Toys can take you back to a special place in time – your childhood. They’re very powerful in that regard. Parents can revisit their youth or build new memories and bonds with their own children over special toys.
People gathered online to discuss some of the best toys from their youth – in the 1980s and shared how these toys must be brought back for kids of today to enjoy.
Are 80s Toys Better Than Today’s Toys?
There was something special about toys made in the 1980s. But what was it? That’s the question people gathered in an online forum to discuss.
They Were Designed Better
One person shared that even though today’s toys look slicker, and acknowledged that everything looks better and bigger to a kid, there was something special about the way toys were made, packaged and played with that makes them better than today’s toys.
They wrote, “The toys then were truly on another level – you look at Transformers and GI Joe for example – the vast array of toys in these lines were incredible, and they were such well designed toys in regards to the cool factor.”
It’s hard to argue against the Transformers and GI Joe. These classics are still being made into movies today.
Another reason toys from the 80s just seem cooler is that there wasn’t as stringent of a vetting process as there is for today’s toys.
One commenter says, “Today’s toys go through multiple rounds of vetting, focus groups, media analysis, etc. More bureaucratic as well.”
With that, let’s get into eight toys from the 80s that people think need to be brought back now.
George Hansburg introduced the two-handle pogo stick to the world in 1957. It faded in and out of popularity but found new life in the 1980s as a Pogo Ball.
The stick went away, while the foot pads were replaced with a circular pad that orbited the bouncy ball-like rings around Saturn. There was arguably less control but more fun.
A glow worm was like a warm hug to send you off to sleep right. Sprung upon the world in 1982, Glow Worms were a bedtime toy for kids. Covered in soft pajamas, the toy would light up from within when squeezed.
One person says, “Cabbage Patch doll, Care Bear, Glow Worms, Pound Puppies…I had these things. I think I enjoyed the Glow Worms the most, though.”
These emitted a comforting glow, helping an entire generation of kids put the thought of nuclear fallout from the cold war with Russia out of their minds for a while so they could sleep.
Cabbage Patch Kids
It’s hard to describe the pandemonium caused by Cabbage Patch Kids in the 1980s. If you were a child alive in the 80s, you wanted one (or ten) of these.
Garbage Pail Kids
There can be no true discussion of Cabbage Patch Kids without Garbage Pail Kids.
Made as a mockery of the sweet and wholesome Cabbage Patch Kids, Garbage Pail Kids trading cards from Topps were a hilarious parody and a welcome outlet for those wanting something a little more edgy.
These Japanese monkey dolls were brought to America by Mattel in 1980. An animated TV series from Hanna-Barbera followed in 1983.
While these kitschy dolls gained more popularity around the world, especially in Germany, they still wormed their way into the hearts of plenty of American kids in the 80s.
As one commenter shared, “how could they leave out the monchichis??”
Don’t worry. We didn’t.
Care Bear stare! A greeting card was the inspiration for these wildly popular stuffed animals that overtook America in the 1980s. How could kids resist Love-A-Lot Bear, Secret Bear, or Funshine Bear?
In 1983, the bears jumped from paper to plush and headlined their own TV series for several years. There were even three films made about them.
Anything Star Wars
When George Lucas’ Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in 1977, it literally coined the word Blockbuster.
By the time Empire Strikes Back emerged in 1980 and Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, there were endless toys to help transfer the wonder from the big screen to kids’ living rooms.
Anyone who grew up in the 1980s has at least several Star Wars figurines and ships.
Do you still have your Millennium Falcon?
These toys could transform from a normal, unassuming car into a world-crushing robot. As such, they were incredibly popular toys.
As one commenter put it, “An 80s list without transformers is no list at all.”
Truer words have not been spoken. It also explains why the modern movie franchise based on this popular 80s toy has done so well at the box office.
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I’m Nicole Schmoll – a master’s-educated professional writer, mompreneur, and co-founder of Frugal Rules.
As a freelance copywriter in Omaha, I still believe that writing is an artistic expression. Every time I strike the keys, I intend to evoke a response from my listeners. I left my full-time career as a senior copywriter for an insurance agency to start my own freelance writing business.
I love watching and writing about TV (and how to stream it!)