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Building connections with toys

By Bryan Goodland

Christmas is coming fast upon us. If you haven’t finished or even started shopping, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get to it – especially if there are kids on your list.

What should you buy the kids in your life? Keeping up with the latest trends in toys and games is almost impossible. If you want to make Christmas special, focus on the memories and giving something that is unique and personal.

Instead of jumping online and searching for the top 20 toys, why not give something you loved as a child? Fun doesn’t come with an expiration date, so give them something from your own memories.

For some ideas, look at toys that were popular when you were young. Here are some toys, for both boys and girls from the 1960s and 1970s.

Barbie was already a perennial favorite for girls, and then in 1961 the Ken doll was introduced. Resplendent in surf attire, Ken was an almost instantaneous success and continues to sell to this day.

On almost every Christmas list was the Duncan Butterfly Yo-Yo. Duncan has been in business for more than 85 years and has several varieties of yo-yos and accessories. A portable toy, this is an easy find that almost every kid has wanted at one time or another.

In 1963, Kenner burst onto the toy scene with the Easy-Bake Oven, giving children everywhere the power to bake tiny cakes with just the power of a light bulb. The toy sold 500,000 units in its first year and has gone on to sell millions. In recent years, the oven is now manufactured by Hasbro, who bought out Kenner.

Moving ahead a couple of years, the 1965 season brought us Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. This simple game of two robots battling it out in a ring has remained popular. The version today is currently made by Mattel and is available in stores and online.

In 1966, people started to get a little closer, with the introduction of the game Twister. Sold by Milton Bradley, the original game was somewhat controversial. However, it has remained a game closet staple for more than 50 years.

Before the decade ended, in 1969 Hot Wheels were introduced to the world.

The 1960s offered a variety of toy choices for the buying public. The next decade ushered in Nerf toys, the game Dungeons and Dragons and “Star Wars” action figures.

Whatever toys you choose, any of these would make a fine and nostalgic gift. They have all stood the test of time and continue to sell successfully even in today’s competitive electronic-centric market. The best part is that you can introduce a whole new generation to a classic toy they might not have otherwise received. Plus, you will be creating Christmas memories you both can share for years to come.



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