The Most Popular Toys Through the Years


Do you remember your favorite toys from your childhood? Toys have always been a significant part of our lives, bringing joy and entertainment to people of all ages. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the most popular toys from different decades. Whether you were born in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s, there is a toy that holds a special place in your heart.

The 50s and 60s: Barbie Dolls and Etch A Sketch

The 50s and 60s were a time of innovation and creativity in the toy industry. One of the most iconic toys from this era is the Barbie doll, which was introduced in 1959. Barbie quickly became a sensation, capturing the imagination of young girls everywhere. With her fashionable outfits and endless possibilities for make-believe, Barbie became a timeless classic.

Another popular toy from the 60s was the Etch A Sketch. This magical drawing toy allowed children to create masterpieces with just a turn of the knobs. It provided hours of fun and artistic expression, making it a must-have for kids during this time.

The 70s: Rubik’s Cube and Star Wars Figures

The 70s brought us two toys that would go on to become cultural phenomena. The Rubik’s Cube, invented in 1974, challenged puzzle enthusiasts with its complex twists and turns. It quickly became a worldwide sensation, captivating both young and old with its colorful design and mind-boggling mechanics.

In 1977, the release of the first Star Wars movie sparked a toy revolution. Action figures, spaceships, and playsets based on the Star Wars universe became a huge hit. Children and adults alike couldn’t get enough of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, and the epic battles fought in a galaxy far, far away.

The 80s: Cabbage Patch Kids and Transformers

The 80s were a decade of unique and imaginative toys. Cabbage Patch Kids, introduced in 1983, took the world by storm. These lovable and adoptable dolls became a cultural phenomenon, with parents going to great lengths to ensure their child had their very own Cabbage Patch Kid.

Another popular toy from the 80s was Transformers. These action figures could transform from vehicles to robots and back again, providing endless hours of playtime fun. The Transformers franchise expanded to include animated TV shows, movies, and a wide range of merchandise.

The 90s: Tamagotchi and Beanie Babies

The 90s brought us two toys that became instant classics. Tamagotchi, a virtual pet that fit in the palm of your hand, allowed children to experience the joys and responsibilities of pet ownership. Kids everywhere diligently cared for their digital pets, making sure they were fed, played with, and kept happy.

Beanie Babies, small stuffed animals filled with beans (hence the name), became a worldwide collecting craze. Each Beanie Baby had its own unique name, birthday, and personality. Collectors searched high and low for rare and valuable Beanie Babies to add to their collection.


Toys have a way of capturing our hearts and transporting us back to our childhood. Whether it’s a Barbie doll, a Rubik’s Cube, or a Tamagotchi, these toys hold a special place in our memories. They remind us of simpler times and the joy of play. So, take a moment to reminisce about your favorite toy and the happiness it brought you.

Who can forget the excitement of receiving a new toy? Whether it was the must-have toy of the year or a simple plaything, there was nothing quite like it. Over the years, toys have changed a lot. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the most popular toys from 1930 to 1980.

1930 – Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse Doll

The Charlotte Clark Mickey Mouse Doll became a sensation after the release of the Walt Disney short film “Steamboat Willie.” These small stuffed dolls were so popular that patterns were released for mothers to make their own Mickey Mouse dolls. Soon, Mickey Mouse merchandise was everywhere, from notepads to watches to socks.

1931 – Finger Paint

Finger painting became a beloved activity for children after its introduction in 1931. With polka dot smocks to protect their clothes, kids could freely express their creativity through art.

1932 – Rockford Sock Monkey

The Rockford Sock Monkey became an icon of American childhood. Originally created by the Nelson Knitting Company, these no-seam socks were a hit. When imitations started to appear, the company added a red heel to distinguish the original. Mothers soon repurposed these socks to create homemade sock monkeys, becoming a staple toy during the Great Depression.

1933 – Kewpie Doll

1934 – Buck Rogers Pocket Pistol

1935 – Shirley Temple Doll

1936 – Balsa Wood Model Sets

Balsa wood model kits were affordable and popular among families. This particular kit contains a mix of metal and balsa pieces for kids to assemble and play with.

1937 – Pedal Cars

Pedal cars were a luxury item in 1937, costing around $15, equivalent to $250 today. Despite the Great Depression, pedal cars were prominently featured in Sears catalogs. The shortage of metal during WWII affected sales, but these cars remained a cherished toy.

1938 – Red Ryder BB Gun

1939 – Beach Ball

The 1930s marked a time of innovation in toy design. Beach balls became a popular toy, providing hours of fun at the beach or in the backyard.

1940 – Bubble Wand

1941 – Tinkertoys

1942 – Little Golden Books

1943 – Pull Toy

During WWII, inexpensive and homemade toys regained popularity. Pull toys made of wood were a cheaper alternative and were readily available in stores.

1944 – Army Toys

1945 – Slinky

1946 – Pennytoys

Metal toys, often vehicles, flooded the market after the war. These toys were brightly painted and some of them even wind-up.

1947 – Toy Instruments

1948 – Tinymite Radio

Crystal radio sets grew in popularity during the 1930s and 1940s. Tinymite was one of the most popular radio sets in 1948.

1949 – Cootie

1950 – Chatter Teeth

1951 – View Master

The View Master, originally invented in 1939, gained popularity in the 1950s. With the introduction of Walt Disney character slides, the View Master became a hit among children.

And finally, we have the iconic Atari, the game that revolutionized how kids spent their time. While not every home had one due to its price, this video game console became the go-to entertainment for kids, teens, and even adults on lazy Saturday afternoons.

Ah, the memories these toys bring back! It’s incredible to see how these toys shaped our childhood and continue to hold a special place in our hearts. Let’s cherish those precious moments and remember the joy they brought us.