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Favourite Toys From Your Childhood.
Vintage Sindy Doll
As a child I had very many favourite toys, and being a bit of a Tomboy, my toys were often boy's toys as well as girl's. To take a bit of a trip down memory lane I thought I would write this Hub to see how many of my toys you had too, and what toys you remember as your personal favourites.
Sindy was a doll I was particularly fond of as she had such a cute roundish face compared to other toys around at the time and real eyelashes. I had the blonde Sindy, and loads of clothes to go with her, including the outfit featured in the photo above. Needless to say that as my real name is "Cindy", I got a lot of stick for also having a doll called "Sindy", although it is hard to laugh after the thousandth time you have heard all the jokes about being a "Sindy Doll" etc when you know your name is spelt with a "C".
Barbie was another favourite of mine, and in this instance she had brown hair. She was probably a bit uglier than Sindy in the 1970s, and more womanly looking, although later on they tried to jazz up her images by making her a whole lot more sexy to look at and offering a choice of hair colours.
Tiny Tears, oh how I loved this doll as she could cry and wet her nappy just like a real baby. She would shut her eyes when you lay her down, and she had the most beautiful blue eyes when they were open. I even got my Mum and Dad to buy me a proper rocking cot for her at Christmas and would spend ages tucking her in for the night and rocking her to sleep.
Sweet April was a small, blonde, blue eyed baby doll only about 5 inches tall, but she had all the pretty chubby baby features and loads of accessories you could buy to go with her. I ended up collecting most of these including, the yellow carry case with wardrobe section next to where Sweet April fitted, the rocking horse, the playpen (complete with beads on elastic for her to play with), the high chair, the swing etc. I seem to remember she even had a baby size blackboard and chalk. I took her everywhere with me, even on holidays, and to this day I wish I had kept her as a momento of my childhood.
Carrie was very similar to Sweet April, but not quite as cute. I still managed to get loads of clothes and a carry case for her though.
Pippa was beautiful, and my doll had hair that went right down to the her ankles, (I think that particular doll was called 'Princess Pippa'). I suppose the best way to describe her was as a slender small blonde doll, about 5 inches tall and designed to look about 16 years old with a perfect figure. She too had many pretty clothes that I collected.
Sally Says, a really cute large blonde doll (around 18" tall), that took batteries and small round diiferent coloured plastic records that she could play with various rhymes or phrases on them.
Alice in Wonderland Doll. Similar to the above, and I seem to remember she talked as well.
Bionic Man. This doll was designed to be a replica of Steve Austin the Bionic Man, right down to him having a spy hole in the back of his head where you could look through and experience his "bionic vision", or rather, a slightly magnified image. In addition to this he had a removable panel on his arm where you could see the "circuits" that made him bionic.
Bionic Woman. This doll was similar to the above, but as in the TV series she had a bionic ear, so when you turned her head she made a clicking noise similar to the computer generated noise that was played whenever she utilised her bionic hearing in the series.
Action Girl. I don't remember much about her, but she was not dissimilar to the Bionic Woman doll above, and about the size of a Barbie doll.
Naturally I also had various cuddly toys and non-doll toys too, and some of my favourites I have listed here.
Chatter Chimp was a gangly, fluffy, large brown monkey that took batteries and talked to you. He also came with a pair of hanging money rings that you could attach his hands to and suspend him from the ceiling.
Maxi the Daxi would probably be illegal today, as he consisted of being a foam rubber Daschund that had flexible ears, tail and feet. The problem was that over the years I literally loved this dog to pieces, and eventually both his ears, his tail, and half his nose had fallen off, revealing large sharp wires inside of him that were what made him so flexible. In spite of this, and the fact he was moulting bits of foam rubber wherever I took him, I steadfastly refused to part with him, and if either of my parents tried to smuggle him into the bin, I would always retrieve him and put him back in the relative safety of my bedroom. By the time I finally had to admit defeat he was virtually only a torso, but I still felt bad getting rid of him.
My Huge Teddy Bear, I don't know what he was meant to be called as he had always been my Sister's, but he was lovely, and about 4 foot tall with glass eyes. Over the years his stuffing had begun to escape, but we always stitched him back up again. I can't remember what happened to him in the end.
My Reversible Rag Doll, she was a doll my Sister had made for me as a school project. A clever idea as she had a head at each end of her body so that if one way up she had one dress on, but if you pulled that dress over the visible head and turned her around, it was the same doll's face at the other end but now wearing a new dress. I found this fascinating and would play with her for hours.
Golly. Yes I did have a knitted black Golliwog, now considered very politically incorrect, although this is strange when you consider the Golliwog was originally a toy discovered by a white man visiting black people who were playing with these toys that they had invented. He simply found it a cute idea and brought it back home with him. For years they were perfectly acceptable, including on the "Golden Shred Marmalade Jars", and my Sister still has some of the original badges of Golliwogs she saved the tokens from the jars up for. Even my Grandmother had some of the tiny statues you could also save up tokens for.
Toys to Play With.
