- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Boys Toys from the 70s and 80s
Boys Toys from my childhood in the 70s and 80s that I have also bought for my children
I'm sure we all have fond memories of a favourite childhood toy, or a toy we wished we had that Santa just never left under the tree.
Now, having two boys of my own, I've not been able to resist buying some of the toys that left an impression on me, for them too.
Here are some of my favourite boys toys from the 70s and 80s that are still available today.
My Favourite Boys Toys
In no particular order - yet
#1 Action Man
#2 Rubik's Cube
#3 Big trax
#5 Etch a Sketch
#6 Top trumps: Cars and Tanks to Spongebob Squarepants and even Plop Trumps!
And the runners up:
100-in-1 Electronics set
Model railway or Scaletrix (Deferred gratification or instant fun?)
Matchbox cars (Hotwheels)
G.I.Joe / Action Man / H.M Armed Forces figures
Action Man figures were one of the earliest toys I remember playing with and must have been well made, as an old tank and canoe survive to this day. So, it felt natural that my boys should have their own action man figures too,
Introduced in the UK in 1966 Action Man was a copy of the US G.I. Joe figure.
The Action man figures went through several changes (mine had flock hair, gripping fingers and a cheek scar) until finally being discontinued in 1984.
From 1996 to 2006 a more futuristic Action Man was available, with his own 'part mutant' nemesis.
However in 2009 the MOD (UK Ministry of Defence) launched a more realistic, back-to-basics, military style Action Man range, sold as HM Armed forces figures.
I was at school when the Rubik's cube craze took hold in the early 1980s.
Some of the smarter kids could even do it with their hands behind their backs.
Still available today and, at least in my house, still unsolved.
Widely believed to be the best selling toy of all time, over 350 million Rubik's cube have been sold worldwide.
The Great Rubiks Cube Poll - or how much time did you have on your hands ?
Did you have a Rubiks Cube and could you solve it?
How to Solve the Rubiks cube
Free printable step by step guide to solve the Rubiks Cube with pictures.
Here are some of the easiest to follow instructions on how to solve the Rubiks Cube.
The instructions are free, printable and the moves are illustrated with easy to understand diagrams rather than a letter based notation.
The picture link takes you to the Rubiks Cube solution page curtsey of scaredcat.demon :
OK, I confess I never had this when I was a child don't even remember any of my friends having it either.
But I do remember the adverts and desperately wanting one , so I was over the moon to see that it had been re-released some 20 years later, and at the original price !
Couldn't wait to play with 'my sons' new toy.
Bigtrak has a keypad on the back and you can program it with up to 16 steps.
I used to play with a type of plastic Meccano that had big chunky pieces, for little hands, but never graduated on to the 'real' stuff, which was metal, with lots of easy-to-lose nuts and bolts.
However, my eldest has just got a set of proper Mecanno, and jumped straight in to building the hardest model in the kit.
I think it looks pretty good.
Picture of a Maccano Crane (by My1eye) built by Tom age 10.
The Etch-a-sketch has been around for longer than you may think and was originally launched in 1960.
After some 'blocky' pictures, I remember trying to draw half decent circles - not so easy, as the two dial controls only move the pointer horizontally and vertically.
However, some very talented people have created some amazing artwork using this little toy.
The Image here was created by artist George Vlosich III , and the picture link takes you to his site.
An Etch-a-sketch character was also featured in the Toy Story movies and this was excuse enough to see if my kids were any more artistic than me.
Etch a Sketch
I had quite a collection of Top Trump decks from when they were originally launched in the late 1970s, all nice sensible subjects like cars or tanks and boats.
Each card had a large picture of one of the items and a list of statistics about it.
To play you would turn one card over, select one of the statistics e.g. for cars, you could chose maximum speed, engine size or type, etc and compare that to your opponents card.
The winner of that round would then take both cards, until one player had won the whole deck.
It wasn't always clear which card would win in some of the categories, for example; a 4 cylinder engine was beaten by a 6 cylinder or a V12, but did a 'rotary' engine really beat everything ?
The Top Trump decks of the last decade, that my children now play with, cover a much wider range of subjects, including animals, sports, film and television characters (Including Buffy the Vampire Slayer - brought for me, not the kids) as well as vehicles.
Top Trumps have even spawned imitators and Plop Trumps has to be one of the worst (or one of the best if you are a 10 year old boy). Inevitably, my kids think is is great fun comparing the smelliness, size, hardness, and so on, of a variety of animal 'waste products' all helpfully given a numerical value and identification picture.
Top Trumps - Plop Trumps
Really this is just too gross - kids love it!