Last week I gave you my Top 5 Science Fiction Movies. This week I thought I would take a departure from the movie world and take a trip back into my childhood and give you a list of my favourite toys when I was a child.
I still see some of these on the go nowadays and now having 2 children of my own, I wish to try to get them involved with playing with some of the toys that have endured over the years.
Number 5. Lets go back to an age when cartoon ruled the world and the best of them all was He-Man. Which came first, the cartoon or the toy? The toy. There were so many to collect and they were quite expensive at the time, but they would be on every child’s birthday and Christmas list. Many a day would be spent at school having fights with the my classmates’ toy figures aswell. If we were feeling particularly generous, we’d let the girls join in with their dolls also. Sadly, the phase passed and the next must-have toy came out in the early 90s – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I still remember fondly the He-Man figures. I’d also like to point out here that She-Ra was RUBBISH! 😉 I also enjoyed the He-Man cartoon and its one of my favourites, perhaps that will be a future Top 5…
Right, how about Number 4…Every boy, or girl (let me try not to be sexist here) should own at least 10 Matchbox Cars. It was a weekly ritual being taken to the local newsagent and looking at the whirly rack of new Matchbox cars. They were all numbered and there were always those who would buy them and keep them in the boxes. WHY?! cars are meant to be played with and I played with mine all the time. In fact, at my Mum & Dad’s house, they still have two baskets full of cars and trucks from when I was little. Every time I would take my son Xander over for a visit, that was his first stop and I think its lovely that this tradition has carried on in my family and hopefully my youngest son Joshua will get into cars aswell. In more recent years, Hotwheels has started to become the more recognised maker of small toy cars and I think in some cases they are better quality. Either way, playing with cars will always engage a child’s imagination and I hope that continues.
My Number 3 choice is a toy that is still available today, but I don’t think that they are good now. Transformers came out alongside an accompanying animated series in the mid 80s and it was a hugely successful franchise. Using an actual cartoon was a fantastic marketing tool and like He-Man, made the kids of the time just want them all the more. I remember getting two transformers for one Christmas, namely Starscream and Optimus Prime. Possibly one the best presents I ever got as a kid, and I think Starscream even survives to this day, albeit not in one piece. Of course many hundreds of toys are now available, but at the time, if you got any of the main big characters, you were doing well and it was a genius idea for a toy because you had two toys in one. The movies haven’t lived up to my memories as a kid, but its something that has endured for children.
The next best toy I remember as a child and the toy that comes in at Number 2 is Meccano. Hours of fun were had here building models of varying sizes and designs. What made Meccano so good was that it made me feel a bit grown up because I had to use tools! Spanners, nuts and bolts and pieces of metal all came together to make you feel like a proper engineer, which of course was the point, but for a reasonable price, you could get a good set and make whatever you wanted. As it became more popular, more advanced sets were released, some with motors and I remember making a helicopter of a pretty decent size and make the motor turn the rotors. It was a great toy and is still available today. It’ll be in Xander’s Christmas stocking when he is old enough for sure. =)
So that brings me to my Number 1 favourite toy of all time. It could only be Lego of course. This genius toy from Denmark is quite simply the best thing that has been made for children in the history of toy making. The fact that different sized bricks can be clicked together to make whatever you like is great and my huge box of Lego as a kid certainly kept me occupied for hours on end. It can also be used interactively with other toys. Get some cars, make a Lego garage, play for hours. Then make something else. I also enjoyed the Technic Lego when it was released and it was complicated at passed the time brilliantly for a slightly older kid. Now of course you can get other brands, but they are all compatible with each other with gives lots of scope for huge models. Xander got his first “big boy” Lego for this Christmas and he loves it. A truly great toy that will last forever aswell, it doesn’t get damaged or fade. The only things that might happen to it is get stood on (OW!) or be sucked up by the vaccuum…sigh 😉 The toy has become so famous and popular that there is a theme park, and now even a movie!
What is your Top 5? comment below and see if you had a similar childhood to mine. I look forward to reading your choices.