Nostalgic Toys and Retro Favorites for a New Generation (You’re Welcome, New Generation)
Give the gift of a toy you loved!
Tanner Greenring and Matt Harvey · 25 days ago
Every generation thinks that their toys were the best toys. Turns out: Every generation is right. (Except the toys of the ’80s and ’90s really WERE the best toys ever made, thankyouverymuch no further questions.)
For serious: We all grew up with toys that hold a special place in our core memories — the play things that brought life to the back seat of a road trip, helped us find the hero inside, or made a sibling rivalry into an epic competition of wits.
Bring your small friends into the world of “when I was your age” with our epic guide to nostalgic and classic gifts from the wayback machine!
Little Tikes Rocking Horse
The Little Tikes Rocking Horse has all of the back and forth action of the classic you rode into adventure, but with a more sleek, modern design. These things are heirloom toys of the highest degree. Always weirdly charged with static electricity (seriously, do not touch the cat after riding this thing), but hours of fun.
Caring is what counts. It was true back in the ’80s, and it’s still true today. The Care Bears have been reimagined and updated for modern kids so they’re a little less cutesy and precious, but they’re all still pretty open about their feelings. They probably had something to do with our entire generation being so open about mental health, so here’s hoping they have the same impact on the next generation. I always identified as a Grumpy Bear, liked the color of Good Luck Bear, and grew into a Tenderheart Bear!
Oregon Trail Handheld Game
Your favorite educational video game from the Commodore 64 era has returned! Manage your supplies, hunt for food, and avoid succumbing to dysentery — just like you remember! This pioneering video game is an absolute classic in the edutainment genre. The Oregon Trail handheld game has chunky old school keys for extra retro flavor and all of the adventuring you enjoyed as an 8th grader!
It’s the best day of gym class EVERY DAY with these magical sliding seats! Make sure to hold on tight. Play some of these incredible scooter games — and remember, no matter how intense it gets, it’s only a game.
Pogo Bal is an icon of the 80’s back to challenge the balance of all who dare to partake in its radical hopping fun. You’ll be saying “I’m just showing you how it works” in no time!
Elevate your doodle game with the original Spirograph! Create intricate patterns and designs worthy of a refrigerator showcase with a toy that has delighted kids for generations.
The Original Lincoln Logs
The Original Lincoln Logs are a beloved classic building toy that has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Build a cabin, build a fort, build a Potemkin village — the new frontier of the living room awaits your settlement!
Simon is the super addictive memory game that will test your memory and your reflexes! Simon will play a pattern of lights and sounds — you will reproduce this pattern or you will LOSE! Can you beat Simon?
Pretty Pretty Princess
Compete to collect a complete set of jewelry and be crowned the prettiest of Princesses! This is a turn taking game of chance, where you play around the board collecting jewelry in your chosen color by landing on corresponding spaces. There’s a black ring involved, and if you get the black ring, you technically lose — but black rings are cool and I’d consider that a win.
If there’s a more satisfying sound bite to signal a victory than “you’ve sunk my battleship,” I’ve yet to discover it. With Electronic Battleship V2, it’s classic Battleship plus lights and sounds, plus V2-ness! Happy grid blasting!
Girl Talk is basically a mash-up of Truth or Dare and Wheel of Fortune — you spin the wheel to determine if you have to answer a question or perform a daring action. Are you prepared to “tell a funny story from your childhood,” “arm wrestle another player in the circle,” or “reveal the name of your secret crush”? Each answered question or task earns you points towards coveted “fortune cards” that will give you sight beyond sight. This classic game from the 80s still has all the charm and fun of the original — and you also don't have to identify as a girl to enjoy it.
Speak & Spell
Speak & Spell is one the raddest educational toys ever! With multiple game modes to help younger students learn to spell and sound out words while playing, the Speak & Spell was an early touchstone of the learn and play market. You’ll know that familiar synthesized voice as soon as you hear it. This toy is so iconic, it’s even been used as sounds in hit songs. If you’re looking for a toy that talks back — this is the one.
Mini Arcade Tetris
Give the gift of one of the most popular video games of all time with the Basic Fun Mini Arcade Games: Tetris! This is the classic stacking puzzle game that you know and love in a tiny arcade cabinet!
Etch A Sketch Pocket Drawing Toy
This is a super small version of the toy that made you an expert at drawing staircases with twisty knobs. Draw, shake, and repeat with Etch A Sketch Pocket Drawing Toy!
Gymnic Hop 55 Red
The Gymnic Hop 55 Red is the toy you remember blissfully bouncing around the house on, but you didn’t know what it was called. Now’s your chance to solve the mystery and give the gift of happy hopping!
You’ll likely spend more time setting this game up than you will playing it, but that won’t take away any of the fun you’ll have with both. Experience all of the Rube Goldberg machine madness you remember from when you were a kid and share the joy with your small friend. It’ll make you smile more than saying what mice love to eat.
