Can You Name the Most Popular Toys Through the Ages?

By: Bambi Turner
Image: Titi Toys and Dolls

About This Quiz

Archaeological evidence demonstrates that kids have been playing with toys of some kind since the dawn of civilization. Of course, things have improved quite a bit since then, with rocks and sticks replaced with video games and action figures. Take our quiz to see if you can name the hottest toys from the past half-century!

Fisher Price Little People came out in the '50s, and the first playset featured three firefighters riding in a fire truck. The toys have been in high demand from children ever since -- the company has sold more than 2 billion of the figures in the past five decades or so.

"The Gumby Show" premiered in 1955 and was a huge hit through the '60s. Toymakers turned the claymation Gumby into a bendable action figure that kids could bend and twist to their heart's content.

Introduced in 1953, Matchbox Cars got their name from the boxes in which they were sold -- which resembled matchboxes. By the '80s, sales were still going strong, but the die-cast cars were packed in blister packs instead of the classic boxes.

Play-Dog started as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s. By the '50s, it was being sold as a toy, and commercials had kids clamoring for their own jars of dough.

Tonka started out as a company dedicated to making gardening tools before realizing that toys might be more lucrative. They started producing die-cast trucks at 1:64 scale in the '60s, and the toys were a huge hit with kids for many years.

Teenage fashion model Barbie came out in 1959 -- early models wore a striped swimsuit and were available in blonde or brunette varieties. Since then, the doll has consistently topped ranked among the most popular fashion dolls in the world.

Troll dolls, known as good luck trolls, were introduced in the '50s, but it wasn't until the '60s that they became a huge bestseller. The toys have enjoyed several revivals over the decades, including in 2013, with the release of the "Trolls" movie.

Produced from 1959 to 1965, Chatty Cathy was the second-most popular doll after Barbie. The baby doll spoke one of 11 phrases when kids pulled a string that passed through her back.

Etch-A-Sketch contains aluminum powder that can be moved to draw pictures using a pair of wheels. More than 600,000 units were sold in 1960, making it one of the best-selling toys that year.

"Go Joe!" With all the Barbie fervor among little girls, toy makers knew they needed an action figure for boys. The original 12-inch G.I. Joe came out in 1964, but true G.I. Joe madness didn't begin until the toy got its own '80s cartoon series and manufacturers shrunk the toys down to the size of other popular action figures.

Every little girl wants to be like mom, so it's no surprise that the Easy-Bake Oven was a huge hit immediately upon its 1963 release. Kenner sold more than half a million units in just the first year.

Just a year after the Easy-Bake Oven hit stores, Mattel came up with a cooking option for boys. Creepy Crawlers used a hot cooking surface to solidify rubbery bugs and critters in die-cast molds.

Kids have been fighting with red and blue boxing robots since the 1964 release of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. The toy got a space makeover in 1977 to take advantage of "Star Wars" mania.

Kids loved the talking doll Chatty Cathy in the '60s, but they had no control over which random phrase the doll uttered. The See 'N' Say used the same technology as Cathy, but allowed kids to select the word they wanted to hear before pulling that classic pull-string.

Introduced in 1967, Lite-Brite was a huge hit. It featured a lighted box with translucent pegs in eight different colors. Kids could use templates to create images of popular characters, or free-hand their own creations.

Matchbox cars were such a huge hit in the '50s and '60s that other manufacturers were eager to cash in on the toy car craze. When Hot Wheels came out in the '60s, they were designed to be tricked out vehicles, compared to the more traditional Matchbox designs.

Playmobil has been competing with top toy Lego since its introduction in 1975. These playsets are designed to spur the imagination, and use a variety of action figures called Klickies.

The original '60s Barbie house was a single story and made of cardboard. By 1974, the Barbie's Dream House was three stories tall with its own elevator, so it's no surprise that kids were clamoring for the toy. The toy is still popular four decades later -- a 2014 version comes with two elevators, and one is just for Barbie's clothes.

The first Nerf ball hit stores in 1969, and within a year, the company had sold more than one million units. The Nerf football came out three years later and was equallu popular.

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down. Hasbro introduced these egg-shaped figures in 1971, and early playsets included a Treehouse and School Bus.

Baby Alive came out in 1973, and kids went wild for the doll you could really feed and change. A talking version came out in the '90s, and '00s kids got versions that could also cry.

The Rubik's Cube ranks among the best-selling toys in history. Since its 1974 release, manufacturers have sold in excess of 350 million units.

Similar to the Etch-a-Sketch and designed for mess-free drawing, the Magna Doodle was released in 1974. Sales are still going strong, and more than 40 million units have found their way into the hands of young doodlers.

Stretch Armstrong was a huge hit when Kenner introduced the toy in the mid-'70s. And in case you were wondering, it's boiled corn syrup inside, so no need to dismantle it for yourself.

