Toys from our childhood that we wish our kids could play with.

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The other day I was trying to explain to my kids what original video games were like. I was standing in the kitchen during the morning hustle and bustle reminiscing while I packed their lunch boxes for school.

The original gaming console, I was telling them, was unlike anything else. Did you have an Atari 2600?

With Pac Man, Combat’s 8-bit graphics, of the bip-bip-bipping of Space Invaders or Solar Fox and my favourite Pitfall with its crocodile infested traps.

Spot the difference. Images: Namco / Microsoft Studio.

My kids exchanged glances as I cut fruit and placed their yoghurt and sandwiches in their lunch boxes. I am sure at least one of them thought, “Mum's really lost it today.”

As I glanced at the numerous screens around our home, filled with high-tech graphics, cinema quality video and an App for every occasion, I longed for the simplicity of what-used-to-be. It made me wonder what other toys make you nostalgic, make you wish your kids could have the same experiences that delighted us as children?

Troll Dolls

A walk down the memory lane of the toy shelves of our childhood isn’t complete without mentioning the 80’s Troll Doll. My Troll Dolls lined my bookshelf grinning at me with their slightly maniacal gaze, their neon hair lighting up the room. The eclectic blue Troll, the eye-blindingly pink one, something about them makes you think they might just have been the innocent forefathers of the Bratz phenomenon of our children.

"My Troll Dolls lined my bookshelf grinning at me with their slightly maniacal gaze, their neon hair lighting up the room." (Image: Justin Taylor via Flickr)

Talking Alf

Sunday night wasn’t complete without the whole family sitting down to watch Alf. Remember that concept? The whole family actually sitting down together and watching the one screen? The popularity of the show led to a whole range of Alf paraphernalia and the ultimate was the Talking Alf doll. There was no need for fancy downloads or cell batteries, you just pulled a string on his back and you were blessed with gems like, “Be there or Be Square.”



I have tried to explain to my own kids the dedication required to parent a Tamogochi. I have tried to explain the persistence needed to monitor the hunger meter, the happy meter, the discipline meter. I have tried to explain the heartache when the egg you raised and cared for dies, tragically.  But they just raise their eyebrows and turn back to Minecraft. I’d love my own kids to have their own vintage Tamagochi – imagine it a toy with only three buttons! Bliss.

"I’d love my own kids to have their own vintage Tamagochi – imagine it a toy with only three buttons! Bliss."(Image: Pascal Maramis via Flickr)


Care Bears

Oh, the world of the Care Bears. The kindness and joy, the friendships and love.

Is there anything these days that can replicate it? Each colourful bear had his or her own tummy patch signifying just what their role in the land of Care-a-Lot was. There was Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Wish Bear. I know they exist in some form still today but with the plethora of toys on the market they just don’t have the same impact do they?


These days you can get the online version, but it's hard to beat those long rainy school holiday days spent setting up those teeny-tiny pieces and trying to outwit your big brother.

"The good old days." (Image: Joe King via Flickr)

An original Cabbage Patch Doll

I coveted one for more than year before that Christmas morning I found her staring at me from under the tree. My first was named Rebecca May. She had curly golden hair and the sweet smell that only a Cabbage Patch doll can give off.

Everytime I think of her I am filled with the envy I felt when I went to Annabel Parker’s house up the road and baby Rebecca May and I were confronted with her seven Cabbage Patch kids – including one that was even a BOY. I know you can get them today but are they really the same?

The Barbie cassette player

It was bright pink with a nifty little handle and a built in microphone. Compared to the kid’s karaoke machines available these days with iTunes hook-ups and wifi abilities it was actually easy to use. Now if only I could get my hands on some Bananarama tapes…


The high-tech versions our kids play with these days aren’t a stitch on those 80s and 90s versions.

Teddy Ruxpin

Each night he would read you stories (well a cassette would be inserted and he would drone through them for you). He was like your own little protector, your own little friend.


The original iPad. My big brother had one and I would sneak into his room when he wasn’t looking and turn on the greenish-screen frantically trying to work out how to make it do its thing.

Which childhood toys are you nostalgic for?