolls. I received my first one for being brave at the dentists - Ballerina Sindy - and following that, every Christmas and birthday would include a new doll. I always gave my Sindy dolls named which began with S. I seem to recall a Stella, Svetlana, Sally, Susannah, Sherakee, Sharron and Simona.
I ended up with quite an impressive operation going on. I made a set of gymnastics equipment in woodwork classes at school and my Gran made leotards for my dolls. I soon had a regular set of competitions going on with judges, scoreboards and medals. I must have spent hundreds of days of my life doing these gymnastics competitions with my dolls and I loved it all. What a lovely, quiet daughter I was!!
I had other dolls in my collection too, including a couple of Mary Quant's Daisy dolls (called Daisy and Dasha), a Princess Leia doll, Bionic Woman, Doctor Who (Tom Baker), Charlie's Angels and Matchbox dolls (Tia, Britt and Dee). I also had a few Barbies once they became popular and (of course!) these all had names beginning with B - Barbie, Babette and Boriana!
As an adult, I began collecting Charlie's Angels dolls and have about eight different ones now, I think. I loved Farrah Fawcett, Cheryl Ladd, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith, they were big childhood idols of mine (Girl power!) and the wonders of eBay have made all these childhood toys accessible again.
TOYS I NEVER HAD
Finally, a section of toys I never managed to own, despite regularly asking my parents for them at Christmas and birthdays. I don't know why I never had them, but the fact I still remember them must mean something!
I really loved Weebles (Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down!) which were kind of egg-shaped plastic figures. I think they had slides and houses and things they fit in, but it's all a tad hazy these days. I craved them, but it was not to be.
Similarly, Shaker Makers. This was probably because they could be quite messy, as you put lots of liquidy things into a pot with a mould, shook it all up, left it to set and then I guess you painted it afterwards. They were various themes like cartoon characters. I see these made a brief resurgence a while ago (I was tempted to buy myself one!), but their popularity didn't seem to rise too much. They were a huge hit in the 1970s.
Finally, the Game of Life. My friend Anita had this and when I went to her house, we played it quite a lot. She had a brother and two sisters (The same amount of kids and genders as my own children!), so there were always plenty of people around to play games with. At my house, it was just the three of us, which was no good if you needed four players!
So, there you have it, a trip through the toys and games of my childhood and teenage years. Admittedly a rather lingering trip, but hopefully one that may have rekindled some of your memories too and I look forward to hearing about them in the comments.
Childhood toys are always great to talk about. I was born in 1988 so my toys mainly cam from the late eighties and early nineties. We were not a wealthy family and as I was a middle child many toys were passed down the line. I made this quite difficult as I was a tom boy and my sister had Barbie's. I refused to play with them when I got to about three years old and mainly played with boys toys. Here are my five favourite toys-
1 - Toy Cars
I loved my little toy cars, the metal ones that you get to play with Hot wheels garages and tracks. I used to have about a hundred of them and live them up all over the house. As I was quite a hyper active child I never used to sleep and my mum told me that many times she would have to leave me playing with my cars until I fell asleep.
2 - Lego
When I was about ten Lego became a huge thing. My and my cousins used to play this a lot and we had loads of it. As it was expensive though we always wanted those scenery Lego sets like the pirate valley but no one could afford it. When my brother was born and he was about three I used to help him play with the Lego lol. I was eleven but still loved the game. I remember that Lego was such a big thing my brother would ask for it all the time. Once my brother even went mad and hit me on the head with some because I took the best board to play with.
3 - Action Man
I know this is a bit odd but I was not a pink dolly girl. One year my mum brought my older sister a rock climbing Barbie and I got an Action Man. I had especially asked for this one as it came with a wolf which was my favourite animal at the time. I would spend my time making the Action man annoy my sister and her dolls.
4 - Dinosaurs
Another of my tom boy collection was my plastic dinosaurs. I used to be obsessed with these. I had quite a lot of them which I gave to my brother when I was too old to play with them. I remember having a huge T-rex which was my favourite and I used to make it try and eat my sister's toys. My cousin Luke also had many dinosaurs so we would bring them to each other's house.
