11 Iconic Toys from the last 100 years – Guess what Number 1 is

Iconic Toys

11 Iconic Toys from the last 100 years

What do you want for your birthday this year? – A child’s favourite question! Whether it’s an upcoming birthday or a letter to Santa for Christmas, generations of kids eagerly wait for that special occasion where they will get their hands on a new, much-anticipated toy. The last 100 years have seen plenty of toys come and go, each one setting a new standard in innovation and creativity from its predecessor. A number of these toys have remained true icons and have been passed down from generation to generation, rendering them timeless and memorable in the hearts and minds of us all; no matter how old we become and where we come from. We’ve rounded up a list of 11 iconic toys that have revolutionised children’s play and even kept adults mesmerised till date.


Skipping Rope


image source: Women’sHealthMag


The skipping rope, or jump rope, is one of the oldest known toys and can be found in cultures all over the world. The jump rope became popular in North America in the 1940s, and has now become a well-known physical activity and sport. Children have grown up reciting rhymes to go along with the pace of the skipping rope, invented games involving multiple ropes and multiple players.



image source: George Thomas


Historically, an indication of yo-yos can be traced all the way to 500BC, with variations of the toy found prevalently in Ancient Greek, Indian and French art records. The modern-day Yo-Yo, as we know it, was trademarked and manufactured in the 1920s and increased in popularity exponentially in the 1960s-80s. The simple design of the Yo-yo has enabled its appeal to reach across the globe, across genders and across age groups – all playing with a basic string tied between an axle of two disks.


Spinning tops

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A spinning top uses inertia to spin rapidly while remaining balanced on its tip. Contemporary spinning tops are mostly made of plastic, however back in the day wood was the most popular choice of material. It is believed that the first spinning tops were made by accident by spinning acorns or maple seeds. Today spinning tops also come with a winding string and mechanical springs.



image source: ProfessorPlum’s


Developed by mechanical engineer Richard James in the 1940s, the Slinky was originally a basic spring that ‘walked’ down a flight of stairs. The first few decades saw a significant rise in the popularity of the metallic Slinky, and in the 1970s plastic Slinkys were manufactured as a much safer and colourful option. The simple mechanics of the bouncing spring has kept children mesmerised for decades. In 1995, the Slinky Dog was one of the most popular toys for Christmas due to the character in The Toy Story animated movie.



image source: Play-Doh


For most of us growing up, no arts and crafts project was complete without a bit of modelling clay. Play-Doh was first launched in the 1950s; what started off as a pliable non-toxic, putty-like material for cleaning wallpaper, soon transitioned to a child’s plaything. The malleability of Play-Doh and variety of colours makes it easy for young children to enjoy plenty of time learning while playing, and is still a go-to choice at preschools all over the world.



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One of the most popular card games made suitable for children, UNO has been running successfully since 1971. Developed by Merle Robbins in Ohio, the original deck was designed and prepared on his family dining room table. The four-colour card game is now a standard in households all over the world and is played by people of all ages. The simplistic approach to a competitive and strategic card game has ensured UNO’s success for decades.


Board Games

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Table top games that make use of counters and a marked surface, board games today come in all levels of strategy, shapes, rules and skill. Historically, board games can be dated all the way back to 5000 BC, where wood and stones were carved for pieces to be used in checkers or chess-like strategy games that were common amongst the elite and royalty in many cultures across Asia. Popular board games in our century include Monopoly, Chess, Snakes and Ladders, The Game of Life, Cluedo and more.


Hot Wheels

image source: Hot Wheels


Model toy cars have been around for as long as any of us can remember. Originally made to compete with the Matchbox brand of toy cars, Mattel designed trendy and modified die-cast cars in the 1960s and created the Hot Wheels brand. From Cadillacs to McLarens, Hot Wheels became a staggering success keeping young boys of all ages spellbound for generations. Today there are many adults collectors who have vintage models, some even going for $72,000!


Game Boy

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A classic game-changer for toys today, Nintendo’s Game Boy can be called the first popular video game console. Released in 1989, the original grey hand-held device had a reflective LCD screen, games that came in detachable cartridges and action buttons. ‘Tetris’ became one of the most widespread video games for generations to come. Today Game Boys are available in full colour, higher resolution and on Virtual Console services.



image source: The Atlantic


One of the first fashion icons for children, Barbie has been around since 1959. Primarily targeted at young girls, Barbie was created by Ruth Handler who came up with the concept when she noticed her pre-teen daughter Barbara playing make-believe games with paper dolls. The Barbie doll has had careers ranging from medicine to military, has had over 40 pets, a range of vehicles and of course plenty of outfits to change into. The ability to tap into any role-playing fantasy life has made Barbie a timeless and iconic doll for generations.



Top of our iconic list has to be LEGO® – possibly the most memorable and timeless toy of all. The colourful interlocking bricks were designed so ingeniously that even today’s bricks fit snuggly into the 1950s brick. The beauty of LEGO® remains in the ability to interchange the blocks in innumerable ways, channelling the best of your creativity. From buildings to boats, spaceships to cities, LEGO® bricks can be made into almost anything.

Why not relive your childhood and bring out your creative side at STACK – the largest event for fans of LEGO® in the Middle East. The four-day fun filled event will take place at Skydive Dubai from the 19th to 22nd of October 2016 and will be the perfect all-day family fun attraction for everyone. With over 35 interactive games, competitions, zones and workshops, STACK is the place to be this October. Meet some of the best Adult Fans of LEGO® (AFOLs) and share ideas, or build your own marvellous creations from colourful brick pits. Buy your tickets to STACK today!