Do you remember the 80s, the era of neon colors, big hair, and iconic music? For those who grew up during this decade, it was a time like no other. But beyond the fashion and music, the 80s were also the golden age of kids’ toys.
It was a time when toy companies weren’t content with just creating products for children to play with. They wanted to create worlds that kids could immerse themselves in, with action figures, dolls, puzzles, and board games that sparked creativity and imagination.
The best part about 80s toys is that they weren’t just a way to pass the time; they were a way of life. Kids didn’t just play with their toys – they collected them, traded them, and talked about them endlessly with their friends. Toys weren’t just objects; they were characters in a story, inspiration for artwork, and even topics for school projects.
So, let’s take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of the best 80s toys that captured our hearts and imaginations.
Transformers were a line of toys that transformed from vehicles into robots. They were created by Hasbro and quickly became popular among kids in the 80s. Each Transformer had its own unique personality and backstory, making them feel like real characters.
The franchise has since expanded into comic books, TV shows, movies, and video games. Collectors today value original Transformers toys, especially those still in their original packaging.
Nintendo Entertainment System (1983)
The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a gaming console produced by Nintendo. It was first released in Japan in 1983 and then worldwide in 1985.
The NES was home to classic games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, and Donkey Kong. Today, fans of the console can play NES ROMs, which are digital copies of NES games that can be played on a computer or smartphone.
My Little Pony (1981)
My Little Pony was a line of toys created by Hasbro in the 80s. The toys featured colorful ponies with unique personalities and symbols on their flanks. This toy quickly became popular among young girls and eventually expanded into TV shows, movies, and merchandise.
In the 2010s, the franchise experienced a resurgence in popularity with the release of the animated TV show, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
Pound Puppies (1984)
Pound Puppies were stuffed dogs that needed to be adopted by a loving family. The toys were created by Tonka in the 80s and were sold with adoption certificates and accessories like collars and leashes. Pound Puppies quickly became popular among children and even inspired an animated TV show and a movie.
Teddy Ruxpin (1985)
This was a talking teddy bear that could read stories to children. The toy was created by Worlds of Wonder and quickly became one of the most sought-after toys of the decade.
Teddy Ruxpin’s eyes and mouth moved as he told stories, making him feel more lifelike. The toy has since been re-released with new technology, including Bluetooth connectivity and interactive features.
Jem and the Holograms Dolls (1986)
Jem and the Holograms were a line of fashion dolls based on the animated TV show of the same name. The dolls had bright, colorful hair and unique outfits, making them stand out from other dolls on the market.
Jem and the Holograms quickly became popular among young girls and even inspired a live-action movie in 2015.
Cabbage Patch Kids (1982)
Cabbage Patch Kids were dolls that came with adoption certificates, making each one unique. The dolls were created by Xavier Roberts and were sold exclusively at BabyLand General Hospital in Georgia.
Cabbage Patch Kids quickly became one of the most popular toys of the decade and even inspired a TV show called Cabbage Patch Kids – The Club House. In 2023, Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids was released, exploring the toy’s darker side.
Rubik’s Cube (1980)
The Rubik’s Cube was a puzzle game that challenged players to solve it by rearranging the colors on each side. The cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Erno Rubik in 1974 but became popular worldwide in the 80s.
The Rubik’s Cube remains a beloved toy today, with competitions and new variations being released regularly.
Pogo ball (1985)
The Pogo Ball, also known as the Lolo Ball, was a popular toy in the 80s. It featured a figure-8 rubber ball locked inside a plastic platform. Kids would stand on the platform, press their feet against the ball, and then bounce, bounce, bounce!
This skill and action toy provided hours of fun and excitement as children tried to master its bouncing technique. With its vibrant colors and simple yet entertaining concept, the Pogo Ball became a beloved icon of playtime.
Atari 2600 (1977)
The Atari 2600, also known as the Atari VCS (Video Computer System), is a legendary home video game console that was developed and produced by Atari, Inc. It was released in September 1977 and played a significant role in popularizing microprocessor-based gaming hardware.
The console featured iconic games such as Adventure, Combat, Haunted House, and many more. Even to this day, the Atari 2600 holds a special place in gaming history and is considered a classic gaming system that brought the arcade experience into people’s living rooms.
Game boy (1989)
The Game Boy is an iconic handheld gaming console that revolutionized portable gaming. With its monochrome screen and compact size, the Game Boy allowed gamers to play their favorite games on the go.
Titles like Tetris, Super Mario Land, and Pokémon captured the hearts of players worldwide. Its long battery life and durable build made it a staple for road trips and commutes. The Game Boy’s influence can still be felt today, as handheld gaming continues to thrive with modern iterations like the Nintendo Switch.
Trivial Pursuit (1981)
Trivial Pursuit is a popular board game that tests players’ knowledge across various categories. The game features a circular board divided into different colored wedges, each representing a different category of questions. Players move around the board by correctly answering questions to collect wedges, and the goal is to fill up their game piece with all six wedges to win.
Trivial Pursuit has since spawned numerous editions and variations, covering topics ranging from general knowledge to specific themes like pop culture, sports, and geography. It remains a favorite among trivia enthusiasts and continues to entertain players of all ages.
Glo Worm (1982)
This was an iconic toy that captured the hearts of children worldwide. This cuddly plush toy was designed to resemble a cute worm with a friendly face and a soft, huggable body. What made Glo Worm truly special was its ability to emit a gentle glow when squeezed. The soft light provided comfort and reassurance, making it the perfect companion for bedtime.
Its popularity even led to the creation of animated TV specials and storybooks featuring the lovable Glo Worm character.
The 80s were an unforgettable era for toys that still elicit nostalgia and goosebumps in many of us today. These playthings went beyond mere objects, becoming cherished parts of our lives. Even now, they hold a special place in our hearts, reminding us of the joy and wonder of our childhoods.