Ten toys that made our childhoods
Kids today may have all the gadgets – but they’ll never know the joy experienced by children of the 60s and 70s. Do you remember these toys?
Perfect for rainy days – hours of fun were spent with Spirograph, the geometric drawing toy that produced mathematical roulette curves technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids. Who knew? We loved it anyway and versions are still available today.
Action Man (Palitoy)
Originally based on the American GI Joe figure, the Action Man range first came to Britain in 1966, comprising Action Soldier, Action Sailor and Action Pilot. There was a host of paraphernalia to collect including uniforms, tanks, boats and jeeps. If you have any still in good condition, there are a lot of collectors out there now…
Mouse Trap (Ideal)
This game took real patience and dedication just to set up! The player’s objective was to trap all of their opponent’s mice in the various stages of the game – with cranks and gears, cages, bath tubs and loops – it was a game of wits. And frustration.
One of the trends of 1969 – it was a jolly orange rubber balloon with two handles protruding from the top. The rider would hold on and bounce, using the elasticity to move forward. It was relatively cheap and also kept dad busy at the weekend fixing any punctures…
Twister (Milton Bradley)
Contortionists loved this one – hours of fun with friends in stocking feet on the plastic mat, which has four rows of coloured circles with a different colour in each row. The spinner decided whose feet and hands moved where, and there was no limit to how many could play at once, but more than four was a tight fit!
Battling Tops (Ideal)
“It’s all in the wrist action” was the famous advertising strap line. The object of the game was to have the last standing spinning top – players wound a string around their top and pulled vigorously to release the top into the arena. Pegs in holes on the rim of the arena marked victories and the first to win ten battles won the game!
The original game used a white mule, which began standing on all four feet as
players took turns placing various items onto his back – very gently and gingerly. If triggered, the mule would buck up and throw off the accumulated items and the winner was the last remaining player to place an item on the mule’s back before it bucked!
This great toy was basically a light box with small colored plastic pegs that fitted into little holes on a panel and then illuminated to create a lit picture, similar to LEDs. Templates were also available to create characters such as Mickey Mouse or Scooby-Doo. Not surprisingly, it’s now available as an iPad app – but we loved the original version.
Baby Alive (Kenner)
This was the most life-like doll of the time; she was a beautiful blonde baby doll and could be fed food packets mixed with water. She came with a bottle, nappies and a feeding spoon – the food would eventually move through her and end up in her nappy, much to the disgust of your brothers!
Atari 2600 (Atari, inc)
One of the first home video games accredited with using ROM Cartridges, they went on to produce the arcade hits Space Invaders and Pac Man and never looked back. Games included Frogger, Crazy Climber and Millipede.
These were the coolest bikes of the time – coveted by boys and girls, they were based on the dragsters from the 60s and were great for performing perfect wheelies…
Girl’s World (Palitoy)
Hairdressers and beauticians in their forties and fifties may well admit that their career aspirations began with a Girl’s World! The head styler came with rollers, make-up and brushes – all you needed to recreate the latest look.