Can You Name All of These Kids Toys From the ’60s?

SHOPPING

Zoe Samuel

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Lorie Shaull

About This Quiz

The 1960s were the best time in history to be growing up. The Baby Boomers were kids and were enjoying a miraculous surge in wealth and opportunity following World War Two. The music was awesome. The technology was expanding rapidly. The possibilities were numerous. It was a great time to be alive.

Of course, this means that the toys were pretty darn great too! Some of them were classics, from stuffed toys to puppets to playground favorites that had been around in one form or other since the Victorian age. Others were all about embracing the now, which in the '60s meant rockets, cars, and all sorts of movie and TV tie-ins. Others were timeless, like dolls and puzzle games, updated for the period but harking back to an earlier age.

British children were not quite as rich as their U.S. counterparts yet, but they were still living with a cornucopia of options when it came to toys, and that's what this quiz is all about — remembering the toys that were beloved upon the sceptered isle itself. Some of the toys we'll feature today were British through and through, while others were American, French, or Italian imports that were adopted by the British market.

How well do you remember them? Let's find out!

What is the name of this splendid little vehicle with a movie tie-in?

Mettoy’s James Bond Aston Martin was a bestseller in 1965 and won Toy of the Year from the British Association of Toy Retailers. It is a diecast car, a type of toy that was enormously popular at the time. They were made of metal and thus didn't come to pieces like certain modern toys!

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This doll could be related to Barbie. Who is she?

Sindy dolls were a counterpart to Barbie that launched in 1963. Sindy was never as voluptuous or aspirational as Barbie. She was the bestselling toy in the UK the later 1960s and is still popular today.

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Can you identify this range of little cars?

We've already mentioned diecast cars, and Hot Wheels were probably one of the most successful kinds. They were initially a children's toy, but these days the biggest buyers are nostalgic adults seeking to expand their collections.

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Do you know the name of this marvelous drawing game?

The spirograph was a wonderful drawing toy that helped you produce shapes that you couldn't possibly make on your own. They're officially called hypotrochoids, though most users would have just called them rosettes or spirals. The toy came out in 1965 and delighted children all over the UK.

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This toy is FAB! What is it?

The hugely successful TV show "Thunderbirds" debuted in 1965 from the Supermarionation brand. It was a massive hit, and immediately everyone wanted their own version of Tracy Island, the place where the heroic brothers of International Rescue live, as well as copies of the Thunderbirds themselves.

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Now a party game classic, what physical game is this?

Originally named Pretzel, this party classic didn't immediately make a splash when it came out in 1966 from Milton Bradley. However, it was featured by Johnny Carson later that year, and after that everyone had to have one. Of course, this meant it wasn't just a British success, but it was popular in the UK.

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What is this Lego-like construction set?

Betta Bilda was another toy that sought to capitalize on the obviously enormous market identified by Lego. It emerged in 1961 and was a big hit for Airfix. People still collect sets today, and you can barely distinguish many of the bricks from Lego.

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Do you draw a blank when you see this drawing game?

This was the height of modernity when it came out in the late 1950s, invented by André Cassagnes. The toy was originally a French invention but hit it big in the Anglophone countries from 1960. More than 100 million Etch-a-Sketches have been sold.

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What are these ubiquitous and still-popular toys called?

The first Troll Doll came about when a Danish man named Thomas Dam made it for his daughter. Her friends wanted their own, and he realized he had a hit on his hands. Troll fever swept the UK in the early 1960s.

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What is this fascinating glow-in-the-dark goo?

Glow-Globs was a kind of silly putty that came in the shape of various monsters, as created by Kenner Toys. Its primary claim to fame was that it glows in the dark. It typically came in three colors and featured a skeleton, a ghost, a bat, and other creepy creatures.

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Was your memory invaded by these giant insects?

Hamilton's Invaders was a Remco toy based around a war between monstrous insect invaders and little blue toy soldiers. Pull strings helped the insects to attack the soldiers, who were much smaller and blue. The set also came with a helmet for the child to wear, to get into character!

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What is this little wind-up toy from Rocket USA?

Wacky Wind-ups were a clockwork walking toy of the 1960s. They didn't move very well, but these were simpler times, and they were considered pretty darn exciting. Some of them were themed to TV shows of the time, while others didn't have a tie-in.

