When it came to trends, products and cool gadgets, we can all agree that the 90’s was an era of greatness. We had light up sneakers, Super Soakers, Mortal Kombat, Playstation, Pokemon, and the list goes on. This is why most of us are nostalgic for this era. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and assume that everything awesome stemmed from the 90’s. Behind all the hype from the popular products of the 90’s, there were some underrated ones that originated from older generations. They were as old school as you can get, but still elicited feelings of happiness, and detracted our attention away from chores and grade 4 pythagorean theory homework. Here’s a list of some of the most underrated childhood toys that stemmed from the “olden days."
1. The Slinky
The Slinky is one of the rare toys that was less about the toy itself and more about the aftermath/visual spectacle it created. The slinky had an assortment of tricks, including the infamous “traveling down a flight of steps”, as well as the gravity-defying levitation trick. Turns out, this fascinating toy stemmed from the 1940’s and was invented by Richard James, originally out of steel wire. As decades past, the slinky got revamped in style to fit in accordance with the bright pastel and rainbow coloured shades that we’ve grown to love and associate with our childhood . At the mere cost of a dollar, you couldn’t go wrong with the slinky.
2. Walkie Talkie
This fisher price toy originated from the 1940‘s and was used during the Second World War. In the 80’s, the first official “walkie talkie” by Fisher Price became popularized for contemporary use. Once the 90’s hit, the walkie talkie was still considered a favourite spy toy to play with . The hand held device allowed you to inhabit the role of a russian spy and embark on an adventurous journey in enemy territory (aka park across the street.) For those not into role playing, walkie talkies provided the perfect way to exchange nonsensical conversations with your fellow five year olds.
3. Fisher Price Recorder
Another underrated toy from the renowned Fisher Price brand. All this time I thought it was invented in the 90’s, turns out this was an 80’s gem. It was released in 1980 and considered to be the first tape recorder catered towards kids. For anyone who had something to say, this was their moment to shine. It gave you the opportunity to record your thoughts on tape,your favourite ace of base tunes, and you could have starred as both a guest and host to your own improvised talk show. All this to say : This was where the magic happened.
4. Lite Brite
Similar to the slinky, this toy was a visual spectacle of its own kind. It was one of the more artistic toys that stemmed from the older generation. Invented in 1967, lite brite was a lightbox that came with small plastic coloured pegs that allowed you to create cool glowing designs and pictures. It provided an outlet for creativity and hours of fun. Not to mention, it had one of the cutest and happy go-lucky commercials of the time, as you can see below. Who can forget the catchy slogan of children singing “turn on the magic of shining lights”. Ahh,too much cuteness to handle.
5. Etch a Sketch
Similar to Lite Brite, this toy stemmed from the 60’s and sparked your inner creativity. Created by French inventor Andre Cassagnes, Etch-a-Sketch allowed you to create lineographic images through the movement of two white knobs. Fun part of it? If you didn’t like what you drew, simply “shake it up” to erase it all. To this day it’s still highly regarded and considered to be one of the most artistic toys of the last century. So much so, that in 1998 it was inducted in the “National Toy Hall of Fame”. Fancy stuff.
6.Paper Fortune Teller
Remember this? It was everyone’s favourite pastime and game to play during lunch time or recess at school. Despite how it’s not deemed as a “toy”, the Paper Fortune Teller is on the list because of hours of entertainment it brought to us 90’s kids.Created in the 50’s, the 'Cootie Catcher' was still popular during the 60’s and 70’s as well , I’m sure your parents have been stricken with nostalgia at the idea of you having played a paper game that they did as kids.
Twister was a game you either loved or hated. Whether it be getting an ass in your face or a foot in your eye, Twister takes a lot of patience and physical skill. The game “that ties you up in knots,” originally called "Pretzel," was invented in 1966 and caused a lot of controversy among its competitors who referred to the game as being “sex in a box." Fun fact: Johnny Carson was responsible for catalyzing the popularity of the game when he introduced and played Twister live on his May 3 episode of The Tonight Show in 1966 with actress Eva Gabor.
Got a favourite toy older than your mom that didn't make the list? Let us know your favourite old school toy in the comments below.