5 - Timmy Tears
The only doll like toy I ever had as a child was Timmy tears. My sister had the Tiny Tears the same year and for some reason I had to have the boy one. I thought these were brilliant. My sister had it all, the changing unit the nappies, I was quite horrible when I was between 2-4 and used to make my Timmy wee everywhere. I don't think I was really into the dolls.
~ My favourite memories of toys ~
I was born in the summer of 1983 so my toys really date from the late 80's.
I have my top 5 here...
1 - Barbie
I was never really a baby doll girl but when in came to barbie, I had to have her, I had them all barbie house, barbie shower, barbie car although my brother stole this for his action man quite often.
I used to have my friends round and my bedroom was set up as barbie land.
2 - Lego
I was about 12 when I became obsessed with my brothers lego. It was the small type which you use to have green plastic board to build on I think I used to play house with the little lego people.
I wonder if you can still get those boards? I have never seen them in any shops for ages.
3 - Candle maker
Me and my step-sister use to spend many of weekends making candles and giving them to people for presents.
I think we were about 13 give or take a few years.
I remember the blue dye used to stain and we used to fight over the pink colouring.
4 - Trolls
I never played with these however I did collect them and I imagine all girls around my age owned at least 1 as a child. The plastic trolls used to have mad colour hair and were made by Russ. I remember buying them with my pocket money so they can't have been very expensive.
I have found some on ebay listed under vintage toys going for less that a £1.
5 - Battleships
My brother and I used to love this and would play it forever, You can still buy it but I don't think it is as good a the classic electronic one which came in a plastic green case that folds out.
I actually brought the original from a charity shop a few weeks ago and my 7 year old son loves this.
You plot your ships and enter it's location then its battle time, you both take turns to find and sink each others ship.
Also the original has a one player version so you can play against the computer.
5 - My Bike
Not much to say about this other than it was white with pink kisses all over it, and gave me the freedom I craved as a young teenager, before I became to cool to ride it.
I keep reading others reviews on their favourite toys from their childhood and going away and thinking about it, so it's about time I put finger to keyboard.
So, given that my childhood was technically 1976 - 1992 with the emphasis firmly on 1980 - 1988 toys wise, you get an idea of the kind of things available.
1. In first place is Barbie. I loved Barbie, Sindy was a close second and I regarded them as friends. I also had Ken and my Mum's old Paul doll (Sindy's boyfriend) which had been mauled by my Nannan's dog, but I didn't mind. He and Sindy were the real deal.
I had lots of dolls, in glamorous gowns, in shorts and t-shirts, in swimming costumes and with a million and one other accessories besides. I had a huge 3 storey Sindy house and furniture from both Barbie and Sindy to furnish it. They had a jacuzzi pool, a bus, cutlery, shoes, tables and chairs, books, beds, wardrobes and dining sets. I must have spent a good portion of my childhood dressing the dolls and rearranging the furniture endlessly. So engrossed was I in Barbie that my Dad, to my embarrassment, used to call them my plastic friends.
I rather hope my daughters like Barbie too, mostly because of the endless pleasure I had in playing with them, no matter the time of day, the weather outside nor where ever we were on holiday, they were portable and fuss free.
2. I had a swing which I distinctly recall begging for. It was red and blue and I think it may have been branded Bluebird. It arrived in a huge box in the porch one Christmas and I was ecstatic. It took a long time until it could be fixed into the garden but when it was I spent a lot of time on it.
My neighbourhood friends would come and play for hours, swinging on the side bars whilst someone spent vast amounts of energy desperately trying to touch the giant trees at the bottom of the garden, stretching ever muscle and pointing toes like prima ballerinas.
The other desire was the swing right over the top of the bar. In retrospect I have no idea why I would want to do that but ambition is a strange thing in childhood. Anyway, one day I was hellbent on achieving that goal and somehow managed to do some form of damage which left me sailing through the air in what must have been an impressive arc towards the kitchen window. I landed on the grass, chains still in hands and without a scratch. I was more amazed that I wasn't hurt that shocked about the damage to the swing and ran inside to tell my mum what happened and to proudly point out that I wasn't crying.