In May 1977, a little film called "Star Wars" hit theaters and kids went crazy for all things outer space. Kenner's Star Wars action figures were so popular, the company sold "Early Bird Certifications" that Christmas, which kids could redeem for actual toys once the company could get production ramped up to meet staggering demand.

Memory game Simon came out in 1978, and sold for $25 -- that's more than $90 today. Despite the high cost, it was the top-selling toy of the 1978 Christmas season.

Coleco produced Cabbage Patch Kids -- you don't buy them, you adopt them -- from 1982 until 1988. By the time Hasbro took over in the late '80s, demand for the toys was so high that parents were fighting in the aisles of toy stores to secure a doll for their children.

Polly Pocket was one of the best-selling toys of the '90s. Girls loved the tiny dolls and accessories, which fit into folding cases designed to resemble makeup compacts.

Mattel introduced He-Man and Skeletor figures in 1982. When the "Masters of the Universe" cartoon hit the airwaves the next year, the toys went flying off the shelves and remained popular through the mid-'80s.

Care Bears were designed to serve as greeting card decorations. No one could have predicted that the stuffed bears would be such a huge hit, selling in excess of 40 million units between 1983 and 1987.

My Little Pony toys were introduced in 1982, and were a moderate success. A 1984 TV special and 1986 cartoon series shot the toy to the top of every Christmas list, and ushered in playsets like the Pony Paradise Estate.

Robots in Disguise! Transformers were introduced by Hasbro in 1984, and like many '80s toys, became incredibly popular thanks to an animated series aimed at kids.

The animatronic bear, Teddy Ruxpin, was the best-selling toy of 1985 and 1986. The toy has enjoyed several comebacks since then, both in the early '90s and again in 2017.

Who can resist stray puppies in need of "adoption"? Perhaps the tug at heartstrings is what earned Pound Puppies $300 million in sales in the mid- to late '80s.

The 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System came out in 1986. In 1988, the company sold 7 million units. By 1990, a third of all U.S. households owned an NES.

The Gameboy came out in 1989 and was Nintendo's first handheld game system. The company went on to sell more than 40 million Gameboys in the U.S. alone.

Playmates introduced the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the late '80s. Thanks to reptile-loving kids and a hit cartoon series, the toys were top-sellers through the early '90s.

Shoppers were clamoring for Beanie Babies in the early '90s, both to gift to their kids and to save as an investment -- yes, really. Ty Warner had single year sales of $4 billion in 1998 alone thanks to the plastic pellet-filled creatures.

American Girl started as a mail order company in 1986, but when the company was sold to Mattel in 1998, sales went through the roof. The high-end dolls came with plenty of outfits and accessories, and couldd easily cost hundreds to purchase and accessorize.

Tickle Me Elmo is a stuffed Elmo toy that shakes, vibrates and laughs when tickled. The toy was so in-demand during the 1996 holiday season that people were listing them on eBay for thousands of dollars.

Tamagotchi were egg-shaped virtual pets introduced in 1996. By 2010, the company had sold more than 76 million units.

Introduced in 1998, Furby was an animatronic owl-like creature that responded to input from kids. Toy makers sold 40 million of the furry critters in the first three years of release.

Launched in 2000, the Razor Scooter was a compact folding scooter for kids on the go. The Toy Association named it their Toy of the Year in 2001, and manufacturers sold more than five million in the first six months after release.

Move over Barbie, there's a new fashion doll in town. Bratz came out in 2005, and by 2006, they accounted for 40 percent of fashion doll sales worldwide.

The "Beyblade" TV series launched a million spinning tops in the early '00s. Introduced by Hasbro in 2002, the company had sold more than a 100 million units by 2005.

Like the original NES in the '80s, the Nintendo Wii was a huge hit when it came out in 2006. It was originally GameCube compatible, but came with the unique Wii remote controllers that the system still uses today.

Like Tamagotchis, Zhu Zhu Pets -- that's Mandarin for "little pigs" -- were a huge hit among kids who liked the fun of a pet without all the mess and work. In 2009, they were a top-seller during the holiday season.

If you spent any time around kids in 2013, you're probably familiar with the Disney film, "Frozen." It was such a huge hit that the inevitable flood of merchandise topped many Christmas lists that holiday season -- especially the singing Elsa doll.

Hatchimals were inspired by YouTube unboxing videos -- the company drew inspiration from this concept and put a robotic animal inside an egg, where it would hatch and "unbox" itself upon purchase. This hot toy of 2016 was still a top choice through the 2017 holiday season.

Mr. Potato Head first came out in 1949. Back then, the toy consisted of various pieces that kids could use to dress up an actual potato. The plastic body came out in the '60s, along with plenty of TV ads that made this a must-have toy.

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