Toys, nostalgia, creativity. What more could you want? Here you’ll find some of my absolute most favourite creative toys of yesteryear (like 1993). Toys that, despite their lack of wires and microchips, have managed to stand the test of time.
If I’m being thoroughly honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t own Legos as a child (and yes, I make a point to ask literally everyone I meet). Not only were they a requirement to have around, but for every piece you owned, your coolness factor would go up by just that much. You could have had absolutely no other toys, but if you had the most Legos, everyone would be playing at your house. And who could blame them? Like the physical version of Minecraft before Minecraft, you could create just about anything you imagined with these amazing little pieces.
Let’s be real, at best you were probably only creating the types of chemical reactions like in a baking soda volcano. But, also being real, that definitely didn’t matter. With these chemistry sets, you were a scientist! You had the power! At least until your mum came in and saw the mess you made. Then you were maybe a little more like a sanitation engineer. We’re just going to take “cleaning up after yourself” as a bonus skill you learned from these kits.
I don’t know if this is something you grew up with as well, but I LOVED tangrams when I was a kid. Maybe I’m just a nerd, but these little physical brainteasers used to be my favourite thing to do in school. I’d say that my friends and I would always race to see who could figure them out first, but I’m not sure they were ever aware that there was a competition. Not mad about it, this fact definitely helped me win.
Truth be told, I never had one of these when I was a kid. It wasn’t actually until recently that I decided knowing how to solve a Rubik’s Cube was a necessary life skill that I had yet to master. I did it though! I figured out the combinations (with the help of several online tutorials), and then promptly forgot how to do it a week later. Despite this fact, I remain convinced that if I had simply purchased one earlier in life that I would be competing professionally.
Similar in appeal to the Legos, K’nex were seriously one of the best toys to have around. While what you created may not have been quite as fleshed out as their bricked brothers were, the size of what you could build definitely made up for it. And then when they started making mechanical options… oh man.
The first microscope I ever had didn’t come from a store. If I remember correctly, I just happened to be around when my uncle was cleaning out his loft and asked me if I wanted it. “Ummm, yes.” It came in a metal box, I have no idea how old it was, and it was like Christmas. Dust, grass, fur, even just water: if I could get my hands on it, it ended up on a slide. I’m still not sure if you’re supposed to reuse those things, but I didn’t care. I could see things that no one else could (unless they too owned a microscope) and it was amazing.