Do you get a strong sense of nostalgia when you think back to all of those awesome toys you enjoyed when you were a child? And then do you feel a stabbing sensation in your gut when you realize how much screen time your kids are getting (between the television, video games, iPhone and iPad) that you never had? Well, it might be time to introduce the little ones to some of your favorite toys from when you were their age. The good news is that a lot of them are still available, and they are better than ever.
In the event that your kids look at you like you have two heads when you present them with these options, the good news is that you can play with them instead!
10. Easy-Bake Oven
Ahhh. Remember the sweet smell of the undercooked brownie that you made under that scalding hot light? The edges were crispy, the center was mildly gooey, and the light bulb was hot enough to send you to the hospital in the event it came in contact with your skin. But you were able to bake on your own, and now your kid can too. The version from today is probably less likely to give your kid second-degree burns.
9. Care Bears
You can clearly remember holding your hands on your hips and giving the Care Bear stare, right? Now you can share that brilliant move with your mini-yous. It might be revelatory to learn which Care Bear your child most identifies with: is it Harmony Bear or Grumpy Bear? And which one were you?
8. Lincoln Logs
These really do stand the test of time. There are a billion other building block options out there today, including magnetized ones. But Lincoln Logs are just as fun as anything else you can get. How else would your kid build a lodge or a cabin? Really…
7. Mr. Potato Head
We just bought our sons a couple of these for their stocking stuffers, and they were a hit! Putting the potato’s eyes where his mouth should be and his nose where his hat should be really never gets old. And it’s especially silly when you’re three and don’t even realize that this particular gem began as a real potato. Bonus: did you know that Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to be advertised on television?
6. Cabbage Patch Kids
Can’t you just smell them coming out of the package? It’s a distinct scent that can whisk you back to being 6 years old and holding your brand new baby (with a birth certificate to boot.) Even though there are far more sophisticated (and more expensive) dolls on the market, these kids will be loved by your children just as you once loved them. And their yarn hair will remain difficult to style, even today.
5. Magna Doodle
While today’s Magna Doodles have evolved, with various colors of “ink” and fun little animal-shaped stamps, it’s still an addictive way to spend your time. Your kids can practice their writing and drawing without generating piles of used construction paper, and when they’re in bed you can play and immediately erase the evidence.
4. See ‘n Say
This toy today has far more options than the ones from when we were little, but it still results in lots of laughter from little kids. The version in our home has one side for barn animals and another for animals in the wild. It plays a song and even has a quiz feature.
No matter how many times you crank one of these, it never gets old. Hearing that song while you turn the handle inevitably builds tension within you until Jack joyfully (and kind of creepily) pops out. Your 5-year-old will think it’s fabulous and your one-year-old will probably start screaming from the fright.
When was the last time you really tried to play a game of Jacks in earnest? How many can you pick up during the ball bounce? This would be a great game to challenge your kids to. You could have a battle of the generations and see who ends up winning— experience or the quickness youth?
Blowing on the tops of their heads and watching their wacky hair is a memory that everyone should have. If you really want to have your kids experience what you did, see if you can convince them to attach their Trolls to the zippers of their backpacks. They’ll either be hits at school, or they’ll return home with the Trolls buried deep in their bags…