Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame
Over the years, Barbie has had countless competitors, including Jem and the Holograms, the Disney Princesses, and even Spectra, the chic pink-haired gal from outer space with metallic limbs and eye makeup rivaling the likes of David Bowie. Among the many contenders, none have challenged Barbie quite like the Heart Family, who—ironically—appeared to be the complete opposite of all that Barbie represented.
Most of us recall our first bike with great fondness. We remember how long we waited for it, how difficult it was to first master, and how much fun we had with it. The day we received that bike was one to be remembered—a milestone, whether it was Christmas, the first day of spring, a birthday, or just an average Thursday. No wonder the bicycle holds a place of honor in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong.
Have you ever heard anyone say “I think I have too many Star Wars action figures”? Of course not. Who would ever say such a thing? So, you can understand my excitement last December when an opportunity arose to acquire a collection of Star Wars figures.
What is it about construction toys that continues to entertain us as both children and adults? Is it the satisfying “click” we hear as pieces come together? Is it the towering structures we create? Or is it the tactile nature of the medium, allowing us to bring imaginative play to life, creating something that, moments before, only existed in our minds?
The presents have been unwrapped, the new year celebrated, and the holiday treats devoured. Now what? For many folks, the post-holiday season appears bleak, with only frigid weather and sunless days stretching out over the weeks ahead. But for some, the fun has only begun. If you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, or snowmobiler, you’ve just started enjoying the season and delighting in fresh white blankets of snow. Perhaps you’ve even pulled out your snowshoes or the old Sno Bronco.
In the big picture of play, all toys have a purpose: they teach physical and mental skills, develop young imaginations, and encourage kids to think in new ways. However one category of toys has puzzled me for years: housekeeping toys. The term seems like an oxymoron. I love a well-cooked meal, nicely laundered and pressed clothes, and a thoroughly cleaned house as much as the next neatnik, but housekeeping as play?
Many of us grew up playing domino games. And once the game was over, we carefully lined the dominoes up on end, just to watch them topple in a chain reaction. With a history stretching back more than 700 years, dominoes today look the same as they did two centuries ago. Dominoes are devices, like cards and dice, which provide hundreds of different games. And like playing cards, a 2010 inductee to the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong, you can find dominoes in electronic versions just about anywhere today.