Iconic Millennial Toys - Part one

Most 80s and 90s kids will agree that toys were just better when we were kids! With technology still in its infancy, we didn't have as many digital distractions, which meant we actually got to play with the toys we had. Nowadays, kids often opt for digital and technological toys such as tablets, drones, and hoverboards, which has led to the decline of toy retailers like Toys-R-Us. Rest in peace.

From Lite-Brite to Care Bears, these toys remain iconic symbols of our childhood. This list will focus on some of the most quintessential "Millennial" toys around.

Note: Although some of the toys on this list existed before or after the 80s/90s, they were most popular during that time and are strong reminders of that era.

Pogo Balls:

Pogo Balls were invented in the 1960s but gained popularity when Hasbro began manufacturing them in the 80s and throughout the 90s. Pogo Balls consisted of two large bouncy balls connected by a plastic disc, just wide enough for your feet. If you were like many of us, these toys were a recipe for disaster and resulted in broken ankles, wrists, and other injuries. However, if you were more coordinated, you probably had a blast bouncing all over the place and maybe even learned a few tricks! Some daring P.E. teachers would even bring Pogo Balls into the classroom, which is still a mystery to us. Did they enjoy watching their young students fall and get injured? Let us know in the comments if you've ever gotten hurt on a Pogo Ball!

Speak-and-Spell:

The Speak-and-Spell is a timeless classic that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. It was the first electronic device to perfectly mimic the human voice, and it was a tech-savvy gadget at a time when most of us didn't have many technological toys. With its ability to teach us how to spell, and the fun we had while using it, it's easy to see why we hold it so dear.

Even today, its technology remains relevant in music production, with many artists using it through a technique known as "circuit bending." The Speak-and-Spell also made appearances in two of the most iconic movies for Millennials - Toy Story and E.T. (source). Despite its discontinuation in 1992 due to research showing little impact on students' spelling abilities, this toy will always be remembered as a fun and innovative way to learn.

Teddy Ruxpin:

The best-selling toy in 1985 and 1986, Teddy Ruxpin took the country by storm. The animatronic storytime bear even had his own cartoon, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. Teddy would play various story cassettes, which quickly made him a top cuddly companion. The cassettes consisted of several different styles, models, and themes, and his stories often helped many of us fall asleep at night. Yay for parental substitutes!

In recent years, Teddy has begun to resurface, finding his place once more in the arms of young children. In fact, my child received his own bedtime song Teddy Ruxpin for his birthday this year! If you were a Teddy Ruxpin fan, you may be happy to hear the rumor that a new Teddy Ruxpin TV show will be produced in the next few years by the Jim Henson Company (source).

G.I. Joe:

G.I. Joe was one of the most successful toys of its time, and it had the added bonus of its own cartoon show. Created by Sam Weston and first manufactured by Hasbro in the 1960s, G.I. Joe has a long history. Although it wasn't invented in the 80s or 90s, it still holds a special place in the hearts of many Millennials. With its diverse range of action figures, the accompanying TV series, and various video game adaptations, G.I. Joe became a leading toy in the 80s. In 2003, it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, solidifying its place as a classic toy of our childhood.

Now you know! And knowing is half the battle!

Didn’t see your favorite toy? Check our part two.

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