When I was in town yesterday, I noticed that there was a brand new toy shop ready getting ready to open shortly, probably just in time for Christmas, and it got me thinking about how different my expectations of toys were when I was growing up.
One of the earliest toys/games I can remember getting in the early 1970s, was a miniature post office set, with its own stationary and stamps, as well as bank notes and coins (the new decimal ones), postal orders etc. This set kept me and my younger sister amused for hours, We would take it in turns to be postmistress, and dish out money, stamp letters, and so on.
My brothers, had Meccano and Lego, and would build all sorts of things with it, as well as put together Airfix models, which they would sit huddled over, deep concentration on their faces,as they would try to glue together some fiddly part or other! We all used to play the family games like Frustration, Ker Plunk, Buckeroo, Mouse Trap etc, as well as Monopoly and Cluedo. These games, however usually ended in a family punch-up as inevitably one of my brothers would cheat, which would annoy the rest of us, and a lot of shouting and arguing would ensue! This, was all in good fun though and it wouldn’t be long before we would all play something else.
I remember also having this doll which I think was called ‘Tippy Tumbles’. She was battery operated and did forward rolls at the touch of a button. I was enthralled by this doll. The other dolls I had were either Cindy dolls, which I just used to dress in different outfits, or other baby like dolls which would close their eyes when laid down to look like they were sleeping,,They were not as good as my Tippy. Unfortunately though, she didn’t really last long before she got broken !…
Other things I remember playing with as a child were fuzzy felt, sticklebricks, and spirograph (that was fun making all these crazy patterns with the different stencil things)..I also loved to read (still do) and I would have a large collection of books in my room,which I would read over and over, especially those by Enid Blyton (Oh how I wanted to go to a boarding school like Mallory Towers)!
Although a lot of the games and toys that were around when I was younger are still available now (in some cases they have become popular again), children are more interested in the latest video games, or the trendiest apps!..
I must admit that I love an app as much as the next person, but then I am old and past it, and am entitled to while away the odd hour or so on trying to level up in Candy Crush or Farmville, or even beat my sister on 80’s music on Quiz Up, but it does seem a shame that today’s kids would rather get out their phones or tablets to play, then sit down around a table playing a good old board game!!
A lot of the kids also don’t have the patience to painstakingly piece together little bits in order to make a model aeroplane or complete a jigsaw puzzle; they are used to getting things now and do not want to wait for the end result. Some children don’t even like to read books anymore, which is a shame as they are missing out on so much; what it is to become immersed in a story. I still have some of my books from childhood where I have written my name and age proudly in the flyleaf as they were very dear possessions.
As for dolls today, they have really come a long way, they eat, drink, speak and even poo!! The children now are so much more informed than we were, and their expectations of toys and games are a whole world away from what we were happy with . I wish the toy shop lots of luck…I think they might need it!