I had many toys designed to be played with, and that weren't dolls or cuddly toys. The ones I best remember are as follows.
My Train Set. This was only a clockwork set, but it had proper tracks, carriages etc, and I would play endlessly with it. If I went to my friends house they had a proper electric train set with signals, tunnels, scenery and everything. This was paradise for me, and I just loved being able to control the trains and divert them to different tracks all at the touch of a button or the turn of a dial.
My Dolls House. Not the most expensive quality one in the world, but I loved it. I found all the miniature furniture adorable, and I loved the fact the garage door and the front door opened and closed. This provided me with many hours of great entertainment.
My Hobby Horse. Even as a young child I loved horses and badly wanted a pony of my own. Needless to say this idea was met with a resounding "no", but in the end my Mum did have a local carpenter make me a hobby horse. For those of you who don't know what this is, well, essentially it is a long wooden pole, with two small wheels at the back, and a small wooden horses head at the front (usually with a fluffy mane of some description), complete with reins. The idea is that you run around with the pole between your legs and the wheels on the ground and pretend it is a real horse, simple, but effective.
My Rocking Horse. Well in this case it didn't exactly rock as it was a dappled grey horse's body, set on a supporting frame and attached to the frame by strong springs. The action was much the same as a true rocking horse though, it just squeaked a bit as well. I always craved one of the beautiful rocking horses I saw in the local toy shop though. You know, the ones with the proper rockers and long flowing manes and tails made of real horsehair. They were far too expensive however, so I never did get one.
My Knight Rider Cut Off Challenge. I was a huge fan of Knight Rider, and therefore when I saw the equivalent of a small Scaelectrix type racing car game consisting of a truck and a small version of "Kit" (the car in the series), I simply had to have it as my next Christmas present. The hardest thing I found was getting anyone at home to play it with me, which is probably why I didn't play with it as much as I would have done otherwise. I did however go to friends houses who had proper Scaelectrix sets, and would happily race cars with them endlessly.
My Blackboard. This kept me busy frequently, and I had all different coloured chalks to use on it. If I got bored with the black side, I could turn it round to the white side which was magnetic and had loads of alphabet letters I could write words with. I had this for at least 5 years and played with it all the time.
My Boats, which all ran on batteries and had proper little propellers. I would take them down to the model yacht pond here in Guernsey, set their rudders to do a huge circle, and then watch them happily sailing off into the pond. Sadly they didn't have remote controls, but I always got them back again. I was especially proud of biggest boat, which was about 18" long and metal Hulled.
My Various Kites, which I all too often crashed or lost up trees, but I would always get another one before too long and had many joyful hours of trying to get the kite as high up as possible.
My Laser Gun. Wow, this one was fun and had seven different sounds it could make, and different coloured flashing lights that would come on depending on which sound you had selected. At the time this was a very space age type toy and being a true tomboy I was riveted by it.
My Spud Gun. This too was a fun toy to have as all you needed was the gun and a potato. Simply insert muzzle of gun into potato, snap off, and you are armed and ready to go and shoot bits of spud at the next person passing by. Super fun and cheap to run.
My Cap Gun. Another toy I loved, as when you put the caps in they would go bang when you fired the gun. Very realistic and the caps could be "banged" separately to the gun if you hit them with a sharp stone. The caps came in rolls attached to pink paper, and all you did was tear off as many as you wanted and add them to the gun one at a time.
My Spinning Top/Humming Top was a red top, covered in brightly coloured pictures of a merrygoround. All I had to do was pump the handle on top up and down about ten times, and the top would spin round wildly making a great humming noise and creating a maze of vibrant colours flying round.
My Kaleidoscope. A telescope type device that must have contained mirrors and small pieces of glittery stuff. As you held it up to your eye you twisted the end around and various symmetrical patterns were created apparently magically.
My Etch-a-Sketch. This looked somewhat similar to a small grey TV screen with a red plastic frame and two twistable knobs at the bottom. One knob controlled the vertical line and one the horizontal, and as you moved them pictures could be drawn on the screen. If you turned both knobs simultaneously you could create curved or diagonal lines. Once you had finished your drawing you simply turned the Etch-a-Sketch over, shook it, and you were back to a blank screen again.
Fuzzy Felt. Can you remember these? They consisted of a velvet type covered board with various felt shapes on different topics depending on which one you bought. e.g. I had a dinosaur one that had all different parts of dinosaur shapes and you could stick them to the board to make up your own dinosaurs. When you were done the pieces simply peeled off again to be used at a future date. The 'Fuzzy Felt' boards came in a good range such as flowers etc, and were good fun.
Weebles. You have to remember these, "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down". They also floated. Consisting of various characters with a round base and a weight in the bottom so they would always return to vertical no matter how much you rolled them around. I also had a range of accessories to go with these, including a small brown 'Weeble' Horse that they could ride on and a Weeble playground with a slide, a roundabout etc.
Play Doh. This was great stuff and came in a variety of colours such as pink, yellow and blue. It consisted of a vegetable based dough that could be moulded into all sorts of shapes, and if you liked the end result you could dry it in normal air and keep it, if not you simply replaced it into the container and it stayed supple until the next time you wanted to play with it. I believe you can still buy this stuff today.
