Metatalktail Hour: Kiddie Toys October 14, 2017 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! I'm off this week and this cortex goon is in charge, so ... . Anyway, Rhaomi wants to know your favorite toy growing up -- as well as any other exciting happenings in your life this week!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 8:16 PM (121 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Bicycles. When I was a youngster, bicycles equaled freedom. Freedom and extended range. And speed. Freedom, extended range, and eye-watering downhill speed ...I'll come in again.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:30 PM on October 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

My mom says my favorite baby toy was the Fisher Price Happy Apple, which she saved and my kids now play with. Other than that, LEGO LEGO LEGO.

The big excitement in the McGee house this week is that the San Francisco branch of the family had to flee the wildfires so all of the McGee children (my generation) and grandchildren (my kids and their cousins) are unexpectedly in Chicago, for the first time (since everyone was poppin' out babies this summer)! My parents may faint from joy. We likely were not going to have everyone in town for Christmas, so having everyone here is super-exciting, wildfires notwithstanding.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:34 PM on October 14, 2017 [7 favorites]

Doggie had once been a stuffed puppy toy, but years of innocent abuse at my hands had made him a vaguely human-shaped collection of cloth and patches, mostly green and blue. By the time I was 6, I no longer had to take him with me everywhere, but he went to bed with me and all around the house. One day -- I'm sure I left him on the top of the dryer -- Doggie could not be found when I came home. I hunted around the house for days, behind the fridge and under the couch, determined to bring him back. Two years later we moved out of that house; he hadn't turned up even after the movers carted everything away. It's 2017, but when I talk to my mom and she remarks "guess what turned up today?", I first have to ask "Doggie?"
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:37 PM on October 14, 2017 [17 favorites]

My imagination, stuffed animals, Sit 'N' Spin 4eva.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:39 PM on October 14, 2017

Also. My blankie. My blankie which my mother made disappear forever while I was visiting my grandma' dad's mom. After my parents were divorced. The adults apparently decided five was too old for a pink blankie.

posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:42 PM on October 14, 2017 [10 favorites]

The first specific one that came to mind just now was the Merlin game, a red electronic toy that would play ...tic tac toe and other games, I guess (?). At the time it was way cool.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:44 PM on October 14, 2017 [11 favorites]

(My parents may have been advised by a professional to disappear the blankie. I do not know.)

I also had an imaginary Grizzly Bear named Bosley for a couple years. My childhood seems super effed up. It really wasn't, though. It was just growing up in the late 70's standard kind of messed up.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:46 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

nothing could have been more important or more loved than my first record player, a denim suitcase-style affair from sears just like this one.

runners up: 2xl (the 8-track one, not the cassette one, i'm old), the 'show and tell' record player with the built-in slide projector, capsela (who doesn't love to build skylab in the bathtub) and the radio shack robot arm toy (armitron?)
posted by mintcake! at 8:49 PM on October 14, 2017

I got a Merlin for Christmas one year and I was so excited! My parents got one of the last ones at the mall and were quite pleased with themselves.

One of my first favorite toys was a doll whom I christened "Special Dolly". I think I got her when I had to stay in the hospital overnight for some reason.

Other longtime favorites included a collection of Fisher Price little people playsets. I had the farm, the castle, the schoolhouse, the yellow family house, and the boat (not shown in the article) .

In other news, the dishwasher died at the age of 13, so I bought a new one tonight.
posted by mogget at 9:02 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a stuffed giraffe that I loved more than anything.

This week I had to evacuate twice, with two 14-pound cats in tow, and it's pretty much been a week full of hellishness. I think my apartment is still standing, but I'm not positive. Oh! Just got an email from my landlord, and my house is still there! Yay! That is good. Still close enough to a mandatory evacuation zone that I'm going to give it some time.
posted by lazuli at 9:08 PM on October 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

I loved my Texas Instruments Speak and Spell to distraction.
posted by msali at 9:13 PM on October 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

When I grew up on a street that ended one block from the busy boulevard my bicycle was my ticket to freedom (and later, for the 15 minutes it was legal, a motorized mini-bike).

Indoors, I learned very little about construction with Kenner Girder & Panel sets, and nothing about robotics from Ideal's Mr. Machine. Mattel's talking puppets of popular TV & cartoon characters were my companions (Cecil the Sea Serpent was my favorite). And I had one simple stuffed doggie that I curled up with in bed and named Waldorf Astoria because I thought the name sounded funny.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:16 PM on October 14, 2017

I had a lot of LEGOs I loved, and various other toys. I shot a whole lot of baskets, hit a lot of tennis balls, kicked the soccer ball around a good bit. I rode my bike a lot. I had a good few ponies and Barbies.

