A stroll down toy memory lane…

A few weeks ago, my family took a 2 hour car trip to our nearest capital city. Four kids, aged between 4 and 10 cooped up in a car for 2 hours.

It wasn’t pretty.

car trip

(this is not my kid, although I have been tempted at times)

However, it was aided significantly by the numerous electronic  ‘toys’ my kids had to play with.  Two Ipod touches, one DS and my eldest son’s Surface from school meant that, for part of the trip, there was very little fighting, screaming or ‘are we there yet’s.

My hubby and I marvelled at how times had changed – we played ‘I-spy’ or sang songs on longish car trips when we were kids. We counted every blue car that drove past, the first to get to ten blue cars was the winner. We watched raindrops race down the car window, betting on which one would get to the bottom first.

rain drop

As far as entertainment went, we were pretty self reliant. We had to be.

So, today, I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane to the toys Generation X kids grew up with – specifically those  born between the late 60’s and early 70’s (Only because toward the end of the 70’s/ early 80’s toys had  evolved to a different level of complexity, and I hate Cabbage Patch kids with a passion and refuse to discuss them!)

My slinky walked down stairs like a fully loaded spring, until I got all experimental one day and stretched the utter bejesus out of it. After that his spring became more of a limp.


Trouble – a new, cooler way to roll dice.


I travelled to lands far and wide with my View Master glued to my face.

view master

Mr Potato Head prior to the addition of a plastic potato.


Pick Up Sticks and Barrel ‘O Monkeys – really, how easy were we to entertain? Can you imagine today’s kids with these?

pick up stix barrel o monkeys'

Yeah, baby! Etch-a-Sketch.  Go, you straight line drawing techno marvel!

etcha a sketch

The Pinball Machine – one tilt and it was game over. The ultimate tool in anger management therapy.

vintage pinball

My personal favourite – Ballerina Barbie from 1976. She had one leg permanently stuck on a rotating platform and could achieve any ballet movement, as long as it was an Arabesque or Pirouette. Which of you girls out there remember what happened if you twisted her plastic gold crown?

ballerina barbie

My husband’s favourite toy was, of course, his Six Million Dollar Man action figure. This was back in the days before toys had sound effects. Do you remember the hole in the back of his head?

6mdm eye 6mdm 1

Just look at that range of movement!

6 mdm'

In 1977 a new generation of toys began to roll out – the Atari 2600.


Believe it or not, Pong revolutionised video games. I don’t imagine my kids would be overly impressed by the prehistoric graphics, but it often tested your skill when that little ball flew around the screen like crazy!


Seeing as my current work in progress, Foresight, is set in the 1980’s, I will be doing a series of blogs to celebrate that era- fashion, furniture, TV shows, music and movies, celebrities, scandals and fads. It was a time of big hair, bright colours and way too much lycra/spandex. If you would like to share your memories of that time, please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear about them.



7 thoughts on “A stroll down toy memory lane…

  1. Lily Malone says:

    I used to spend hours and hours playing with figurines that made up a ‘farm’… I’d spread it out on the loungeroom floor and make paddocks and stables and barns and move around toy horses and chickens and… you get the picture. As for outside toys – apparently I used to spend most weekends in winter in the drain outside our house, catching tadpoles and putting them into frog farms… until my mum took pity on the taddy-frogs and used to return them all to the drain. (And tell me they hopped out).

  2. Iris B says:

    Oh my, Sarah. This post made me feel old, but smile at the same time. So many of the above I went like “Yeah, I remember”. As for car trips we did the colour thing as well and due to different rego plates we were able to count cars from different cities, too. My girls loved to do that when we went to Germany four years ago.
    Other toys I remember we played with were playmobil, the still popular monopoly, we had a Carrera racing track and boy’o’boy the little Monchhichi Plush monkey. Was he popular here as well?

  3. Rhyll Biest says:

    Hmmm, Ballerina Barbie looks suspiciously strung out. Ballet drugs?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s