Sly Muck. Interesting stuff for the ghoulish this. Essentially a sloppy green goo in a tub that made horrible squelching noises when you played with it. Looked a bit like a large amount of snot, and ideal for fans of the "Fungus the Bogeyman" books. All in all revolting stuff, but had a great fascination for kids as they love all that kind of yukky stuff.
Mud. This was a strange substance that you could throw against walls and it would go 'SPLAT' and flatten out. You then simply removed it, rolled it back up into a ball and repeated the exercise, good fun though!
Plasticine. Hours of entertainment could be had from this stuff, and it is well known for being used to create the characters, "Morph" and "Wallace and Grommit". I had loads of the stuff, and never tired of it.
Daz. This was a type of clay for modelling, but the best thing was that if you made something you wanted to keep, it didn't need to be fired in a kiln, as it would simply harden if left out to dry. It looked exactly like normal clay, and my sister and I used to buy loads of it.
Lego. Of course, the one everyone had (well virtually)! We had a big metal tub of Lego, and I used to build with it endlessly. I never made anything fancy, mainly houses and towers, but this was good entertainment and not at all boring.
Spirograph. This toy consisted of various different sized, serrated edged, plastic circles with a hole in. The idea was to stick a mathematical compass in the hole, line up various coloured ballpoint pens on the inside edge of the shapes, and rotate them around on a piece of paper whilst holding the shape steady using the compass. The result was amazingly impressive, geometrical, multicoloured patterns that looked like a computer had made them in today's world.
Space Hoppers. Those great big bouncy balls with a pair of horns on for you to hold on to as you bounced around on top of them.
Humming Tubes, (can't remember the proper name for these). Essentially consisted of a long serrated plastic tube that looked a bit like a narrow elephant's trunk. You twirled it around your head, and it howled. Depending on how fast or slow you twirled it effected the tone of the sound it made.
Slinkies, those metal spring shaped things that "walked" down the stairs if you tipped them over from the top stair.
Spy Master, (at least that is what I think it was called), consisted of a face with a bald head, a magnetic wand, and a load of iron filings in the screen that covered the face. Using the "wand", you dragged the iron filings over the face to create eyebrows, beards etc.
Wonderplast. Essentially looked like a big lump of Blue Tack, but the beauty of this stuff was that 1) If you rolled it into a ball it bounced, and 2) You could press it against your lips and blow bubbles that popped through it.
Stylophones. First promoted by Rolf Harris from what I remember. Looked a bit like a Xylophone but divided up into lots of small boxes and had a type of metal tipped "pen" attached to it. When you touched the various boxes using the pen a different sound would come out, allowing you to play a tune.
Remote Control Dogs. The ones with the lead attached that had a remote at the end of it containing batteries. One switch made the dog run forward, and the other switch made it bark. Very sweet, but very basic.
Girl's World. The disembodied heads that came with make up and hair rollers etc so you could make them look pretty. Mine had hair you could make longer by pulling it out from the crown.
Glitter Craft. A picture that had peel off tabs which left a sticky surface behind. A bit like painting by numbers, you peeled off all the tabs for one colour, then poured the appropriate coloured glitter over the picture and shook it off. The same exercise was repeated for each colour until the picture was complete.
Segmented Snakes. Usually made of wood, although sometimes of plastic, and designed so if you held them horizontally they would glide from left to right and back again, much like a real snake.
Viewmaster. Looked a little bit like a red pair of binoculars, but you inserted a cardboard disc into the top of them. This disc was surrounded by tiny slides, which for example may show a number of scenes from the first Star Trek Movie. Each time you push down a lever on the right had side of the Viewmaster, the disc would move round one image. You kept going until you got back to the beginning.
The Movie Viewer. This was much like an old film projector, but hand held. It took a range of cassettes that featured sections of films such as Snow White or Bambi. Once the cassette was inserted you wound the handle around on the right hand side whilst looking through the viewfinder. The film would appear to be playing in front of your eyes. The best bit was you could wind it backwards too, so all the cartoon figures moved in reverse.
Magic Milk Bottles. These bottles were designed for dolls, and appeared to be magic, as the correct way up they seemed to be full of milk, but once inverted and aimed into the dolls mouth, they miraculously emptied, only to refill again once upright.
Fisher Price Record Player. This came with about five records that consisted of broad plastic discs with loads of raised grooves all over them. The record player itself had a yellow arm, and as the record turned around the grooves would cause it to pluck out a tune inside the machine much like a music box, e.g. "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?"
Rubik's Cube. Who can forget these frustrating gadgets that became a worldwide craze. I had several different ones of these, and still never cracked competing more than two sides, that is, until I bought a book with the solution, and spent a whole night working it out.
And so for now my friends this is the extent of my memories, although I may well add to this if more come to me.
Did you own any of these toys, or have you owned others that I have missed? I would dearly love to know as there is nothing quite as nostalgic as a trip down memory lane.