Among the toys I've thought about the most often, though, was a pony I had for but a single afternoon: Crumpet. She was so beautiful, with that golden, almost strawberry blond hair... Then she fell out of the cab of my mother's pickup truck when we stopped at a quarry. I realized before we left, and they went back and searched for her—alas, to no avail. I miss that pony.

This is probably one of the reasons why I periodically have dreams where I discover a secret cache of new So Soft or sparkle ponies I've never seen before. It's just one of those things from childhood.
posted by limeonaire at 9:19 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

My grandma made me a terrycloth pig named Peacho that I used as a pillow until it disintegrated.

Lite-Brite was the most hypnotically beautiful toy, especially in the dark! Which reminds me of that glow in the dark sand toy that made endless glowing desert landscape paintings.
posted by moonmilk at 9:21 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

My NES and, later, Gameboy, were hugely central fixtures of my childhood. I spent a lot of time playing video games on them, in between other things like reading books and riding bikes and building legos. Just for sheer impact and covetedness, nothing is as totemic in my childhood leisure time as those Nintendo machines.

But when I was younger I had a Battle Damage He-Man and that thing was pretty dope for something that was also so incredibly stupid. The spring in there doesn't stand up to a ton of repeated exercise, so eventually once He-Man got battle damaged, he stayed battle damaged.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:40 PM on October 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ooooh the Fisher Price Little People, which always appealed to my love of a crisp taxonomy.
posted by tapir-whorf at 9:44 PM on October 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

I too loved my he-men with a fiery passion. My favourite was probably Stinkor (they melted patchouli oil into the plastic, genius!), or Moss Man (who I swear also had a strange, piney scent).

I'm knackered this Sunday afternoon. I had basically the whole week off with a flu of some description, and it was my eldest's birthday yesterday. As a treat we took her camping to a local national park in the city, which was fun. Kept my poor wife awake with my coughing. Kids slept through. My daughter cracks me up - like me, if she gets too hot she starts sleep talking something crazy, and in the middle of the night she sits bolt upright, "DON'T DO IT EDWARD!!" (a friend in her kindergarten class). "I'LL TELL!"

Even in her dreams she's a goody-two-shoes. Love it.
posted by smoke at 10:00 PM on October 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

I also have answered this question kind of with how I played with Barbie, but maybe a better answer is that my favorite toy was my imagination.
posted by barchan at 10:02 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Giant Bag of Green Army Men. Many battles near the brick fireplace. We lost many soldiers along the way. But we fought the good fight.
posted by Fizz at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Speaking of beautifully long-lost childhood toys, this thread inspired me to repurchase the Barbie a classmate stole from me in elementary school, Island Fun Miko. She was so awesome, I understand why someone wanted to steal her—her purple eyes and that long dark hair were rad. I have very little use for a Barbie in my present life, but being able to buy her back feels kind of nice.
posted by limeonaire at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2017 [6 favorites]

The threadbare stuffed animal I held onto at night was a plush shark, though simpler than that one. By day, Acroyear 2 and a green Space Glider explored the alien landscapes of my room. At 9-12, I was mostly into comic books. Avengers and X-Men got me hooked, so I preferred titles with teams or revolving line-ups like Defenders, Marvel Team-Up, Marvel Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Two-in-One, or the Legion of Super-Heroes. The single character series I especially liked often had an SF aspect, like Killraven, John Carter Warlord of Mars, Deathlok, Man-Thing, Manhunter (the Paul Kirk inserts in Detective Comics), or Kamandi. I can't recall a series I wouldn't read though--I tried as many as I could.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:08 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had some relatives who thought I would love Barbies, and they would send me Barbies (some were probably collectible, but I was like seven so what did I know) but what I liked best was making houses for the Barbies out of the boxes they got mailed in. I was also completely horse-mad as a child, and a lot of these boxes got turned into barns and stables for the Breyer horses I had. (Which I played with way more than the Barbies.)
posted by rtha at 10:14 PM on October 14, 2017 [4 favorites]

