Fads

Nine Awesome 80s Toys and Why Kids Wanted Them

What is it about 80s Toys that make them so Awesome?

The 80s was a decadent decade when kids learned quickly that more was better, and every parent on Earth was busy trying to buy their offspring the latest and greatest toys. Here are nine awesome 80s toys and the reasons why kids wanted them.

Our List Of Popular 1980s Toys

1

Cabbage Patch Dolls

80s toys

If there was one item on every toddler’s wishlist, it was the Cabbage Patch doll. These soft sculptured dolls had chubby cheeks and open arms, that just begged to be filled with a hug. Created by Xavier Roberts and manufactured by Coleco, the Cabbage Patch Kids revolutionized the rag doll and made them cool again. In fact, these toys were so popular that they were the cause of a what was known as the Cabbage Patch riots in the fall and winter of 1983 when fights actually broke out among parents vying for a very limited stock of these little guys and girls.

2

Star Wars Action Figures

80s toys

With the success of the first three Star Wars from 1978 to 1983, the first Star Wars action figures were almost assured to be a hit with kids and adult alike. The Kenner Toy Company sold these action figurines in the late 70s and 80s. Kids and adults who enjoyed the movies loved these heavy plastic toys that could stand up to the grueling life as a boy’s favorite plaything. They easily replaced cowboys and Indians as favorite characters in the battle for good versus evil. Adults found them to be affordable collectibles that gave a whole new meaning to playing with dolls.

3

My Little Pony

Kenner was not the only company to find success by manufacturing toys that followed a popular franchise. Hasbro went all out to make sure the fans of the My Little Pony television series could take home their favorite pony. With plastic bodies and brushable tails, these colorful equestrian darlings soon became a favorite among the 1980s toys.

4

Masters of the Universe

In 1981, Mattel came out with the Masters of the Universe collection of 5 1/2-inch action figures. Featuring the manly He-Man and his archenemy Skeletor, Masters of the Universe let kids mix magic and technology to mimic their favorite Saturday morning cartoon show.  Oddly enough, this is one time when the toy came before the TV show. The entire series was developed to sell the toys, and it worked like a charm.

5

Rubik’s Cube

Rubik’s Cube was the geek’s delight. This six sided cube was made up of colorful smaller cubes that rotated. The goal was to twist rows and columns until only one color made up each side of the cube. Originally marketed as the Magic Cube, everyone measured their intellect not only by their ability to solve the cube, but on how quickly they could do it.

6

Pound Puppies

For those kids who who could not get enough animals in their lives, parents found it more economical to buy the adorable Pound Puppies than real life pooping and wetting pets. However, parents did not simply buy Pound Puppies. They adopted these plush dogs with floppy years and big eyes from Tonka Toys, the geniuses who were able to turn their toys into a popular TV series as well.

7

View Master

No recap of favorite 1980s toys would be complete without a mention to the ultimate stereoscope. It was so affordable that everyone could have one. By slipping a picture reel into a slot, kids and adult could click their way through a range of color photographs of everything from popular vacation spots to their favorite cartoon characters. While the original View Master was created decades earlier, their popularity was still strong in the 80s.

8

Transformers

The Transformers that kids enjoy today are the same robot/car transforming characters that the kids of the 1980s loved. These alien bots clashed in battles of good and evil in the comics and on TV, and kids could relive their favorites battles with the Transformer action figures that actually did—you know—transform from car to bot and back again.

9

The Smurfs

1980s toys

The population was divided between loving and hating the goody-two-shoes blue gnome-like creatures who lived in mushrooms and had to stay one step ahead of the evil Gargamel and his cat Azrael. More disturbing than their personality identifying names, such as Handy Smurf and Brainy Smurf, was the fact there was only one lady smurf, Smurfette. As the animated series grew in popularity so did the success of the Smurf merchandise line that ranged from miniatures and dolls to games and breakfast cereal.

Looking back, it is easy to see that many of these 80s toys were marketed to children as part of a much larger campaign to promote an expansive franchise. At the time, though, these toys were just fun and allowed growing minds to fuel vivid imaginations.

Did we miss a toy that should have been on the list? Let us know by leaving your suggestion below.

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Jim H

Just like many of you who visit this website, Jim grew up in the 1980s. Since that timeframe, Jim has developed a love for website design and history. Jim and his wife Kim decided to put it all together and created inthe1980s.com. Thanks for visiting!