3. I had roller skates at first, the metal ones which fitted over shoes with the red leather lace up sections and which were adaptable to fit forever. However, once mastered, I wanted roller boots for the absolute in skating. I spent much of various summers skating up and down the path outside the house, or holding onto the back of someone elses bicycle and relying on their pedal power for speed.
I have a scar on my stomach from falling down on a discarded piece of litter, a drinks can and the compacted metal gave me quite a scratch.
4. My bike. I first had Sparky, a blue and yellow kids bike with stabilisers which eventually took me into the world of two wheeled bicycles. Sparky, already named on the cross bar, took on quite a character, a horse, a rocket, KIT from Nightrider, the cars in CHIPS, Maid Marian's horse from Robin of Sherwood and various motorbikes and helicopters. Eventually I inherited my aunts Raleigh and the speed and adventure increased.
5. Swingball. I had a swingball for years and years, in fact I think it's still around. It was an early incarnation with the cumbersome bright yellow rigid bats. It was rather like trying to whack a ball with a carpet beater. I was passionate about rounders for a good while in junior school and I'd imagine swingball helped me improve my aim. Again, the neighbourhood kids were interested so I usually had someone willing to play.
6. Tiny Tears. My parents bought me a Tiny Tears baby doll when I was about 3. I remember it had the facility to wet nappies and when I wasn't allowed to suck my own thumb I would suck the dolls, until eventually it broke, which ended the habit entirely. I couldn't deprive her of another thumb. Tiny Tears was eventually superseded by Emily, a large baby doll with the physique of a 6 month old baby and quite the fashion in 1984, I named her after my favourite play friend of the time, a girl named Emily whose uncle lived on the same road. My own daughters are passionate about Emily now, though her stuffing is somewhat flatter. However, Emily features all her own thumbs!
7. Wendy House. My Wendy House went years, so long in fact that I remember being able to put it all together alone and without any help, correctly fixing all the different angular pieces together with all the different sized poles and throwing the fabric over the top. I also remember building on top of the large board my Dad was using to mix cement on and a spider running out from underneath and up my skirt which was trailing on the floor at the time. How I screamed!
8. Run Rabbit Run and Frustration. My Dad would sit with me for hours on the living room floor playing board games. As an only child I was quite reliant on some parental interaction in the evenings or bad weather. Though the games barely differed I loved playing them for hours. I'm still partial to a game of Frustration at work. ( I work with kids! Honest).
9. Desk and chair. I really wanted a desk I had seen somewhere or another and when it was bought for me as a gift I was very pleased. It had bright red hollow tubular legs and a glossy wooden desktop and seat. There was an inkwell and a slanted top with storage beneath and I kept all my colouring pictures and felt tips in there. Eventually it became my first homework desk, but in the meantime it was a play space as a teacher, an adult working, or some random person in charge. It aided my artistic and creative play and role play.
10. Books. Though they don't count so much as toys or games, I have to mention books. I've spent far more hours reading than playing with any toys and the only reason it comes in at number 10 is because it doesn't entirely fit the criteria. For me, books were endless adventures, new friends, magic, new worlds and dreams come true. Choose Your Own Adventure books kept me enthralled in ending adventures in many many different ways. Though I was also very happy following the Famous Five and Secret Seven and most of Enid Blytons other characters and a million more besides. CS Lewis, Tolkien, Alan Garner, Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Mahy, Robert Westall and many, many more besides. I'm still a voracious reader.
Reflecting on those items shows me how different things are now, much of my play was imagination based and outside.
Okay, this is showing my age here people, but here goes.
(Period of play circa 1974 to 1984)
(In no particular order)
THE ATARI GAMES CONSOLE: My favourite game on it, mainly because I was deadly at it, was BREAKOUT. In this you had a small bat at the bottom of the screen which you could only move from side to side and a wall about 8 deep of different coloured bricks at the top of the screen.
There was a small gap between the top of the wall and the top of the screen playing area which effectively meant there was a thin unbreakable wall behind the main wall of bricks.
When you pressed start a small white ball came out of the side of the screen and you had to move the bat towards it to send it back and forth against he brick wall. Every time it hit a brick the brick exploded and disappeared. The idea is to destroy the whole wall.
