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7:19 PM Sat, Sept. 22nd

Top 100 toys from the past very revealing

Unlike when children played with toys on the past top 100 list, many of our children today sit in front of television, cell phone or computer screens and turn on a switch, as if to demand, “Entertain me.”

Unlike when children played with toys on the past top 100 list, many of our children today sit in front of television, cell phone or computer screens and turn on a switch, as if to demand, “Entertain me.”

What do the following items all have in common: Buck Rogers rocket pistol, Gumby, fake vomit, creepy crawlers and a little red wagon?

These are all childhood toys that made Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Toys list.

The list starts in the 1920s with the Radio Flyer Wagon. It's amazing to me to think that such a simple toy with simple beginnings could bring so much happiness and fond memories to so many people throughout the world.

The list of most influential toys starts with a wagon painted red. Its inventor, Antonio Pasin, immigrated to America from Europe in 1913 at the age of 16. While living in Chicago he began building wagons out of stamped metal. He saved enough money to create the Liberty Coaster Company in 1923. It was there he began selling the little red wagon he dubbed the Radio Flyer after his amazement of the radio and the wonders of flight.

In the 1930s as Americans looked to the skies, youthful eyes watched as Amelia Earhart broke world flight records, and inventor Robert Goddard launched rockets out of this world. Young imaginations soared higher, and in 1934 the first space ray toy gun was produced called the Buck Rogers rocket pistol, fashioned after the weapon carried by the fictional Buck Rogers comic-book character. Like its fictional counterpart, the toy pistol made a zapping sound and helped children believe they really could reach for the stars. This would be the generation that would later take America into space, the moon and beyond.

As you glance down the list below you are likely to feel your mind start to drift back to a time when anything was possible -- a time when the world was still filled with wonder.

It saddens me that so many of our children today must be entertained. Too often they sit in front of a television, cell phone or computer screen and turn on a switch, as if to demand, "Entertain me." I am not saying that video games, movies and television shows are all bad, but I believe imaginative balance is being lost because we place too many glass screens in front of our children.

Most all of the toys on the list below energized the mind or the body. The Hula Hoop, Pogo Stick, Frisbee, Yo-Yo, Slip 'n Slide, SuperBalls, Nerf Balls, and the Radio Flyer Wagon got children moving. Games like Rock'em Sock'em Robots and Barrel Full of Monkeys encouraged interaction and spending time with friends and family. Chemistry sets, Play-Doh, Legos, Etch A Sketches and Easy-Bake Ovens exercised young minds and stretched the boundaries of creativity.

Thankfully, many of these toys are timeless and remain available today in some form. These non-digital toys allow opportunities for parents to play along with their children -- having fun, teaching and learning themselves.

I hope you enjoy the list:


1920s

~ Radio Flyer Wagon

~ Chemistry Set

~ Joy Buzzer

~ Yo-Yo

~ Pop-Up Book


1930s

~ Stuffed Mickey Mouse

~ Finger Paint

~ Sock Monkey

~ Buck Rogers Rocket Pistol

~ Microscope Set

~ Beach Ball

~ Red Ryder BB Gun

~ Army Men

~ View-Master


1940s

~ Bubble Solution

~ Little Golden Books

~ Slinky

~ Magic 8 Ball

~ Legos


1950s

~ Water Balloon

~ Silly Putty

~ Fisher-Price Little People

~ Colorforms

~ Paint-by-Numbers Kit

~ Mr. Potato Head

~ Wiffle Ball

~ Matchbox Car

~ PEZ Dispenser

~ Gumby

~ Play-Doh

~ Tonka Truck

~ Frisbee

~ Corn Popper

~ Two-Handed Pogo Stick

~ Hula Hoop

~ Barbie

~ Troll Doll

~ Plarail Toy Train

~ Chatty Cathy

~ Fake Vomit


1960s

~ Etch A Sketch

~ Rock-a-Stack

~ Ken

~ Slip 'n Slide

~ Chatter Telephone

~ G.I. Joe

~ Easy-Bake Oven

~ Creepy Crawlers

~ Rock'em Sock'em Robots

~ Johnny Seven O.M.A.

~ See 'n Say

~ SuperBall

~ Barrel of Monkeys

~ Radio-Controlled Car

~ Lite-Brite

~ Hot Wheels

~ Playmobil

~ Flatsy Doll

~ Barbie's Dream House


1970s

~ NERF Ball

~ Weebles

~ Paddington Bear

~ Baby Alive

~ Shrinky Dinks

~ Magna Doodle

~ Rubik's Cube

~ Stretch Armstrong

~ Star Wars Action Figure

~ Mattel Classic Football

~ Simon

~ Speak & Spell

~ Star Trek Electronic Phasers


1980s

~ Cabbage Patch Kids

~ Polly Pocket

~ Slap Bracelet

~ Masters of the Universe Action Figure

~ Glo Worm

~ Care Bear

~ My Little Pony

~ Transformers

~ Teddy Ruxpin

~ Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine

~ Pound Puppy

~ Koosh Ball

~ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

~ Skip-It

~ Glow Stick

~ Wrestling Buddy


1990s

~ Little Tikes Log Cabin

~ Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car

~ Super Soaker

~ Beanie Baby

~ Buzz Lightyear

~ American Girl Doll

~ Tickle Me Elmo

~ Furby

~ Neodymium-Magnet Toy


2000s

~ Bratz

~ Mindflex

~ Zhu Zhu

To see the original Time Magazine reports click the links below:

Click here for original story by TIME reporter Allie Townsend

Click here for full list with links to photos of each toy