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Can you remember the name of this beloved doll?

An earlier book series inspired this toy. It was a redheaded rag doll that was invented long before the 1960s, but not until that decade did the Knickerbocker Toy Company make a large sum of money from selling the dolls. The copyright for the dolls is now in the public domain.

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Can you name these toys that were some of the most popular diecast toys ever made?

Dinky Toys outsold other brands in the 1960s, including Hot Wheels. They were a diecast metal toy car that included models of famous vehicles such as Speed of the Wind, a record-breaking land vehicle. Dinky Toys was a Meccano brand, but these days it is owned by Mattel.

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Can you name this primitive version of YouTube?

These days, you can easily watch a video of just about anything whenever you like. However, in the 1960s, the only TV or movies you could see were either live or required negotiating a ticket counter and an usher. Enter View-Master, a slide show that was essentially a primitive version of Occulus Rift, which substituted for video in the home. You could move between images and see all sorts of places and people close up!

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It's a classic now, but it was new once. What is this awesome car racing game?

Scalextric remains pretty darn cool, but it was especially cool back in the 1960s when toys with an "on" switch were relatively rare. It was invented in 1956 by Fred Francis, and sold by his Minimodels Ltd company. It is still fairly popular today.

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700 million pounds of this modeling toy have been sold so far. What is it?

This toy was created in 1955 when Joseph and Noah McVicker's wallpaper cleaner went wrong, and they realized they had a wonderful goo on their hands. It went on to be a major hit of the 1960s. Thus Play-Doh came about and was one of the most successful toys of all time.

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What is this bouncy ball from the late 1960s?

The original Space Hopper was invented in 1968 by an Italian who called it Pon-Pon. There isn't really anything "space"-like about it, but when British company Wembley began manufacturing their version, the Space Age was underway, so the name was adopted for the sake of branding. In the U.S., the toy is mostly known as a hoppity-hop.

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What is this toy, a precursor of the Rubik's Cube?

The challenge with these four cubes was to line them up so that each set of faces has one of each color, in a sort of reverse Rubik's Cube, or perhaps a kind of 3D Sudoku. It came out in 1967 and sold 12 million puzzles. Instant Insanity is still out there, sneakily teaching children about mathematics without them noticing.

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Do you know who these red and blue robots are?

The Marx toy company debuted this toy in 1964, care of inventors Marvin Glass and Associates. These days it is the property of toy giant Mattel. The goal is to beat the opponent's robot mostly by moving your fingers faster than they can. It is simple but very effective!

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Do you remember this doll that ceased production in 1968?

Tiny Tears came from the American Character Doll Company and was introduced in the UK in 1966. You can now see it at the V&A Museum of Childhood. This was a toy that would wet itself — a strange feature to include in a doll, but one that continues to exist in modern toys today.

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What is this toy based on a popular British TV series of the 1950s?

Andy Pandy was a BBC show that was a massive hit in the 1950s, and despite not making any new episodes between 1952 and 1970, it was repeated on a loop throughout all of that time. As toys related to TV shows became more common in the 1960s, Andy Pandy dolls took off.

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Another diecast hit from Mattel, this toy was all about making your own toys. What is it?

Thingmaker, also known as Creepy Crawlers, was a toy where you would assemble various configurations of diecast metal pieces that you could turn into a creature. It has been reinvented today as a 3D printer that honors the spirit of the original toy, but costs rather more!

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What is this arcade-style tabletop game that was all about two silver balls?

Several versions of these tabletop pinball games existed, for example, Marx's Under N Over Pinball Machine. This was some time before arcade games took off, and helped to set the stage for the 1970s and beyond when such games exploded in popularity.

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What is this very technical kit toy that is little more than an app on your phone these days?

The electronics that go into playing music or picking up radio these days are vastly too sophisticated for a kit toy, but back in the 1960s, radios were simpler things. A transistor radio kit was the essential toy for a technically-minded kid, who could put one together and use it to listen to music on their own, the very first generation to have a portable way to do so (that wasn't attached to a car).

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These days we associate this game with old ladies, but back then it was for kids. Can you identify it?

These days, bingo is a game for adults playing for real money. Of course, it's no surprise that adults love it, as a lot of today's adults are themselves children of the 1960s. Back then, bingo was also for kids, and bingo games were sold at home. Makers of bingo boards included companies such as Whitman, as well as Pressman.

