Classic Kids Toys with a Modern Day Twist

Posted on Dec 17 2013 - 12:15pm by Aubrey

As I peruse the toy aisles at stores this holiday season, I am seeing so many toys which bring back old memories of my own childhood. It’s fun to see what’s still around and popular with the young set, or the same toy perhaps reinvented with the current “happening” cartoon characters… Now that my older (baby) son is almost at the 18 month mark and the younger baby racing toward 6 months, I’m finding toys for them which I certainly remember having in the toy box. All this to say I thought it would be fun to do a little comparison of a few of the classic toys from “then” – let’s just say about 30 years ago…to now!


First up, the “stacking rings.” This is a classic that can’t be touched, it’s been the SAME for decades, okay the last half-century, really! The only difference now (Fisher Price version) is that the top ring is see-through and is a rattle! This toy is still easy on the wallet, no batteries required and still is a great learning tool for babies! There are several other versions out now that are basically the same toy, just more creative with the rings…using different textures, crinkle sounds, teethers, rattles and even a mirror in the different ring sizes for stacking.

Next, the “corn popper.” The one pictured to the left is a current selling “classic” version by Fisher Price. It’s pretty much the same thing as the old school toy, they’ve just jazzed up the design a bit. Also pictured on the right is the Bright Starts Plane Popper (which my son has), the modern twist here is not only is it a popper, but it’s a plane with wings and you can drop balls into it which shoot out when the lever on the handle is squeezed.

Then there’s the good ole shape sorter! The one I recall from childhood looked something like the version on the left. It was red and blue with yellow shape pieces you had to correctly insert into the corresponding shape “hole”…to get them out, you just had to pull it open and the center. Nowadays shape sorters are much more fancy, music & blinking lights, sleek design…even the shapes have objects and pictures in them, and then it’s all color-coded into a convenient receptacle with a carrying handle. The toy makes noise when shook and/or objects are placed inside with different volume levels to pick from…batteries are required for that!


I am definitely amused though to see toys like the classic record player and telephone still around in a classic version! Yes, you can still purchase these…the modern twist here being a (mobile) handheld device. I clearly remember my record player, and I even got several upgrades over my childhood years to play my records. I loved the read along books narrated by a record! However, these 2 toys are examples of classic toys that just may not make any sense to today’s tech savvy generation. I’m sure a record player would be pretty foreign and the telephone (with rotary dial), plenty of fun to play with, but I wonder if they could make the connection that we actually used to have those plugged in at home for phone calls, not a slick mobile device kept in our pockets!?!? Boy, times sure have changed!!