Remembering My 80’s Toys

It’s my birthday again and I’m nostalgic. There are a lot of things to remember as you step into those years well beyond the golden sparkle of post-college bliss. But for me, life is full of one thing at the moment: a playfully curious one-year-old whose toy collection (now thoroughly enlarged thanks to a first birthday party and wonderfully generous friends) spreads across the entire house. This has gotten me to thinking about some toys I grew up with that no redesign can better or some so obscure, I’m not even sure what a Google search would yield. Growing up 80’s meant some pretty rad playthings. Here are some favorites I remember. I know. It was awesome back then.

  1. Nerfuls
Photo from

An intrepid gang of Nerfuls ready for the playin’

When I talk about playing Nerfuls with Nathan, it sounds vaguely risqué, but it was just clean fun. There’s no toy on the market that closely compares. They were these interchangeable ball-headed-people-things with matchable bottoms and tops. They were goofy-looking and pretty gender neutral as a toy. They came with cars you could pop them into instead of their usual feet holders, skateboards and bikes for feet and all, and even little round houses with slides for the rolling. I wish I had saved them; goodness knows I have enough old junk lying around in my garage. Here’s a link to a glorious commercial for Nerfuls. Photo credit:

  1. Jem and the Holograms Dolls and Cassettes

    Synergy was Truly Outrageous!

    Synergy was Truly Outrageous!

Did you know there’s a movie in the works? I know, I’m really excited/terrified too. Unlike some digital download that comes with toys now, it was instant gratification (I really can’t type this word without thinking about this ) with the inclusive tape featuring songs from that particular band member. Of course I loved my Jem but I also had some black and hot yellow tapes from my Misfit dolls. You could jam out to their Glitter Rock at the same time you combed their hair or changed their clothes. Amazing. Photo credit:

  1. My Little Pony

    Surprise was a favorite.

    Surprise was a favorite.

I’m not talking Friendship is Magic, although, of all the remakes of my childhood, this one is probably the best, but the original, real deal, sweet-smelling plastic goodness. I had a duffle bag full of ponies that I would dress up with barrettes, use as mounts for my Jem dolls, colonize entire floor sections of my bedroom, and take pretty much anywhere. They were bigger than the new ones and very hollow. They originated the little insignia printed on their back haunch, which told you something about their personality, but unlike now, we basically picked our favorite by how much we liked the symbol paired with the color of the pony and their hair. Like so many of its 80’s counterparts, it was paired with a TV show and spinoff movies.  Photo credit: Flickr lazysundae

I had this one!

  1. Pound Puppies

Cuddly, cute and a bit sad, these adoptable pets were hard to resist. They had those big eyes and soft coats. I was always one to snuggle with a stufty (as Sara called them). I remember having this one dog with a gray coat, brown spots and big brown floppy ears. Yikes, they did a remake of this too? Will the HUB never leave my childhood alone?  Photo credit

  1. Mc Donald’s Happy Meal Toys

It was a treat for me to get a Happy Meal. And the real reason wasn’t the food. I’d say a good portion of my favorite toys were birthed from a plastic wrapper that smelled faintly of greasy burger and had some flecks of fry salt clinging to it. Muppet Babies, Care Bears, Disney characters, you name it; they came from a Happy Meal. And they were good toys. Sturdy, dependable, and always a likeness to the original, these toys were prized my neighborhood over. When I was sick with chicken pox, one of my friends left a box of Happy Meal play things (that I didn’t already own) that saved my bedroom-ridden self from boredom that week. It wasn’t only the toys too, it was the tie-ins. They just don’t offer glasses, stuffed animals or Christmas ornaments from the latest family blockbuster anymore. I still hang my Cinderella mice and Rescuers ornaments on my tree. Imagine if today’s McDonald’s sold Avengers tumblers or Harry Potter house goblets for $1.99. We never knew how good we had it.

Muppet Babies were pretty much the best thing ever.

Muppet Babies were pretty much the best thing ever.


I still have some of these...somewhere.

I still have some of these…somewhere.

Still hang these bad boys on my tree.

Still hang these bad boys on my tree.










Photo credits Muppet; Fraggle Cars; Jaq and Gus Ornaments









Just to prove my point, here’s a fellow blogger who agrees. This is a great list.  What do you remember?