Blame it on social media and the technologically-dependent world we’re living in, but it’s a sad truth that this generation of youth won’t likely come to appreciate the classic toys of yesteryear. While every generation will likely have a toy fad, the Tickle Me Elmo or Tamagotchi that has kids pleading with parents to buy, these 7 classic toys have survived decades of play well beyond a passing trend. Let’s revisit them and maybe, just maybe introduce them to a child who needs a little less technology and a little more good old fashioned play time.
The original Etch a Sketch found its way to American children in 1960. With one knob controlling the vertical movement and one knob controlling the horizontal movement, children were able to create lined art on what was hailed as a “magic screen.” And with a quick shake, the aluminum powdered art beneath the screen vanished away. If you're looking to draw up some creativity when it comes to classic toys for your children, you can still find reproductions of the Etch a Sketch design in retail stores.
If you want to teach today’s children a little something about simple machines, just give them a yo yo. You don’t get much more classic than this simple axle design, two disks and wound string. The yo yo has an interesting history, believed to have begun in Ancient Greece and was reinvented several times throughout the 1920s and 1960s. The design may be simple, but the tricks of the yo yo can get pretty complex. There are even international competitions. It’s a toy that can earn a child a whole new skill set involving practice and hand-eye coordination.
Who would think coiled steel could cause such a stir in the toy industry? Making its debut in the 1940s, Slinky delighted children by magically walking down the stairs. But for those science geeks out there, Slinky actually employed precise formulas to ensure the gravitational properties to achieve that walking effect. Easily one of the smartest toys available, Slinky has become something of a relic of playtimes past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use one to teach your children scientific principles in a fun way.
There’s a reason you see boxers and other athletes in training using a jump rope. It’s excellent for cardiovascular exercise and an active pastime of school yards of the past. Sadly the jump rope during the recess period seems to have fallen by the wayside. But either solo or in groups of three or more, jumping rope is an age old activity that should be brought back to the youth of today. With regards to the concern over childhood obesity, there’s no better time to make jump rope a regular part of playtime.
In the 1960s a generation of child construction workers was born. Lego blocks, the plastic interlocking pieces of various sizes, allowed creative young minds to construct houses, skyscrapers, robots and whatever else came into mind. Fortunately for the children of the 2000s, the Lego company is still in existence. One of the few classic toys that has evolved with time, Lego is now responsible for intricate play sets, theme parks, video games and much more. But hopefully parents will still rely on the tried and true creativity of the original Lego blocks, which allows children free reign on whatever creations they can dream of making. Just be careful not to step on them while barefoot. Stepping on a Lego block without shoes is a pain you won’t soon forget.
Originally designed by Fisher-Price in 1962, the Chatter Telephone was a pull toy for toddlers that was meant to introduce them to using a phone. While the Chatter Telephone has enjoyed a recent resurgence thanks to the popularity of the movie Toy Story 3, the adorable vintage design has lost its meaning. The rotary dial that produces the ringing bell sound is obsolete on modern phones and even the very concept of a landline telephone seems to be quickly fading away. But if you’re feeling nostalgic and want your children to have a cute classic toy, reproductions of the Chatter Telephone are available.
Maybe I was just a creative child who loved colors, but few things sparked as much excitement as opening a fresh box of Crayola crayons. For many years of my childhood, every Christmas morning produced the big box of Crayola crayons, a few coloring books and a stack of drawing paper. Maybe children have grown to associate crayons with back-to-school shopping and the excitement has slightly diminished. But, who knows? Maybe with a visit to The Crayola Factory in Pennsylvania, children can be inspired to get back to the page with a fresh crayon in hand.
It’s a documented medical fact that children need time to play for their mental and social development. But for many children, playtime has been replaced with video games, cell phones and social media. Children younger and younger are losing touch with active and creative playtime that their young minds and bodies need to grow. Maybe in revisiting these classic toys of the past, we can stop our generation’s youth from focusing too much on the technology of today. What classic toys do you remember from your childhood?
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