11 Retro Toys Poised for a Comeback

These days, nearly every kid (and kid at heart) out there is asking Santa for the latest hot-ticket electronic item. But, it is still as beneficial as it is nostalgic to go outside for the fresh air or do a creative exercise.

Even if a ball-in-a-cup cannot compete with Minecraft, there are a lot of vintage toys that are still entertaining today. This season, in addition to those Black Friday gadgets, it might be nice to participate in some outdoor activities or work on a project at home. We have compiled a list of old-fashioned games and novelties that stimulate the mind as well as the circulatory system.

In Case of Showers: Inside Toys

1. Magic Eight Ball®

There is an eternal mystery to asking a yes or no question, and then receiving a positive, negative, or neutral answer. They have ‘Magic Eight Ball’ apps that operate on the same principle, but they aren't the same as holding the future right in your hands. Technically, a Magic Eight Ball® is just a die in blue liquid that is bound to land on one of 20 cryptically inscribed sides. But, how do you know it’s not landing on the right answer? You don’t!

2. Yo-Yo’s

The standard for Yo-Yo’s is still the classic Imperial Duncan. You may want to consider a model that lights up, or an official competitive Yo-Yo.

There are even official Yo-Yo leagues where contestants perform routines in tournament play. Watch as Janos Karancz, the champion of the 2013 World Yo-Yo Contest 2013, performs his winning routine in Orlando, Florida.

3. The Original Spirograph®

You will be amazed to learn that the Original Spirograph® Design Set is one of the best selling toys in the history of mass retail. The retro toy helps you draw symmetrical geometric patterns using paper and several plastic rings. The modern version has been updated with two retractable ballpoint pens, a Spiro-Putty for stability, and brightly-colored pens and pencils.

4. Classic Ant Farm®

Staring at bugs is a classic pastime. According to Fat Brain Toys, it appeals especially to boys ages four to over 18, as well as girls who are about eight years old. You can order the ants by mail or go outside and catch them. The Classic version comes with four Four Antports™ for connecting to other habitats, clean tunneling sand, a tip proof stand, and an Ant Watcher's Manual.

5. Puzzles

A computer mouse can’t replicate the satisfying click that occurs when you join two puzzle pieces together. Companies like Snapfish or MailPix can make custom jigsaw puzzles out of digital photographs or images from your computer screen. Classic and retro playthings like Lincoln Logs, LEGOS, 3D Puzzles, giant floor puzzles, map puzzles, wire puzzles, and model toys all fit the bill.

6. Dress Up Clothes

Parenting bloggers at websites such as Childhood Beckons, Everyday Family, and Preschoolers at About.com, all agree that dress up play has benefits for girls and boys. Children flex their creative muscles when imagining scenarios while they dress up. They can also build the same kind of problem solving skills with a wooden puppet theater and marionettes, stuffed animals, or finger puppets.

Outdoor Toys (For Every Climate)

7. Hand-Painted Kites

Kites are relatively inexpensive and provide a great excuse to run around in a field for several hours. This speaks to the need to get out and play, a major national initiative in recent years. Look for a windy environment to fly your kite, such as the beach, or on top of a big hill. Make sure there are no vicious kite eating trees around. Good websites to shop for a large variety of kites are AfterSchool.com or Fat Brain Toys, as well as World Market, and L.L. Bean.

8. Wooden Boomerangs 

Assuming you have what it takes to make it fly back, a wooden boomerang is a fun toy. These classic toys have been around since prehistoric tribes used them for hunting and recreation. They have toy boomerangs for sale at places like Afterschool.com, Fat Brain Toys, and even REI. To obtain the real deal, check with the Boomerang Association of Australia.

9. Teepee Tents

Playing is more fun for girls and boys with their own tepee, whether they want to play indoors or outdoors. Instead of risking your furniture for a fort, maybe it’s time to get a pop up tent. Toy tents for children can be found in a variety of styles at places like Toys “R” Us, Fat Brain Toys, and Heirloom Wooden Toys.

10. Sleds & Toboggans

If you live in a cold winter climate, sliding down a snowy slope or skating on an icy pond is an option. The sled, or toboggan, is an old-fashioned toy that is still around today. They are available in old-fashioned models as well as updated versions like luge boards, children’s snowboards, pulled infant sleds, foam sleds, sledding mobiles, and seated sled boards.

11. Radio Flyer®

The manufacturers of your childhood red wagon are still around. In fact, they have a massive stock of Radio Flyers® to choose from on their official website. You have the option to customize your own adventure with the Build-A-Wagon and Build-A-Trike feature. Or, choose from the many pre-engineered Trikes & Bikes, Scooters, Ride-Ons, Wagons, and Accessories.

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