Celebrate Barbie's Birthday March 9th - Remembering Fun Activities to do with Barbie Dolls
1970s Malibu Barbie & the Girls
You can have a Malibu Barbie, too!
Best Activities with Barbie and Friends!
I absolutely loved playing with Barbie dolls when I was a child. I still have a closet full . . . a collection of Barbie dolls, old and new, Barbie clothing, accessories, and furniture. Barbie and gang are really hard to let go of because we spent a lot of time together in my childhood.
My 1971 Malibu Barbie with the long straight hair (heck, they all had straight hair in the 70s!) was my favorite. Then of course, there was her boyfriend, Ken, who had a sculptured plastic head of hair back in the day, as opposed to the "real" hair Ken was given later on. Let's face it, folks. Ken was just an accessory for a long time; perhaps he still is. We know it was all about Barbie and her female friends.Not a lot of time was spent on Ken. I even had a hard time finding clothing for him. Poor guy.
I had (and still do) little sister Skipper and cousin Francie, too. Then there was P.J. , who was a friend. Sometimes I pretended she was married to Ken (I know--sacrilege!) and that Barbie was one of the daughters, along with Skipper and Francie. I did pick up some random Barbie dolls later on, but I had mainly the basic five for many years. I borrowed the baby from another little family I have (can't remember what they were called) so that the family would have a baby, too.
I had a lot of neat set-ups with Barbie and family. Even my brothers joined in on Barbie's adventures, although they might not admit it now!
My Old Barbie Swimming Pool
Modern Barbie Pool: It's not vintage, but it's cool!
Set up a Pool Party
Setting up the swimming pool is something I still do when my youngest niece comes to visit in the summertime.The swimming pool, complete with slide and diving board, was one of my favorite Barbie pastimes as a child. (And my brothers' too!) I would deck out Barbie, Ken, and the rest in their swimsuits and head for the pool!
I had the extra items such as blow up rafts for floating, sunglasses, and beach towels. My little brothers would join me when I played with the swimming pool, as we would get out the hose, fill up the pool, and make a total mess, usually out on the carport.
When I was setting up the pool for this picture, I noticed that some of the pieces were falling apart, and some were broken. The materials are harder to maneuver, so putting together the pool took some time. This wasn't the case with the Barbie pool that I bought for my niece several years ago. This experience makes me want to tell my nieces, "When I was your age, we had to work HARD at putting our Barbie pools together. Kids today have it easy!"
My Old Barbie Tent
Newer Barbie Tent: It probably stands up better!
Go Camping with Barbie!
I still have my plastic yellow blow-up tent from the 70s. It's harder to get it to stay up than it was then. Gosh, I got a lot of use out of that tent. I had the best time gathering up my entire Barbie clan in the Barbie Beach Bus (which I had in the 70s) and heading for the campsite.
Once I kept a baby duck in the Barbie Beach Bus. I don't remember the circumstances, but we had to bring it in to keep it warm at night. It was a sweet little creature and would snuggle on my neck under my hair--until it turned up dead one morning in the bus. But I digress. No need to dwell on the tragedies of the Barbie Beach Bus.
Anyway, my beach bus would hold extra equipment such as a table that could be assembled, fold-up chairs, sleeping bags, a grill, and food. Cooking out, making meals, going for walks, and coming back to get in their sleeping bags were some of the activities my Barbie family did. I always made sure that Barbie and Ken got some alone time in the tent, too! Seriously, I did.
Barbie hair salon
Barbie Fashion Show and Hairstyling
With all of the Barbie clothing, jewelry, and shoes, I was continually trying out different fashions. I had some store-bought Barbie clothes, and my mom made me some on her sewing machine, too. Those were pretty neat. I would try out different styles on different Barbie dolls. I could do that all day. I've noticed that my nieces can, too. The clothes are cool, and it's fun to find those little bitty matching shoes to go with each outfit.
I would try to give my dolls new hairstyles. What little girl doesn’t like to play with Barbie’s hair? It may be easier now that Barbie’s hair has more texture to work with than it did when I was a girl in the 70s. My straight-haired Malibu Barbie had limited options, but I did do what I could come up with. Just brushing the straight hair makes for great hair, of course, but it also did braid fairly well. Pony tails worked, as well as what I called pig tails (the hair divided into two braids).
I never did find a way to curl the straight hair. Once, I cut the hair of a Francie doll I had, up to her shoulders, which I later regretted. But it was a change. Barbies later had more textured hair, that often came with a wave or curl in it. This hair could be curled more with a curling iron or straightened with a straightener. We didn't have many options with the hair back when we had straight-haired "hippie" Barbie.
Okay, I had (still have) the whole sunset gang!
Remember the Barbie Beach Bus?
Well, if you're seeing the Amazon ad I found, I should have kept mine. This mint set is worth nearly $600??? Well, mine wouldn't have been in mint condition, but dang! I wonder if it will sell. It is definitely the set I had.
I would stuff all my Barbie dolls in the bus. At the campsite, I would open up the back, where there was a built in kitchenette. Accessories such as dishes--yellow plates and cups, a frying pan, a coffee pot--came with it, along with a table and umbrella and some beach chairs. There was a barbecue grill, and a removable orange bench that could be taken out of the bus and used.
Cool stuff. Why did I get rid of the Barbie beach bus when I kept the other stuff? It probably fell apart. It got a lot of use!
My Original Barbie Dolls
Barbie Doll Poll
Do you like Barbie?See results without voting
Barbie is Forever!
One of my best Barbie memories is my Mom helping me build a house out of boxes in my closet. We made furniture from things like spool threads and gelatin boxes, with carpet from her stash of material. But that's another story.
I've thought about putting something similar together . . . for my nieces. Yeah, that's it! For my nieces! Maybe we'll do that one day for fun. I don't think it will matter how old we are. We will still get into it. It's Barbie, after all..
As we near Barbie's 55th birthday, I enjoy remembering my childhood in Barbie's world. It has been fun reminiscing. Barbie and I have spent many years together, and, even though Ken may have split up with her--did they ever reconcile?-- I’m not ready to let her go!
© 2014 Vicki L Hodges
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