Do you remember what you played with as a kid? Raggedy Ann? G.I. Joe? A cardboard box? The National Museum of Play, also known as The Strong, in Rochester, New York, inducts iconic toys into the Hall each year. Perhaps one day some of your kids’ toys will be inductees too!
Here are 10 toys—including the three new honorees—that are sure to have you reminiscing.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
These little guys have been around since the 1930s and represent mostly infantry soldiers of the mid-20th century U.S. Army, though German, Japanese, French, British and Russian soldiers are also available.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
Designed by Erno Rubik, the Rubik’s cube hit stores in 1980 and quickly became the most popular puzzle in history. What seems like a simple toy is, in fact, not, as “cubers” work to solve the complex cube by spotting patterns.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
Evidence of children playing with bubbles goes as far back as the 17th century. Who hasn’t watched their kid laugh as they try to chase them, and watch in anticipation as they go higher and higher until they finally pop?
The inspiration for Barbie came from Ruth Handler’s (cofounder of Mattel Inc.) daughter, Barbara, as she played with paper dolls. Endless opportunities for imaginative play arose with the introduction and innovations of Barbie. Different ethnicities, from African-American Barbie to Chinese Barbie, became available. She also has had a multitude of careers, including Air Force fighter pilot and paleontologist.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
In the 1960’s, Elliot Handler (cofounder of Mattel Inc.) enlisted the help of Harry Bradley, a top auto designer at Chevrolet, to create authentic toy cars. The first designed were 16 “muscle” cars, including Camaros, Firebirds, and Corevettes. Today there are more than 800 models of Hot Wheels for kids to play with, as well as racing tracks (with the famous loop) that offer hours of competitive fun.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
First introduced in 1939, the Viewmaster originally showcased views of scenic attractions from around the U.S. It went big once it snagged the rights to all Disney characters with the acquisition of competitor Tru-Vu in 1951. From then on, almost every major kids’ show and motion picture was offered on slides for children to click through.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
You may not want your kids playing on stairs, but you have to admit, once it gets going, the Slinky is awfully amusing. Invented by accident by engineer Richard James, the Slinky started off slow but rose, and maintains, popularity to this day. Go, Slinky, go!Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
Whether lugging around other toys, friends, or newspapers to deliver, this versatile red wagon allows kids from tots to teens to go from work to play and back again. Developed by young Italian immigrant Antonio Pasin and named after another popular Italian invention—the radio—the Flyer retained solid sales rates even throughout the Great Depression.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
Who hasn’t drawn up a masterpiece with Crayola Crayons? These non-toxic, “oily chalk” sticks have been the medium of choice for children’s works of art since 1903. Billions of crayons are used by artistic kids each year to create the next picture to be stuck to the fridge.Courtesy of The Strong, Rochester, New York
You may be surprised to see this one on the list, but really, when you think about it, this is one of the world’s oldest toys. Children seem to be easily amused by the simplest of things, and the stick offers endless opportunities for creative play. Kids use them in so many ways—as fishing poles, swords and wands, for drawing in the sand, throwing for dogs and racing them down stream. Not only that, but they’re natural and free!
Read more: National Toy Hall of Fame>
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