Is it actually true that they don’t make toys like they used to, or is it simply that our minds are so clouded with nostalgic joy that we can’t accept that anything new could ever be better than what we played with when we were growing up?
Toys actually play a major factor in childhood development.
It influences education and improves abilities and skills that children need to prepare them for life.
There are four major areas in which toys help the development of children: motor skills, emotional development, social development and cognitive development.
In terms of motor skills, toys help children to engage in physical activity by exercising their fine and gross motor skills.
Activities such as colouring and dressing up allow children to use their sense of touch and sight, whilst walkers, bikes etc boost their physiognomy (gross motor skills) and strengthen their arms and legs.
These sorts of toy can also help children discover balance and coordination.
As for emotional development, toys boost children’s creativity and helps them express their emotions.
This could be either through role play and acting, or playing with dolls.
They can put dolls in an ordinary environment like a dolls house, or invent a fantastical world like out of space.
As well as improving children’s language skills, toys also teach social skills.
They give an understanding of the society they live in.
Toys invite children to interact, first with adults and then other children their age.
Children also learn to share when playing with toys, an important skill for later in life.
Toys also promote children’s cognitive development by stimulating their concentration and memory skills (board games) and giving them the ability to solve problems creatively, which is key to their future autonomy (playing with building blocks).
The 80’s and 90’s were particular goldmines when it comes to the best toys.
Tamagotchis, Pogs, Ninja Turtles all sold in their millions, which is why we all died inside a little bit when Toys R’ Us went out of business earlier this year.
Online sales ended in February, with the last physical stores shutting their doors last week after six decades of making children happy (while emptying their parent’s wallets).
For us who’d grown up shopping there it wasn’t just the end of an era, it was the true end to our childhood. So long Geoffrey Giraffe!
So, please take a look at the following 26 toys we suspect you may have forgotten about, and make sure you spend a few moments enjoying the sweet nostalgia of your youth.
Are there any of these toys that you do remember? How many of them did you own?
*** Warning, you may be hitting eBay shortly after reading this post! ***
Had you forgotten about putting your hand up a Boglin? They were actually pretty realistic!
It wasn’t so much the look, though, it was the feel of the Boglins’ skin that did it for me and seriously creeped me out as the latex felt just a bit too skin-like for my liking!
Boglins were first released in 1982 and were manufactured by various companies for the Mattel toy group.
They were a reaction the “creatures craze” that also included Ghoulies, Creepers and Gremlins.
Several series of Boglins were available, inspired by goblins, aquatic creatures and halloween.
They were very popular in the USA with Europe, with kids buying them in an attempt to scare the wits out of each other.
Several sizes can be found ranging from very large to tiny mini PVC Boglins (similar to Monsters in my Pocket).
The Mini Boglins were used in their very own role-playing game, where they were separated into “tribes” and given various ranks.
Even we had completely forgotten about this! You put different cards into it for different games and challenges – it was basically an 80’s kid’s first computer.
Simple by today’s standards but at the time it seemed futuristic, and kids today are impressed with their 3DS and PSP’s being able to load different games!
If you’re looking to buy one of these toys nowadays, you’d be hard pressed to do so!
They’re quite rare but there are a few knocking about on eBay if you really have a look.
Expect to pay quite a lot for it though, as the instruction manual alone will cost you £1.99.
Even Google search results are hard to come by, with just a few mentions on Pinterest and a website dedicated to the forgotten 80’s toy where you can listen to its sounds (I played one and freaked out my cat).
Kids these days don’t know they’re born!
3. Casdon Cash Till
We’re not sure how something so basic could have brought us so much joy, but it certainly did!
Did you pretend to be a normal shop keeper, or were you pretending to take part in “Open All Hours” when your parents let you stay up late on a Sunday evening as a treat to watch it together as a family?
Casdon cash tills are still available today and probably have a few new features.
For example, the new till has a ‘touch-sensitive’ screen and a working calculator and microphone.
It also has a chip & pin feature, scanner, opening cash till and a selection of branded play food.
Handy for anyone thinking of going into a career in retail.
4. Dancing Animals Mobile
Even though we were very little when we owned this, if we heard the lullaby music it played again now I suspect it would still send us off to the land of nod.
Or maybe it would just annoy us and we’d want one of those light-display things kids have today that show the solar system on your ceiling or something!
Again, you can buy these on Ebay, with prices being around £25.00 depending on the condition of the product.
Of course, mobiles weren’t just exclusive to the ’80s.
You owned these and you’ve forgotten about them, right?
But why the name Snugglebum? I feel like Mr T – “I ain’t snuggling no bum!”
Snugglebumms was a line of little rubbery PVC creatures created by Playskool.
The characters had names like Bumble, Papa Gently, Fondly, Baby Shyly, Flutter, Warmly, Happily, Gladly, Cutely and Mama Brightly.
You could squeeze them like a dog toy or shake them and they would do thinks like squeak, giggle, or light up (depending on which one you had).