In an alternate timeline, Uncle Jeff B. never created the world-dominating smiley faced box company, and malls still reign supreme as the go-to place for retail therapy. Spend the colorful cash or swipe one of the supplied cardboard debt builders to outshop your opponents. Be the first to buy all of the items on your list and you win! Did someone say clearance sale at M.T Wallet’s Department Store?
Such a simple concept, and so capable of absorbing us for hours on end when we were kids. Lite Brite came with templates you could follow to light up some classic designs, but you could also go off-book and make your own creations, which more often than not just ended up doing double duty as a nightlight for most of us.
Fisher Price Farmer Says See 'N Say
Fisher-Price Toys / Basic Fun
For a lot of us, the See ’N Say was our first foray into the world of DJing. You were meant to pull the lever to hear a somewhat fuzzy recording of whatever animal the arrow happened to be pointing at, but most manipulated the arm to scratch and warp the audio track and make some pretty sick remixes. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire a whole new generation of Soundcloud rappers?
Every kid in the ’80s and ’90s dreamed of being slimed on "You Can't Do That on Television." Nobody knew what the stuff was or why it was so appealing, but it was core to the network’s identity back then. Slime (and its cousins, Gak and Floam) were packaged up for home use in the ’90s, but fell off the radar for a while (probably because parents got sick of it constantly getting embedded in rugs). But now it’s triumphantly returned once again! Rugs be warned!
Fisher Price Chatter Phone
For some reason, every kid in America seemed to have one of these things in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. It’s gone through a few redesigns since then and lost a bit of its creepy charm, but Fisher Price has brought back the classic design again (even though phones like this are essentially nonexistent at this point). Its shifty little eyeballs are ALWAYS watching.
90’s Bingo: A Throwback To The Raddest Decade Ever
Bust out your Sally Jessy Raphael glasses and get ready to party like it’s 1995! As you’d expect from the title — this is totally, like a game of BINGO but like, also infused with the absolute radness of the 90’s!
Bob Ross Monopoly
In the world of competitive art dealing, one truth stands above the rest — there are no mistakes; only happy accidents! Get squirrelly selling, buying, and trading famous paintings from the catalog of Bob Ross! It’s the Monopoly you love, but with 100% more picturesque serenity and joy.
Bowie Bingo: Icon. Rock God. Alien. Bingo!
It doesn’t take solving a Labyrinth to figure out that Bowie Bingo is exactly what it sounds like — it’s BINGO plus Bowie! ‘Nuff said.
Barbie Extra Doll In Long Fringe Denim Jacket
Barbie never left; she’s the ultimate influencer in or outside of PSL season — there’s even a movie in production! Introduce your favorite small person to the picture-perfect life of an unmatchable icon with this modern version of the quintessential fashion doll.
The Golden Girls Puzzle
Thank you for being a friend — is what you’ll say to me after you build this brilliant puzzle featuring your favorite cheesecake-loving ladies. This is a golden gift that you’ll totally have a hard time giving away.
Golden Girls Clue
A brilliant combination of two old-school classics: Golden Girls plus Clue. A game of Clue traditionally involves solving a crime of the highest order and this Golden Girls Clue is no different — you must solve WHO ate the cheesecake, WHAT evidence the dastardly fiend left behind, and in WHICH room the crime was perpetrated!
Don’t let the diminutive design fool you — Mini Zoltar packs all of the fortune-telling might of a full-size Zoltar even though it’s not as large. Zoltar was featured in a movie — what was it called? Large? Grande? The Opposite of Mini? Eh, no huge deal; a great gift regardless!
Pac Man Monopoly
Get your wooka wooka on whilst also playing Monopoly with this super fun variation on the classic game of own it all. You get to play a mini game of Pac-Man on a tiny arcade cabinet every time you pass Go!
Goosebumps 25th Anniversary Retro Book Set
I read almost all of this series as a kid and I can recall to this day how it felt to run my fingers across the raised print on the cover. It’s almost enough to give me....a trip down memory lane. (Thought I was gonna say goosebumps, didntcha?)
Cowabunga, dude! This little TMNT pinball game is totally awesome and everyone you know will love the tubular good time of playing it! Pinball plus TMNT is a WIN!
Tiger Electronics Handheld Video Games
We didn’t have the Nintendo Switch back in 1992 — we had Tiger Electronics. These things were cutting edge back then, featuring tiny little LCD screens that technically had every single game sprite and level baked right into the display. If you had a paperclip handy, all you needed to do was push in the reset button and get a preview of the entire game. And Tiger Electronics handheld video games are the stuff of road trip legend! Every 90’s kid had a bus ride to camp made better by one of these magical pieces of technology.
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