Iconic toys have the power to send us right back to our childhood, and they remind us of hours upon hours of fun, lost in our imaginations and our creativity. But what are those toys that are so iconic that they can be recognized by one and all, whether they were played with or not? Here is deep dive into the toys everyone knows and most love.
Best Open Ended Play Toy
Lego is one of those brands of toys that exceeds its own product. Any plastic brick used for building is called Lego, whether it is or not, much like the hoover. Lego has also moved well beyond the toy itself with theme parks and films and the odd computer game.
The joy came from building the worlds you held in your imagination for anybody who played with Lego. Building them block by block and populating them with little people, you could spend days on a creation.
Best Board Game
The game taught us capitalism and gave power to the banker’s player. Whole wet afternoons can be taken up with an epic game of Monopoly, as round and round the board you go, constructing houses and hotels and claiming your rent.
Most games were up once someone claimed Mayfair and Park Lane, but people would play on regardless. And for some of us, it was our only chance to win money in a beauty contest.
Best Toy Figure for Boys
The dolls of our childhood were a must-have and became collectibles. Getting the latest frogman Action Man or the Cadillac for Barbie was a significant competition with friends. These dolls were how we played out our imaginings of what adult life was like, dressing and redressing them for their next adventure.
Best Toy Figure for Girls
Barbie has now become a toy that has marked a change in how we view women. From the 80s to now, she has been revolutionized. Now young girls are given an image of a professionally successful woman rather than known for her beauty and body shape, such as the power of toys.
Best Logic Toy
How many hours have we all spent trying to get that last corner the right color? The three-by-three-by-three cube was a menace to those with low patience and a source of pride for those with a strategic mind. In the 1980s, there was no home around the UK and beyond without a Rubik’s Cube – and one family member who had it mastered and lorded over the rest of the tribe.
Best Sports Game
Setting up the Subbuteo table was a ritual. Laying out the green baize table and removing the 22 figures from the box. Setting up your players in your chosen formation was taken as seriously as any premiership match, and from the first flick, competition is high. Such was the power of Subbuteo; there were leagues set up for those more than mortals who had evolved a technique for winning every time. The world of Subbuteo is still strong, especially with those who love collecting. World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon has more than 500 Subbuteo teams in his collection.
Best Nostalgic Game
When computer games first arrived, they were a marvel. Even Pong, the most basic tennis game, had people in its thrall. Kids today would be horrified by the basic gameplay and graphics that excited kids on an Atari, but even now, Space Invaders can make your heart race as those dancing triangles get close to the bottom of the screen!
Best Trivia Game
The cheeses! It is all about the cheeses with trivial pursuit. Answer questions to get around the board on all the different topics – and then make it to the central circle. For such a simple concept, the impact on the world of tabletop games was insane! The competition levels during a game of Trivial Pursuit in most people’s houses was brutal – and the spin-off extension packs for questions made the game maker a bob or two, too.
Best Water Toy
Finally, we end with the epic Super Soaker. We had water pistols that dribbled out a small jet of water for a time. The water landed about a meter, at best from you, and more likely soaked your foot than your friend. Then, some genius invented the pump-action, rifle-like Super Soaker, and the water wars truly began.
The toy was well named. No longer did you get a little spray on your sleeve, now you were doused in water from head to toe. There is no better way to spend a hot summer afternoon in your garden. For non-water-based shooters check out the best nerf guns for toddlers.
Cecilia Yeung is a successful entrepreneur and product researcher. She has a background in psychology and children’s education. As a working mother of two, she loves to write about children’s education and development.