Toys and ways to entertain kids are constantly evolving, and so much of what captivates kids these days is tech-related. Yet there are some timeless, classic toys and games that endure over generations and are just as popular with today’s kids as they were with their grandparents (or even great-grandparents!). From books to blowing bubbles, from playing with baby dolls to backyard cricket and badminton (or “shuttlecock”), there are some toys and games that never go out of style.
Here are our top six classic retro and vintage toys and games for kids…
Marbles have been a popular children’s game the world over for literally millennia, and they are mentioned in ancient Roman literature, as well as being excavated at archaeological sites from ancient Egypt to Mesopotamia. In the past they were made from clay, glass or stone. They were so popular in Nuremburg, Germany in the 1400s that by 1503, playing of marbles was limited by law to a meadow outside of the town! Marbles as we know them date to the 1800s, and today there are many different variations on games and value of different marbles based on their size and design.
Kids have long loved drawing on footpaths and sidewalks with chalk, and games such as hopscotch were very familiar for our grandmothers and their grandmothers before them.
Kids and adults alike are fascinated by kaleidoscopes. They are optical instruments that use principles of reflection and, when rotated, display ever-changing intricate patterns of coloured glass. The first known kaleidoscope dates to 1812, and while there are very expensive kaleidosopes available, they can be an inexpensive toy that offers hours of enjoyment and wonder.
Jumping rope has been a pastime since at least mediaeval times, with some evidence to suggest it started in ancient China. It was very popular in Egypt in the 1600s, from where it spread throughout Europe to the Netherlands and thereon to North America with the Pilgrims. Jump rope was a huge fad in the 1940s and 1950s, with all that was required to play being a length of rope. It can be played solo or in a large group. It’s not just a fun game, but great exercise!
Invented in the 1940s, this helical spring makes a fantastic toy for hours of enjoyment! It was a hit from the moment of its introduction in Philadelphia in 1943, with all four hundred initial units sold in less than two hours! In its first sixty years on the market, more than three hundred million slinkies were sold – and they are still selling in vast numbers.
Perhaps the most popular board game for kids of all time (I know I spent hours playing with my grandpa as a little girl!), draughts is a game for two players. It has been played in one form or another since the Sumerian city of Ur in 3000BC, with ancient Egyptian pharaohs also playing. Plato mentioned the game and it is also believed to have been played during the Trojan War! Modern draughts developed from its Arabic precursor alquerque, and there are various versions of the game. The most common is English draughts/American Checkers, which is played on an 8’x8” board. Kids who learn to play are guaranteed many hours of fun and all ages can enjoy playing.
All of these classic toys and many more are available from our Retro Range at New Dimension Oz. Explore our fantastic array of merchandise today and introduce your kids to games their parents and grandparents loved!
(ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF PINTEREST)