Monday, 20 December 2010

After the Top 100 Toys- How Could They Forget...?

Hey all.

Sorry have been a bit quiet, have had a bit of a cold for about two weeks which, despite attempts to try every over the counter remedy available in Boots would not go. 

In the end, on Friday, it manifested itself into possibly the worst Flu I have ever, ever had. I literally felt like I was dying. In the end it took until late Sunday to start to feel slightly human again, and not before I had lost a whole stone in weight (really, a whole stone) due to my inability to eat, and the amount of germs I sweated out. 

We all had it too- Littlest had to have the Doc visit him Friday as I was so worried (which due to his lungs means I always worry more), and Elder was sick too. Mini went to her Christmas party at playschool, and both Elder and I took it in turns to get her there and back so she didn't miss it, but I had a hotwater bottle hidden up my coat in the back of a cab! Then Saturday she was sick as well. Elder was then stuck in the town centre for five hours trying to do shopping, due to snow and lack of cabs and buses.

So, flu jabs all round next year!

Anyway, after feeling a bit better last night, I watched The 100 Greatest Children's Toys countdown on Channel 4. I'm a bit of a big kid at heart, so wanted to see what in the list I remembered.

What kind of surprised me was the amount of games consoles that made it into the list, especially the top ten. 

I don't own a console. Not one. I would like one- some of the dance and sing games on the Wii or the new Kinnect do peak my interest and I've heard that people have had great results from the Wii Fit.

But are they really toys? 

And when we have a generation of children with perhaps the fittest digits but the unhealthiest and under exercised everything else, is this a good thing? 

When I was a child we had an Atari console, in fact I wish I had one now, (sadly they cost silly amounts now, whereas I recall you could pick them up for pennies in the early nineties when Sega and Nintendo took off). But this was rationed, it was never set up in either of our bedrooms, and was very much the property of the parents. We also had a Dragon 32 computer too, which you could play games on. Except you had to write them on to the computers green screen first and put them onto tape- get one piece of code wrong and regardless of hours of RSI inducing work the whole thing would delete and you'd need to start again. 

The majority of the time was spent playing board games, or making up elaborate tales for my Barbie's, Sindy's and Jem doll. Or reading actual books. Or playing Spirograph. You know stuff that required effort.

So, there were a couple of toys which were my favourite as a kid, which we played come sun, rain or snow, which didn't come up on the list.

See how many you remember:

The Fashion Wheel.

Between the age of possibly 7 and 10 I was going to be a dancing fashion designer. And it was all thanks to the Fashion Wheel.

The Fashion Wheel was genius. It was basically a large Plastic disk, which you plonked a piece of paper on, and with a few twists you could select a fashion design for your model. You then closed the paper down using the lever, and then rubbed over the paper with a black rubber thing, which transferred, rather like leaf rubbing, a picture of the fashion you had picked.

You then removed the image, and could colour it in, or you could add texture (in 2D obviously) from another part of the wheel.

She had different hair styles, trousers, dresses and tops and skirts. I abandoned my Barbie for it. The Fashion Wheel. I loved it so much, and had whole pin boards full of it . 

However I do partly blame the Fashion Wheel for my sisters love in her early teens for nicking my clothes and cutting them to bits to re-design them. 

The Skip-it

Oh yes, in the 70s, Clackers (which made it to the list) could cause you broken wrists (If Blue Peter was to be believed). In the late 80s/early 90s it was your ankles which could send you to A and E due to the Skip-it.

The Skip-It was a large, hard plastic ball, attached to a plastic rope, which had a hoop on the end you fitted your ankle through. Then you got momentum going enough to make it go round and jumped over it. That's it.

Another inexplicably crap and dangerous toy, which I loved, and which I do believe my ankles are still suffering due to years of using.

And just like all the fad toys, there were even more dangerous Market knock off versions, which is where I was bought one from, and which the ball was even harder. (It was purple. And glittery) I once saw one of these things fly off the end and smack a dinner lady square in the face. Did we stop using them- no! We all probably had a Skip -It ankle which remains stronger than the other even now! 

God Bless it, you really worked up a sweat with it. 

The Lo-Lo Ball

Whoever invented this obviously didn't think the Skip-It was quite dangerous enough for under tens.

The Lo-Lo Ball could induce full body casts being necessary and was the only toy to be banned by my Primary School while I was there. But did we put down this football with its slippery plastic disc? NO! We just played it at home!

The idea of the Lo-Lo Ball was that you got your feet on the disc (not easy, you had to find a bike or person to hold onto) then squeezed them into the ball in the centre, and jumped. Again, simple.

But my could you mess yourself up falling off one. And that was the easiest part of the Lo-Lo Ball. I do recall that back then, Play Grounds and parks didn't have all that nice soft stuff on them they have now, which basically springs the child back up if they fall. It was gravel play grounds and that stuff stuck in your hands, knees or whichever part of you hit it, whether with force or otherwise. But did we give up, well, no we loved the Lo-Lo Ball. 

We had to share one between my sister and I, it had a fluorescent green disc and orange ball, and we argued over whose go it was for quite a number of holidays and weekends. If one burst mid bounce, well, that was you in an Ambulance. But again, it was something that no amount of miss adventure would dull the appeal of. I'm quite surprised they are still on sale now.

I'm half tempted to buy one!

So, what toys would make your list?


  1. Haha! Those bring back memories! I remember us girls having the Skip-It and Lo Lo Balls at school. I loved them, as they were 'physical' toys that I could actually use (what with me and my dodgy feet). Do you remember Miss Broadhurst?! Loads of kids hated her, but I got on alright with her. I will always remember her bringing in a toy similar to a Lo Lo Ball, which consisted of a disc for your feet, and a little maze like game in the middle with a ball, and you had to balance and move around to get the ball in the hole. She brought that in cos I was limited to certain things in PE and she didn't want me to miss out. I loved that thing!

    And it's funny you mention these, as I was talking to my other half about them the other day, and I was curious to see if you could still get them, and you can! I was so tempted to buy one. Although, I think I may actually end up in A&E if I was to use one nowadays!

    I loved them, such great memories!

  2. I remember board games, too, especially Monopoly which is still going strong of course. We had a chunky video game when we were kids, I remember it well - playing tennis on it and other games.

    CJ xx

  3. OMG!! FASHION WHEEL!! I HAD ONE OF THOSE!! I loved it so much :D You flipped the tiles over to get the texture.

    I'm sure mine was a rectangular one though - like a first edition - you slotted tiles in to make up your fashion model. I think the wheel was a later version. You're a few years younger than me, aren't you?

    *massive burst of nostalgia*


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