When you get good at the game you can aim to just remove certain bricks to create a channel through which you can then aim the ball so that it gets around the back of the wall causing a bouncing ricochet effect between the wall of bricks and the protective thin back wall. This is the fun bit as the ball can get trapped between the two for a while and destroy many bricks in the process.
You have 3 lives; a life is lost when the ball passes your bat and you miss it. There are ways that you can win extra lives and sometimes get two or more balls in play simultaneously. On some versions you also have your bat size shrunk or lengthened.
When you have destroyed all of the bricks in the wall you get a new wall which is progressively harder than the previous one.
It's an addictive mesmerizing game that really has no point to it and which you can never really win at other than by beating your previous high score which is meaningless in itself. However, I did enjoy playing it but 25 years on it wouldn't really interest me.
SUBBUTEO: A table soccer game where you flick your miniature player's saucer shaped base into a miniature football to progress it down the felt pitch and hopefully past the opposition goalie. The game wasn't really that good but I used to collect different team's playing figures. I seem to remember owning the Arsenal, Celtic and Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic teams.
RUGBY SUBBUTEO: This was based on the same principle although the rules were 5 times as complicated as the soccer game. It even included a scrummaging machine that you dropped the little rugby ball into causing it to randomly appear out of the scrummage.
CROSSFIRE: This is a strange one looking back at it and would in today's society be a million to one shot to pass health & safety regulations. It was essentially a miniature ice hockey pitch with a hard cork like surface, tough surround fences and a sunken goal mouth at each end.
Each player had a gun, yes a GUN!, perched on a pivot over his goal mouth (I don't think girls played this). The gun was loaded with solid metal, bigger than the size of a pea, ball bearings, yes METAL BALL BEARINGS!
There were two ice hockey like pucks on the flat board and you had to shoot and shoot as often and as hard as you liked at these in an attempt to get them into your opponent's goal mouth. The gun held about 8 ball bearings in it at a time and they could be fired in salvoes.
The gun was pivoted in such a way that you could shoot anywhere around your living room, bedroom or at your opponent's head if you wanted to! I never did but the phrase "careful, you'll 'ave somebody's eye out with that" was not just a figure of speech in this game.
It was a great game for little boys and I remember firing at the pucks with real venom and getting blisters on my fingers from it.
SCALEXTRIC: This is a car race track game with scale model cars and interlocking pieces of race track that resemble a real tarmac track. There were dozens of scale model cars that you could buy and collect (and a few motorbikes). The cars sat on a groove in the track that conducted electricity through them supplied via a mains transformer.
There were generally two lanes on the track; you controlled your car and its speed by pressing the trigger on your hand held controller and raced it against your opponent's car. The car could only follow the route of the track layout and could not change lanes so the only skill was controlling your car's speed so that it didn't exit the track at corners or through chicanes. You could also buy extras for your track like lap counters, spectator figures, grandstands and model trees etc.
The cars sometimes went wrong and developed minor mechanical faults so you would need to do a bit of a mechanic's job on them which made the whole experience seem all the more real.
Eventually, like many people, we became too good at controlling the cars, so to make things more interesting we put some oil on some parts of the track to cause the cars to skid and to increase the level of difficulty.
After a few years we had so much track that we rarely got it all set up in the house. So what we did was to buy a huge piece of ply wood that fitted the available floor area in the garage. We then permanently fixed the whole track layout and accessories on to the wooden base and attached it with lowerable thin ropes to pulleys that we fixed on the garage ceiling. We could then lower and raise the whole thing as and when we wanted to.
Ultimately we grew out of our love for Scalextric so we dismantled the pulley system and ropes and donated the whole boarded set up to a children's ward in a local hospital.
I was born in the Spring of 1983 and so many of my favourite childhood toys were rather classic late 80's to early 90's toys. The following hold some very fond memories for me.
::: Hungry Hippos :::
Hungry Hippos, the game of marble munching madness. This has to be my all time favourite childhood toy. I have such fond memories of playing this game with my brother as a child until the time came when we had outgrown it and it was then passed on to our younger cousins.
Hungry Hippos, from MB Games, is still available in many stores. It consists of a red square, plastic base with four coloured hippos at each side. I remember the pink hippo was always my weapon of choice! Each hippo has a black lever on its rump which when depressed will open the hippos mouth. On the inner part of the base are white marbles and the aim of the game is to press the lever and try and gobble as many marbles as possible into your hippo's mouth. Once gobbled up the marbles will then sit in a little runway next to your hippo and you can easily see how many marbles you have gained.