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What is this rather creepy doll from the American Doll & Toy company?

This toy is called Little Miss Echo, and the special feature is that you could record your voice then have her repeat it back. It is an American toy, but there were some sold in the UK. It didn't last very long, so thanks to their relative scarcity, if you have one in mint condition, it is considered quite collectible.

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What is this toy invented in 1961?

These monkeys have come back into fashion thanks to the "Toy Story" movies, but they were first invented in 1965. The goal of the game was to make as long a chain as possible without dropping any monkeys. Anyone who dropped a monkey would lose, as would the person with the shorter chain.

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You can play this on your phone now, but there's no substitute for a physical version. What it is called?

Dominoes are a great game for all ages and can be played on a tabletop. Of course, the physical dominoes can also be used to set up wonderful chain reaction of falling dominoes. This tests a child's patience and hones their spatial ability, and was very popular in the 1960s.

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You can get this toy from the right kind of tree. Do you recognize it?

These days, letting a child risk whacking another child would be considered improper, but 1960s Britain did not have any such concerns. This was possibly the last generation to play "conkers," where you take the nut or "conker" of a horse chestnut tree and thread it onto a string, then smash it into your opponent's conker and see whose breaks first!

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This company was noted for these fine wooden marionettes. What are they?

Bob Pelham made Pelham Puppets, and most of them were marionettes, though the company did also make glove puppets and other types. They are now considered fairly collectible and were very popular in their heyday. 1960s examples included a popular policeman version.

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What is this superhero-inspired toy from the 1960s?

These days, every child's room has a superhero toy in it, but back in the 1960s, only kids who read comic books were typically into superheroes. This changed with popular TV series featuring major superheroes like Batman, which resulted in the launch of one of the most collectible toys on our list: the Batman Utility Belt. If you have one still in the box, insure it!

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You may know him from "Toy Story." Who is this little guy?

This toy dates back to 1952 but didn't reach the UK immediately. It was invented by a man named George Lerner and was originally made out of felt, in contrast to today's plastic version. Mr. Potato Head became popular again thanks to "Toy Story," which features one of these as a major character.

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This popular game is still around. Can you identify it?

KerPlunk! debuted in 1967 and was a creation of the Ideal Toy Company. It requires a combination of dexterity and spatial awareness to play, as the goal is to remove a "straw" without causing marbles to fall. It has long been a staple game in the toybox in many British homes.

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What is this brilliant board game from 1963?

Mousetrap is a splendid game that is all about building your own working trap to catch your opponent's plastic mouse. These days it hails from Milton Bradley, though it started at Ideal. It essentially teaches children to construct a Rube Goldberg device.

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What is this toy, a specific "Thunderbirds" tie-in?

"Thunderbirds" was such a huge hit that the rights to make the associated toys were sold to all sorts of companies. The "Thunderbirds" rifle came from a company named Lone Star, who brought it out in 1965 to a rapturous reception. They also made toy weapons for similar hits like "Captain Scarlet."

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What is this inflatable toy, whose name would definitely not fly today?

If you had latent aggression and needed to work it out by hitting something, this was the perfect toy. It was essentially a punchbag for children, that worked thanks to a weighted bottom that helped it spring upright every time it was thwacked. These days, it would probably be marketed to emphasize its role in promoting fitness, rather than violence!

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Who is this less famous friend of Mr. Potato Head?

Pete the Pepper is a personal pal of Mr. Potato Head (something we do not suggest you say quickly five times). You could buy them individually or as part of a set with a Mr. Potato Head. They came with interchangeable parts and also in a bobblehead version.

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What is this game that you can play on your phone these days?

Nowadays, you can play games like this on your phone. Even in the 1980s, there was Gameboy. In the 1960s, you needed a physical version of all these sorts of games. Enter the classic Fifteen Puzzle, in which you could scramble the numbers then try to reorder them. It was another game that taught you mathematics, though it was a little more obvious about it than some.

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This toy hit it big all over the world. What is it called?

Technically, there were hoops for swinging your hips long before this toy was patented. However, you can't argue with a patent, so officially, the Hula-Hoop dates to 1963, the day it obtained protection — though this was five years after its modern version debuted. It was a massive hit in the UK, U.S., and everywhere else, and just about every kid in the world had one.

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