They came with big hair that could be brushed and accessorised.
Dingbot was based on the lovable 1982 film character E.T. and was initially produced for a whisky television commercial in Japan.
We bet that many of you had one.
There were also many other variations, such as a robot that spun his arms round and whenever he hit a wall would flip all the way over and carry on going!
He is a good communicator, emitting little squeals of excitement as he shakes his head, smiling as he moves about changing direction as he bumps into objects.
He is a funny robot who is slowly learning the meaning of walls.
7. Lights Alive
We have many happy memories of making some beautiful and bright pictures with this brilliant piece of kit.
The only thing we didn’t know we were missing at the time was a smart phone so we could take pictures of our light creations so we could keep them forever!
Lights Alive was like a light box but with a black cover full of small holes which each had a tiny LED bulb shaped bit of plastic in it.
Lights Alive from Tomy came with a bunch of different tools which all served the purpose of being able to poke down the holes and push the plastic bits so they were transparent and the light could shine through.
This would allow you to create all sorts of pictures and patterns.
8. Strawberry Shortcake
Had you forgotten about Strawberry Shortcake? She not only looked cute, but she had a lovely smell also!
In case you’re wondering the smell she had was strawberries. Just in case you weren’t sure!
And she had a crew of friends each with their own distinct smell.
The character was, and still is, owned by American Greetings.
She started out as a star in their card line, then moved on into your house with you with her line of dolls, colognes, bed sheets, shirts, make your own pillow patterns and posters.
9. Glo Friends
How cute were these little things! We’re pretty sure we had them glowing in our bedroom at night.
These were the old fashioned kind of glow-lights though in that you had to hold them next to a 100W bulb for 10 minutes to get them to keep glowing for the night!
They also had their own television show and were made by Hasbro’s Playskool division.
10. Fisher Price Corn Popper
Hours of fun can be had by a toddler who has one of these to pull around the house, especially as they made such a satisfying noise when you did so.
If you learned to walk in the past 50 years, you’ve probably done so at some point while pushing this noisemaker on a stick.
In 1957, inventor Arthur Holt sold his design for a small plastic dome filled with colorful balls to Fisher-Price for just $50.
Since then, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper has become one of the most beloved (and irritating) toys for young children of all time.
Personally we think they’re more akin to someone doing the hoovering than popping corn though!
11. Little Professor
You may have forgotten Little Professor, but he no doubt helped you become the Maths genius you are today.
The Little Professor is a backwards-functioning calculator designed for children ages 5 to 9.
Instead of providing the answer to a mathematical expression entered by the user, it generates unsolved expressions and prompts the user for the answer.
When the user turns the Little Professor on and selects a difficulty level, an incomplete equation such as “3 x 6 =” appears on the LED screen.
The user has three chances to enter the correct number. If the answer is incorrect, the screen displays “EEE”.
After the third wrong answer, the correct answer is displayed. If the answer supplied is correct, the Little Professor goes to the next equation
The Little Professor displays the number of correct first answers after each set of 10 problems.
Just look at these furry fellas. Be honest, did you have one in your bed, and had you completely forgotten about it?
The Wuzzles were a group of cuddly creatures made up from two animals each – Bumble-Lion was a Bumble Bee crossed with a Lion, Rhino-Key was a Rhino crossed with a Monkey, etc! Who was your favourite?
The Wuzzles also had their own TV series.
It was first broadcast on September 14, 1985 on CBS.
13. Mr Men Slide Projector
Like a cinema in our own bedroom, at least after we got the room dark enough and worked out how to focus it correctly.
Which of the Mr. Men’s adventures were your favourite? Are you a Mr Tickle fan, or are you all about Mr Bump?
Mr. Men is a series of children’s books by British author Roger Hargreaves commencing in 1971.
From 1981, an accompanying series of Little Miss books by the same author, but with female characters were published.
A similar series of animal characters known as Timbuctoo started in 1978.
14. Dairy Milk Chocolate Dispenser
This was absolute heaven, because for some reason having the Dairy Milk chocolate dispensed made it taste ten times better than if we’d simply been given it to eat!
You could even get your mates to pay for one if you were clever enough, then take out their money and use it to pay for your own!
It was perfect for chocoholics, the 23cm-tall coin bank is a fun way to save money.
You simply inserted 10p into the slot to earn a Dairy Milk Miniature – the more you ate, the more you saved.
You just twisted the knob at the back to open the secret door to reveal your stash.
15. Pound Puppies
Asking us to adopt a poor lonely puppy, the advertising for these wasn’t tugging on our heart strings at all!
We seem to remember there was also a cartoon to go along with the toys. Did you have one?
Did your heart melt when you looked at those sad, puppy-dog eyes?
Everyone loved Pound Puppies!
16. Tunyville Choo Choo Train
Does this bring back any distant memories from when you were a little kid? It certainly does for us.
The train would chug along and play a nursery rhyme tune as it went, so you could hum along whilst having fun at the same time!
