These Were the Toys That Shaped Our Childhoods


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A recent study of adults ranging from 22 to 37 discusses the toys millennials grew up with, and we are totally taking a trip down memory lane. While times have changed over the last generation, it’s reassuring to see that most of the top toys from the ’80s and ’90s are still alive and kicking today.

Despite having more toys than any previous generation, about 35 percent of parents polled in the study believe their children spend less time playing with toys than they did at the same age––a shame!

Curious as to what the most popular toys for millennials are? Keep reading to find out!

lil’_wiz via Flickr


Barbie made her debut in March of 1959 and has been a mainstay for toy dolls ever since. Mattel has sold over a billion dolls since her birth and continues to reinvent herself with inclusive sizes, ethnicities and more. You don’t have to look far to find a Barbie, and we tend to love the styles from the ’90s best because they speak to our inner millennial. The stylish doll with thousands of shoes, clothes and professions inspired a generation—and continues to do so today.


Fisher Price Phone

The Fisher Price Chatter Phone is a staple in toddler toys. Made for youngsters 12 to 36 months old, this toy first hit store shelves in 1962. The pull-along toy started out with a rotary dial but in 2000 it was changed to push buttons––because hello 21st century. Kids loved having their own phone and having long-distance phone convos on their own time and it paved the way for a generation of smart phone lovers.

Joel Telling via Flickr

Beanie Babies

Remember the Beanie Babies fad in the late ’90s? It made such a fuss that it’s still widely regarded as one of the world’s first internet sensations! The plush collectibles were the only “toys” that kids were somehow okay not playing with. We learned the hard way that cutting off that heart-shaped tag had devastating consequences.


Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters

Whether you lived in North America, Australia or Europe growing up, you probably played with a Sylvanian Families doll. The flocked mini-woodland creatures hold jobs, have hobbies and come usually in sets of four family members. In the early 1990s, the toy’s distribution company lost it’s rights in Canada and the United States, so they were reintroduced as Calico Critters. Ever since, kids have been collecting the whimsical animals and trying not to knock over all those adorably tiny accessories while playing.

Chinnian via Flickr

My Little Pony

The My Little Pony brand originated in 1981––prime millennial age. We literally grew up with the brightly colored plastic ponies and even though they have gone through four reboots, it hasn’t stopped generations of pony lovers, and even bronies from staying true. The newest update, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic has inspired an entire new generation with the Mane 6 and, dare we say it, might be the best incarnation of MLP yet.

Katy via Flickr


If you’ve never accidentally killed a Tamagotchi digital pet, are you even a millennial? But seriously, the handheld Japanese toy took the ’90s and early 2000s by storm and required more attention than most toys of the day and age. It went through 44 different versions between 1996 and 2009, but you can actually still purchase the original on Amazon for a mere $20. Or, you could always just snag the Tamagotchi app, since you’re more likely to carry around your phone than your pocket pet.

John Trainor via Flickr

Care Bears

In 1981 Care Bears hit the scene—but on American Greetings cards! In wasn’t until 1983 they made their way into plush form—and then three made-for-TV movies—when our hearts fell in love. Now, there are more than 210 Care Bears and the lovable bears have gone through relaunches in 1991, 2002, 2007, 2012 and now 2018 where it was announced they would get their own show on the streaming service, Boomerang. You’ll soon be able to visit Care-a-lot and the Kingdom of Caring with your own kiddos!

El Barto Was Here via Flickr

Nintendo Game Boy

If you had a Nintendo Game Boy, you had it MADE. The first 8-bit handheld video game debuted in 1989, and if you were super cool, you got the transparent version. The Game Boy was rugged and had tons of games that drew in boys, girls and even grownups alike. It was a pioneer to all the future handheld devices kids have at their disposal now and while you can’t buy the original, you can definitely get your fix with the Nintendo DS or the Nintendo Switch.



I’ll trade you my slammer for 10 of your pogs! Ahh, the ramblings of ’90s millennials. The milk cap game that originated in Hawaii started a craze on the mainland and beyond. While there were just as many kids who simply collected the colorful and unique caps as those who actually played the POGS game, there was simply the fact that you could never have enough in your collection.

David Goehring

Hungry Hungry Hippos

The goal of Hungry Hungry Hippos it to be the player to collect the most marbles––or is it? While kids loved playing this fun and exhilarating game, there were equal amounts of parents who felt the object was to drive them crazy because this game is LOUD. But never fear, now our own kids can terrorize us because this game is still around today and you can find it on Amazon for under $20.



Oh the never-ending drawings you could make with a Spirograph! Grab your colored pens and sit back for hours of fun. Nobody knew the frustration more of a Spirograph that jumped the track more than a nineties kid. The toy was relaunched back in 2012 so you can still give your kiddos the gift of spirals!

Hans via Pixabay

Jump Rope

As kids, millennials dreamed of being Double Dutch stars and we had the jump ropes to prove it! While most us ended up jumping solo, the jump rope was a constant friend, along with the tones of jumping songs to go with it.

––Karly Wood



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