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Weebles, Sea Wees, Spirograph & other hot toys from the 70s & 80s

When I was looking through the Target catalog at the top 20 toys this season, I thought of the hot toys back when I was a kid. I tried explaining some of these to my own children, but they had a hard time understanding the concept of some of my old toys.

“Weebles? But what do they DO? They just wobble?”

“Yes!” I said excitedly. “But they don’t fall down!”

sound of crickets

I had fun walking down memory lane and recalling some of my favorite toys like the Easy Bake Oven, Dolly Pops, Etch a sketch, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Spirograph, Weebles, and My Little Pony.  Then there was Mr. Potato Head, the purple-outfitted Donny and Marie dolls, Care Bears, this perfume making kit, My Family Tree House, and Operation. And who could forget Clackers, Hippity Hop, Simon, Toss Across, Inchworm, Merlin, Lemon Twist, and Sit and Spin? And of course, every kid in America had a Big Wheel and knew how to “make ice cream” with it.

And here are a few other faves from the 70s and 80s . . .

nggallery template=’carousel’ id=’80′

  • Fashion Plates 1 of 16
    Fashion Plates
    I loved this toy! I made the most stunning outfits ever! (Actually, they probably looked like the ensembles my 6-year-old throws together. But still, it was FUN!)
    Photo credit: Weheartthis.com
  • Colorforms 2 of 16
    Colorforms
    I had Holly Hobbie colorforms. I had a lot of Holly Hobbie stuff, in fact. I'm not sure why.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notthe1s/6379925919/
  • Little People 3 of 16
    Little People
    Who didn't have Little People, or their cars, or the farm, or the school, or garage, or merry-go-round that played little plastic records?
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmatos/1428667908/
  • Glow Worm 4 of 16
    Glow Worm
    I never had one of these, but I wanted one. I guess maybe it's a good thing since the original ones were later discovered to contain phthalates anyway.
    Purchase from Target for $16.99
  • Atari 5 of 16
    Atari
    My parents still have our Atari system and games. My kids love playing "video games from the olden days" when we visit. My sister gave names to all the Space Invaders back in the day and I bet she still remembers them. However, I bet I could still kick her butt at Asteroids.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moparx/3997531327/
  • Perfection 6 of 16
    Perfection
    "Get rockin' before the pieces start poppin'!" Perfection - because there's nothing like a timer that ticks like a bomb to stress you out while playing a game.
    Purchase from Target for $24.97
  • Pound Puppies 7 of 16
    Pound Puppies
    I love the commercial for these. It doesn't show kids with the dogs; it shows a grandma, a girl going to college, a business man, and a dating couple playing with them. Wha??? http://youtu.be/25cuJkNR5CM
    Photo credit: barkzilla.com
  • Punching Bag 8 of 16
    Punching Bag
    Yep, in my day, kids were encouraged to punch. These were so cool because you could hit them down and then they'd pop right back up so you could hit them again.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/midwestkimchee/2431416598/in/photostream/
  • Rainbow Brite 9 of 16
    Rainbow Brite
    Much like Strawberry Shortcake and friends, most girls in the 70s had a Rainbow Bright doll.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokentrinkets/3937259036/
  • Rubik’s Cube 10 of 16
    Rubik's Cube
    This is one of the most iconic toys of the 80s. It seems like everyone had one of these. And talk about longevity! My students have been coming to class with these over the past month. They seem to be growing in popularity again. I never did figure out how to solve all 6 sides (without popping it apart or peeling off the stickers, that is.)
    Purchase from Target for $16.19
  • Sea Wees 11 of 16
    Sea Wees
    I loved these dolls! They came with green sponge lily pads and little baby mermaids and pets!
    Photo credit: http://pinterest.com/rachelrieckhoff/70s-80s-childhood-memories/
  • Shrinky Dinks 12 of 16
    Shrinky Dinks
    I remember making holiday shrinky dinks with my sister and I can still remember the smell of the paint we used. It was the coolest thing ever to watch them shrivel up and shrink in the oven!
    Purchase from Target for $9.44
  • Stretch Armstrong 13 of 16
    Stretch Armstrong
    This guy was filled with some sort of ooze. You could pull his arms and legs and stretch them across the room, then let them morph back into shape. He was nearly indestructible (unless you had crazy boys for neighbors who stabbed him just to see what the goo looked like.) I didn't have a Stretch Armstrong doll, but my sister and I DID have a blue stretch octopus!
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/therubyring/3135769373/
  • Viewmaster 14 of 16
    Viewmaster
    My Viewmaster still resides at my parents' house. You know what everyone remembers about the Viewmaster, right? Pulling down the lever and letting it snap back until your mom yelled at you to "play with it the right way or you'll break it!"
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/4590745796/
  • rock-em-sock-em-robots 15 of 16
    rock-em-sock-em-robots
    It's sort of like thumb wrestling. You repeatedly press a button until the robots knock each other out. Alas, I never had this toy.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariels_photos/4196585858/
  • Cabbage Patch Doll 16 of 16
    Cabbage Patch Doll
    My sister and I both had one of these dolls. I bet my sister still remembers the name of hers. In fact, I'm pretty sure it still resides at my parents' house in the box of archaic toys from a bygone era. I just remember the doll had a belly button (not sure why since it was hatched in a cabbage patch) and some guy's signature on its butt.
    Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skylerbug/328158467/

So what were your favorite toys from “back in the day”? And what are your kids asking for this year?

Want a set of toys of your own? Enter by December 8th, 2012 for your chance to win TWO big giveaways:

Do you know a deserving family, school, or charity this holiday season? We’re giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target, including those mentioned in this post! To nominate, simply comment and tell us why you’ve selected them! 

A big thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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