The tagline was “It’s the little train that delivers music to all stations.”
17. Water Games
Hours of fun were had with these, and we especially remember this brilliant football one.
They were difficult to master, and we remember it was often much more down to luck rather than judgement to do well, but was great fun nonetheless and had that “one last go” feel to them.
You just had to be gentle with them.
If it cracked or you broke it, there would be quite the flood everywhere.
Perhaps it would be best to play this outdoors and away from electrics.
“Keypers, Keypers, what’s inside those keypers” went the advert, and we know that many of you had these.
We also know that many of you will have forgotten about them, had you?
Keypers came in a variety of designs, including rabbits, snails and swans – which did you have?
Keypers were produced by Tonka from 1985 to 1992.
They were large, hard plastic bodied adults and small softer plastic bodied babies.
The adult Keypers had a key (with their name on) which locked and unlocked a door somewhere about their body, and the baby Keypers had a slit in their backs where you could store things.
Along with the plastic toys there were large plush adult Keypers, books, games and other items.
19. Petite Post Office
With toys such as this we could pretend to be at work like our mum and/or dad.
When really we should have simply been enjoying our childhood.
Times were a lot simpler back then and pretending to be Postman Pat or Granny Goggins was the highlight of our day!
It was a complete post office packed away in a red case.
When you opened it up, the case transformed into a post office with an open window, with all the papers and stamps, ink pads etc you could ever ask for.
20. Major Morgan
Major Morgan (the electronic organ) had us composing masterpieces like we were Jean-Michel Jarre. What a toy!
First manufactured by Playskool in 1979, Major M was a hand-held musical toy.
Major M was designed to look like a drum major from a marching band; he sported a blue outfit with yellow epaulettes and sleeve stripes and a red hat with yellow decoration.
t was never going to become an instrument favoured by pop bands or orchestras but Major Morgan was pretty good for a slightly abrasive version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star’ or ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’.
On the UK box it was suggested that he was suitable for three to nine year olds which seems to be a slightly strange cut off.
These cute little fellas came in a variety of different dinosaur species.
They were a good size to snuggle up to and when moved, they had some kind of ball-bearing inside that moved round and grated on the dinosaur’s innards making a sound like a soft snoring!
These were really loveable and mine was with me for years!
Do you still have one of these ? Does it work?
22. Kong Man
This was a great, inventive and very fun game.
The aim being to get a ball bearing from the bottom of the Kong Man’s vertical maze to the top, traversing perils like moving bridges and a haunted wall that saw the ball bearing defy gravity!
This was touch as nails to master but gave a real feeling of satisfaction when you finally manged it!
The box text says:
“It’s a game of high skill and daring. The perilous path to Kongman’s kingdom isn’t easy.
The “No-Go” bridge, the magnetic crane, the captive balloon and the incredible magic wall have to be conquered. Have you got what it takes to reach the top?”
23. Screwball Scramble
Almost like a horizontal version of Kong Man, Screwball Scramble was probably the more difficult of the two to master, largely because of that bloody covered maze so you can’t see where the ball bearing was!
This was another one that gave you a real feeling of satisfaction when you completed it though, and having done it once didn’t mean you’d be able to complete it every time!
We remember playing this for hours!
The frustration when the ball was nearly at the end and fell off was unreal.
Which part of the board did you think was the hardest?
Comment and let us know.
24. Teddy Ruxpin
I’m not going to deny, this thing seriously freaked me out.
It seemed like the teddy-bear version of Chucky the demonic doll when I was growing up.
The bear’s mouth and eyes moved while “reading” stories that were played on an audio tape cassette deck built into its back.
It was created by Ken Forsse with later assistance by Larry Larsen and John Davies, and the first version of the toy was designed by the firm RKS Design.
Teddy Ruxpin, with his story-telling antics was incredibly popular at the time.
Not one for me though!
25. My Pet Monster
Now this guy was seriously cute in a scary kind of way!
My Pet Monster was a cuddly toy that was supposed to be kind of horrific at the same time, to the point where he came with handcuffs that were supposed to keep him from hurting you – at least there’s no chance of that thought scaring any little kids, right?
Other characters were also created with brightly colored fur and unorthodox names like Gwonk, Wogster, and Rark.
Their popularity allowed a wealth of merchandise including coloring books, Golden Look-Look books, frame-tray puzzles and various other items.
26. Monster Balls
No jokes please. These were awesome! Did you collect them? Which was your favourite?
Many a time playgrounds would be filled with shouts of “who wants to see my monster balls”?
These were really popular for a good 5 minutes before the next great thing came along!
The gruesome toys would be perfect to trick people with on Halloween.
Imagine sticking your hand in a bowl of sweets and pulling out one of these?
If you have enjoyed reading this post, please do spread some lovely, nostalgic childhood memories to your friends and family by sharing it with them. Let us know your memories and favourite toys in the comments as always, too, have we dared to miss off your favourite toy from your childhood?