This was my favourite game as a child and it was always guaranteed to make my parents tut as the gobbling action of the hippos made so much noise!
::: Keypers :::
Keypers were a rather unusual toy. It was only when I did an internet search on this product that my memories came flooding back as to just what they were. I had a good collection of these as a child as did many of my school friends at the time. Keypers were the toy to have for many little girls.
The main toy was a large plastic animal, some were snails, rabbits, turtles and various other animals. Each animal had a key which opened up a secret compartment where items of value could be stored away. The animal itself had hair similar to that of My Little Pony and each one came with a hairbrush and a vanity mirror. Alongside each animal was also a buddy, a smaller animal which would glow in the dark.
Take a look here if you recognise the name but can't quite remember the product... http://www.ilovethe80s.com/toys_toys_keypers.htm
::: Popples :::
I remember waiting anxiously for my friends to arrive for my birthday party at the local school hall. As they came in one by one they each gave me a gift. As is typical with every school, my class had a rather unpleasant character who prided himself on being the class leader and never had any close friends due to his obnoxious attitude. It took me by surprise therefore when he entered the school hall holding a rather cute looking Popple, unwrapped, as a gift for my birthday.
I distinctively remember that this was the first time I had ever seen a Popple and I was quite taken by the look of it. These toys later became somewhat of a craze and in the passing year I gained a small collection of them.
Popples were brightly coloured stuffed toys which could be described as some kind of alien or mystical creature. Some had floppy ears, some had antennae and all had an adorably cute face. Popples had an opening at the back whereby the body could be turned inside out in such a way that the body looked rather like an egg with just the character's head peeping over the top. My first ever Popple, received that day on my birthday, was purple and black with tufts of white fur around its face and large antennae.
::: Trolls :::
Trolls, or Treasure Trolls were rather ugly looking yet alluring creatures with brightly coloured hair which stood on end. Some were dressed in themed outfits and some were naked. Some had names and accessories and others were simply sold on their own. I believe that there may have been a number of different collections of trolls, there were certainly a number of varying sizes, some were very small with keyring attachments, some even fitted on pencil tops while others were very large indeed. I do remember that the majority, if not all, of my collection were made by Russ.
Just like most of my treasured toys as a child I had developed quite a collection of these. I remember having a tall pine wardrobe in my bedroom and my trolls stood like an army of warriors on top. I would use a chair to reach them down and brush their hair. Amazingly I had, and remembered, a name for each and every one. In fact, thinking back I remember I had named one Cerise due to the colour of its hair and another, one of my favourites, was called Candy.
There were various troll themed products and accessories available. There were lunch boxes, pencil cases and even a Troll World which opened up into a large forest with accessories for the trolls to play in.
To this day, the smell of new plastic reminds me of buying a brand new troll for my collection as a child!
::: Fuzzy Felt :::
Fuzzy Felt was a rather simple yet imaginative toy. It consisted of a board covered in coloured felt, each pack often had a choice of coloured boards, and various themed cut-out felt shapes. The idea was to arrange the felt shapes on the board in order to make a picture. The shapes could then be removed and re-arranged.
Amazingly Fuzzy felt was first introduced in 1950 by a lady called Lois Allen. She used the felt cut-offs from the manufacture of felt gaskets for tanks and other war vehicles. The product was a huge success and is still available today.
I had a variety of Fuzzy Felt sets as a child, all with particular themes such as jungles creatures, ocean creatures, Halloween themed objects and many more.
::: Glo Bugs :::
Not to be mistaken with Glow Worms, though Glow Worms were another fond toy, my son has one of his very own today.
Glo Bugs were small rubber creatures, again popular in the 1980's. There were various characters, though all were weird and wonderful species of bugs. The predominant colour of each one was a dull semi translucent green with certain parts such as a hat, coat or scarf painted in a bright colour. Each bug would have a hole on its base which was ideal for placing the bug on your finger when playing with them.
