Top Toys From The Last 100 Years

toys from 1980

The biggest change in toys over the last 100 years has to be that there are just so many more than there ever used to be!

So many more choices, and children now receive more toys that they did 50, or 100 years ago.

When my parents were young in the 1950’s and 1960’s they recall having 1 or 2 toys each, and it was the same for many other children of those times.  

There wasn’t a lot of money, families were larger and advertising wasn’t as prolific as it is today.

Today families feel a lot of pressure to keep up with everyone else, children are bombarded with advertising and can often expect the latest toys to be under the tree on Christmas morning.

However do you think that children are happier today than they were 50 or so years ago because they have more toys today?

Do you think they learn more because they have more toys than they used to?

100 years of toys

I don’t know about you, but I believe the less toys children have, the more they have to use their imaginations (as long as TV isn’t used as a boredom filler).  I also believe that the less a toy does, the more the child has to use their imagination. So parents shouldn’t feel pressured into over spending and spoiling children, they are going to be just fine.  

Do you agree?



Here are some of the top toys from over the last 100 years to today


During the 1920’s toys were mostly made from wood, metal or fabric, there wasn’t as much plastic around as there is today.  Children enjoyed a small gift from the local store, such as a metal car, book or a soft toy like Raggedy Ann here.

top toy 1920


The View Master has changed over time, but was first introduced in the late 1930’s.  Children could pop in a slide and flick a switch to view each image. 


Bored games were popular during the 1940s, as this metal spinning top and kits to play doctors and nurses. 

top toy 1940


Toys of the 1950’s involved kids being active, with roller skates, yo-yos, hula hoops and bikes.


Play Doh was beginning to become more popular in the 1960s after being released in the 1930s.  Children enjoyed toys like the easy bake oven, and the famous slinky.

top toy 1960

The spirograph was popular through the 1970s, along with metal cars such as the hot wheel range.  Children still spent a lot of their childhood outdoors, camping, climbing trees and swimming in the local rivers.


top toy 1970


The 1980s; saw . areal toy boom, with advertising now in every single home across 2 -3 channels of television.  Cabbage patch dolls were very popular, as was play dough, Mr potato head and babies.

top toy 1980


Along with ninja turtles we also saw the boom of technology through homes, with Sega Master systems, nintendo consoles and hand held game boys.

top toy 1990


Lego was popular through the few decades but was in almost every home by the 2000’s.  There wasn’t many children who didn’t have at least a few pieces of lego scattered across their bedroom floor. We also saw the boom of Disney movies and memorabilia, along with the Pixar movies memorabilia, Toy story, and cars. 

top toy 2000s


And finally towards 2017 we see video games in almost every home around the country, although these kind of games are enjoyable for kids, they can take up time that would otherwise be spent adventuring outdoors, being creative and learning about the world around them. It comes down to balance, setting times for games like this, and times to just go and be a kid. 

top toy 2017


We love hearing your thoughts – please share your favourite toy from when you were little below.

Have a look at our BEST TOYS FOR KIDS LIST 2017 here at The Learning Hub.

goal setting for kids

Grab Our Free Goal Setting Worksheet For The Kids!

Sign up to our monthly fun packed newsletter and I will send you a FREE Goal setting worksheet for the kids.

PLUS get MORE awesome learning resources, giveaways, fun activity ideas and so much more sent right to your inbox.  

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This