by Maria Schulz
Yes, it’s that time of year again, folks: time to go out there and find the best toys around. Toys that will educate, prepare our children for a future in the science and math fields, and make them perfect little corporate drones.
My parents never focused on getting me a gift that would ensure an acceptance letter to the premier college of my choice. They chose things that sparked creativity, helped you learn about the world around you, and maybe even showed you what you were destined to be someday. That, of course, was clearly an accident. But still.
Here are my favorite Christmas toys that are still DA BOMB after all these years. Ready? Let’s go…
- The Slinky: the fun and wonderful toy! Get it to walk down the stairs, wear it like a single earring, or use it as a temporary ladder for your Barbie doll or action figure. Use your imagination, kids! The applications are endless.
- Etch a Sketch: I dare you to make the Mona Lisa on this! Go on. See what kind of mad skills you possess when you aren’t using an iPad. I was thrilled when I could write my name in script on an Etch a Sketch. We all have different talents.
- Magic 8 Ball: Oh Magic 8 Ball, will I get an A on my next math test? Try later. Here’s a toy that requires an imagination and a sense of humor! The laughs keep coming with this silly little ball that can tell you the future. Just keep shaking it if you don’t like the answers.
- Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots: Go ahead, knock his block off! This toy had the dual function of letting you work out your aggressions at the same time as you were laughing like crazy. I call the red one!
- Simon: come on…can you remember the sequence? Press the button and show off your eidetic memory. Or, press the buttons and show off your early memory loss. Either way, it’s a fun game that challenges you to think, respond, compete, and repeat.
- Silly Putty: mold, stretch, bounce, put it on comics and pick up the picture. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have with a tiny bit of money and loads of imagination. It’s in the Toy Hall of Fame for a reason!
- Spirograph: get ready to design your heart out. This set of gears and wheels help you create distinctive designs that you can use to create all sorts of pictures. Color them in and create your own coloring book while you’re at it.
- Lite Brite: go ahead, make things with Lite Brite! I can’t draw, but I could always push pegs into a board that lit up, so I could design amazing scenes. This is perfect for hours of entertaining fun.
- Fisher Price Chatter Phone: what little kid won’t still enjoy playing on this phone? It looks retro (they won’t care about that, but you will), it can be dragged around because it has wheels, and they can make believe they’re having a very important conversation with anyone they please. It’s a great imagination-starter that will still thrill your little ones.
- Barrel of Monkeys: how many monkeys can you link arm in arm? This was one of our favorite games when I was little. You’d start hanging them off the sides of our big orange counter top (it was the 60s, after all) and then keep going until they all fell off. Then you’d start over. Or you’d use the monkeys to play with some of your other animal toys. Perfect for the bath (they float and dry easily). When you’re done, just throw them all back in the barrel (or risk losing your monkeys).
- Mr. Potato Head: Or for those of you so inclined, Mrs. Potato Head. Mr. Potato Head, I love you! You can change Mr. Potato Head to fit any mood or character. Does he have a mustache? Big eyes? Is he smiling? Maybe, maybe not. You decide.
- Bozo Punching Bag: this was supposed to be for me, but I can still remember my brothers punching the living daylights out of Bozo. You get a pretty good workout and you laugh a lot. I think I could use one even now to blow off some steam.
- Chrissy Doll: she didn’t talk, walk, or crawl, but she was only limited by what you imagined she could do. She came in a groovy orange lace dress. You could brush her hair, give her a back-story, and spend hours with her.
- (and #15 too) Traditional Barbie Doll/ Traditional GI Joes: Full-size, please (but not life size. Duh). You could create whole families with these toys. Everyone had a story and an agenda. It was like reality TV, except much more realistic and compelling. Think the Kardashians with people you actually cared about and liked.
Here are some fun cookie ideas to make your holidays bright. Don’t have time to bake from scratch? Use the slice and bake kind from your grocer’s freezer. I won’t tell.
So…what’s the best toy gift you ever received? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!