These charming little bugs would glow in the dark, but only when placed near a light source for a certain amount of time. I fondly remember my mother standing with arms stretched upward, holding my bugs to the living room light and then turning out the light so that I could see them glow. I also remember on one occasion my older brother, unable to reach the light, placing one of my Glo Bugs inside the shade of the table lamp. Sure enough it melted!
As I think back I remember numerous toys and games which I enjoyed throughout my childhood. Those listed above however are quite simply my favourites and hold some great memories of being a carefree child.
Reading some of the other reviews on this subject has made me feel a bit nostalgic, so I wanted to share my memories too. We didn't have the sheer volume of toys that today's children seem to have - definitely not the mountain of plastic toys that are scattered all over my house anyway - but we had enough to keep us happy. These were my favourites.
My sister and I used to spend hours building ever more complicated train sets with our Brio. We had stations, bridges, tunnels and a lot of track and I remember taking up the whole of the lounge floor with our creations. Looking back, I think this was a classic toy - my Mum has kept it all and I'm looking forward to playing with it with my little boy in the near future.
We used to love Playmobil in our house. My sister and I had a big collection and we'd play with them for hours. We mostly had the smaller sets as the big ones were prohibitively expensive, but the sheer quantity we had made for lots of imaginative games. My sister used to line them up and make them wait for things - trains, shops, the bus... she was very keen on the concept of queuing. What we really wanted though was the pirate ship, but it was always too expensive and my sister now says she'll buy it for my son as soon as he's old enough as she doesn't want him to miss out like we did.
Apparently, Barbie wasn't socially acceptable in my house, so we had a range of Sindy dolls instead. These were very similar to Barbie, just slightly more realistically shaped. We didn't have a huge amount of shop-bought accessories for them, but my Nan was always knitting clothes for the dolls so they had a substantial wardrobe. We used to spend ages playing with them, dressing them up, acting out stories where the short-haired Sindy dolls had to be the 'boys' (as we didn't have any boy dolls). One thing I really remember was when we wanted to swap outfits but couldn't be bothered to fiddle around undressing the dolls, we'd just pull their heads off and put them on the body wearing the outfit we wanted.
I think my parents liked classic, durable toys that weren't about to go out of fashion - along with the Brio, we also had a big set of wooden bricks that we'd use to build castles, houses and zoos. We had a lot of zoo animals too - having built up a collection by buying one each every time we went to the zoo - and one of our favourite games was creating zoos with the bricks, the animals, a monorail made out of Brio and all the Playmobil people queuing up to buy their tickets and see the animals.
I used to love my Tiny Tears doll. She was called Flora and she would wet herself when you fed her water (now I'm a Mum I'm not so sure why changing a doll's nappies appealed to me quite so much!) I used to dress her, push her around in her buggy, put her to sleep in her moses basket (made for me by my Nan) and pretend she was my baby. From what I can remember it was a fairly short lived phase though and the novelty soon wore off.
We used to play a lot of board games as a family - traditional ones like Ludo and Snakes and Ladders at first, then Game of Life and Go for Broke were the favourites as we got older. I remember Sunday afternoons after dinner with our grandparents and everyone sitting down to play a game together. My husband and I have kept up the game playing tradition - but these days it is ultra competitive Trivial Pursuit or Cranium with friends, usually fuelled by several glasses of wine.
These were the main things, but there were others too - the wooden brick trolley and the wooden Snoopy toy that I dragged around with me as a toddler. I couldn't get the hang of the Rubix Cube so I used to peel all the stickers off and stick them back on so it looked like I'd cracked it. The Spirograph and Etch a Sketch were fun for a while, but the novelty either wore off or we broke them. I had a couple of my Little Ponies and Care Bears, but by the time that phase was in full flow, I'd got to the stage where I wasn't quite so interested in toys any more... we'd got our first computer and suddenly the lure of Space Invaders, Chuckie Egg and Gauntlet was proving to be more alluring. Looking back, we always had plenty to play with and we had a happy childhood... yes, we didn't always get what we wanted, but maybe that wasn't such a bad thing after all. I definitely want to encourage my little boy to play in the same imaginative way that we did... we could spend hours playing our games, completely absorbed in our own make-believe worlds, and maybe that is something that the children of today aren't encouraged to do quite so much.