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Batteries Not Required! 11 Toys from My Childhood That Stand the Test of Time

Yesterday, Anders and I spent over an hour together on the floor putting together a jigsaw puzzle. It was one of those 50 piece puzzles for 5-year-olds and up. The kind with enormous pieces for small hands that, once completed, covers a good portion of your living room floor.

He found the puzzle on a shelf in his closet while looking for costumes. It was a birthday present forgotten amid all the whizzing, whirring, remote-controlled goodies he received that day. He brought it downstairs and while shaking the box next to his ear asked, “What is this thing, mom?”

“It’s a puzzle. It comes in pieces and you have to figure out how to fit them together to make a picture. Do you want to try it?”

He nodded and we spent the rest of the evening before bedtime on our little project. I couldn’t help but reminisce as we worked about all the time I spent putting together puzzles at my grandma’s kitchen table as a child. It got me thinking about my favorite toys from all those years ago and how the best weren’t battery-powered things with lots of moving parts, but were instead simple  and required imagination.

Here are a few of my favorite toys from childhood, all of which stand the test of time and are still being sold in stores today:

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  • Wagon 1 of 11
    Wagon
    Is there any toy more multi-faceted than a red Radio Flyer wagon? It's a baby doll carriage, an action figure transport unit, a place to collect all the treasures found on an afternoon stroll through the neighborhood, and when you're tired it's a place to sit and be pulled home. Every kid needs a wagon.
    Photo credit: Flickr
  • Matchbox Cars 2 of 11
    Matchbox Cars
    Who needs blinking lights, remote controls, and pre-recorded sound bites of an engine roaring? Orchestrating a high speed chase in miniature is the most fun when performed with your own two hands. Plus, creating the sound of the squeal of tires on pavement or the screech of metal as two cars collide is as important to play as the toys themselves.
    Photo credit: Amazon
  • Cabbage Patch Dolls 3 of 11
    Cabbage Patch Dolls
    Years later, I still remember the smell of a brand new Cabbage Patch Doll, a scent that hadn't changed when I opened the one I recently purchased for my daughter. These babies are a classic. They come with their own name and birth certificate and the fact that they don't require batteries means your child can put their imagination to use.
    Photo credit: Amazon
  • Etch-A-Sketch 4 of 11
    Etch-A-Sketch
    There's a reason the Etch-A-Sketch is still being sold in stores today. The fun of drawing pictures, mastering the turn of the dials, is timeless. It takes a simple pastime and adds a challenging twist. Not to mention, starting again is as easy as giving the toy a shake.
    Photo credit: Amazon
  • Board Games 5 of 11
    Board Games
    Video games and tablets are over-rated. Candyland, Checkers, Battleship, and Connect Four -- these games are still just as much fun, as their high-tech replacements and offer way more interaction with a playmate than letting someone watch while you slingshot angry birds.
    Photo credit: Flickr
  • Mad Libs 6 of 11
    Mad Libs
    On rainy days I still feel the ache in my ribs from injuries sustained while laughing hysterically while creating and then reading aloud Mad Libs with my friends. It's a simple game that caters to the immaturity of youth while secretly teaching children the difference between an adjective and a verb.
    Photo credit: Amazon
  • Skateboard 7 of 11
    Skateboard
    Down that giant neighborhood hill or just your driveway -- skateboards are still, hands down, the most adventurous way to feel the wind whip through your hair as a grade-schooler.
    Photo credit: Stock X.Chng
  • Slinky 8 of 11
    Slinky
    Who could forget the simple joy of the slinky? All you needed was a flight of stairs and an afternoon. I still remember the first time I got mine to travel non-stop from the top to the bottom. If you had a friend with a slinky, even better! The race was on.
    Photo credit: Amazon
  • Yo-Yo 9 of 11
    Yo-Yo
    I credit the yo-yo ahead of my children for the development of my patience. All those hours spent learning just the right amount of pull to exact on the string to ensure it kept coming back to my hand and the time it took to untangle the string when things went wrong? Let's face it. Yo-yos make you a better person or at least improve your skills in untying knots.
    Photo credit: Stock X.Chng
  • Hula Hoop 10 of 11
    Hula Hoop
    This toy pays off in two ways. The first is physical activity and exercise. It takes a whole lot of motion to keep that hoop circling. The second is improved rhythm later in life when you're slow dancing and suddenly the song switches without warning to a fast dance and you can't make it off the floor quickly enough. Those swiveling hips don't lie! You can spot the members of the crowd who spent some quality time with a hula hoop as a child.
    Photo credit: Flickr
  • My Little Pony 11 of 11
    My Little Pony
    What can I say? I still love brushing the manes of a herd of colorful ponies and I think most little kids do, too. Perhaps that's why My Little Ponies are still being widely sold in toy stores across America.
    Photo credit: Flickr

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