When I was a kid I had a sticker chart for a time. It wasn't one of those carefully organized ones with defined rewards you hear about now. I think my mom occasionally put new habits to try to gain on it and I got a sticker in the next open box whenever I remembered to do something (no demerits or blank spaces for forgetting). I know for sure that turning out lights when I left a room was one of them and I'm pleased that one stuck for life. There were probably things about brushing my hair (because you wouldn't want that frizz to have a chance to be curls, straight-haired parents), and other taking care of myself without reminders kind of stuff. When there seemed to be a nice lot of stickers (yeah, I checked with my mom and she said I told her when I thought the chart was complete) my mom gave me my reward. Twenty dollars to spend on anything I wanted at the toy store. I think that may have been the only time I ever was set loose in a toy store with money. It was tremendously exciting. I looked on all the aisles. And I just knew that the stuffed snow leopard was what I had to have. Her name is Spots. My dad later wondered why, when I had twenty or so stuffed animals already. But all the rest had been given to me. I didn't even like some of them, but didn't want to hurt their feelings. I have since gotten rid of almost every stuffed animal that was given to me, (the more favored of them going to my daughter) but I still have Spots. Sometimes when my spouse is away, she steals his side of the bed. She doesn't have spots anymore, just a uniform gray color. She even had her eyes fall out, at different times. After the first one, which I found staring up at me on my pillow (thanks for the nightmares, Spots), I got her an eyepatch. When she lost the second one, some time in my twenties, I replaced both eyes with shiny, silvery buttons. Still love snuggling that little snow leopard.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:23 PM on October 14, 2017 [11 favorites]

Mr Machine

I sooooo wanted this toy when I was a kid. SOOO MUCH! I begged for it for Christmas ('68) and, despite finding it in the secret cupboard a few days before the 25th, I was still super excited and delighted to unwrap in on Christmas Day. When a bushfire rampaged through my valley a few weeks later, Mum said grab a pillow and my favourite toy and get in the car, quick! It took a micro second to choose between Mr Machine and my Barbies, and I don't think my Barbies ever forgave me.
posted by Thella at 10:31 PM on October 14, 2017 [5 favorites]

like me, if she gets too hot she starts sleep talking something crazy, and in the middle of the night she sits bolt upright, "DON'T DO IT EDWARD!!" (a friend in her kindergarten class). "I'LL TELL!"

Hahahaha Smoke, earlier this week I woke up enough to wake up my husband in the middle of the night and was all, "Hey [pet name], do you remember how the Victorians were super into exploration and nature and greenhouses and orchid hunters and natural history and collecting birds and exploring Africa and stuff? . . . . So do you think the Victorians called night farts 'bed elephants'?" And then I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. Leaving him wide awake to ponder. . .well, several things, probably.

I don't remember any of it, he had to tell me the next morning.
posted by barchan at 10:40 PM on October 14, 2017 [18 favorites]

I loved my Sylvanian Families! I am finally recovering from 3 slipped discs, got a new physio this week after seeing the interim guy this summer, and she is much better.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:15 PM on October 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

So do you think the Victorians called night farts 'bed elephants'?

I have no idea about the Victorians, but I'm definitely doing so from now on!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:19 PM on October 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a favorite stuffed animal, a cat named "Mashed Potatoes Roll-Down-Stairs", which is the best name I ever thought up for anything.

I have a least favorite toy. It was a little airplane with a gas powered engine that really flew. It was not remote control. You control it with a grip, and long tethers going from the grip into the plane to move the elevators. So what you do is stand in a place and hold onto the grip turning in a circle as the gas powered plane buzzes around you. There is no way to stop the plane; you just keep turning in a circle until the plane burns through its little sip of fuel. Like this. You do this with your asshole Dad nearby, ready to scream at you if the plane, the car, or the house is damaged, in any of the several hundred ways you can imagine things going wrong.

I never flew it. We went to the basement to prep it. My dad put it in a vise to test the engine. He poured in a little gas, and the thing buzzed to life, surprisingly loud, blowing a lot of air. I probably cried, said I didn't want to do it, and went away. I think my dad flew it himself later? I never saw it again nor was it ever mentioned again. Test failed.
posted by fleacircus at 11:37 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does anyone remember pyjama dogs? They were a stuffed toy dog with a zip in the belly and a cavity for storing your pyjama's. Googling pyjama dog brings up dogs in pyjama's, not the other way round.

We were a low income family when I was growing up because my dad had retired early due to ill health. Like most kids of poor families, I knew that money was really tight. One birthday, my Dad had the job of buying my birthday present - a pyjama dog. But instead of buying one and wrapping it up, he took me to the store to choose my own. OMG, there were so many to choose from! Pink and blue fluffy ones, white ones with sparkly collars, so many pyjama dogs! I walked amongst the display tables petting them all and wondering which one I should select. There must have been some price labels but I didn't see them and although I knew to choose frugally, I wasn't sure which were the most expensive. I thought the brightly coloured sparkly ones would be priciest so I gravitated toward a table of black and brown plain ones. My hand reached out and touched a black one and I knew in an instant that it was the one for me. He was a good size, and hugging him felt great.
"This one, " I said.
"You sure? Don't you want a coloured one?"
"Nope. I want this one. I'll call him Snoopy."
"Here. Let me see."
I handed him over and Dad read the label. "Ohhkay. Nice choice."

There was a bit of drama when we got home and I could hear Dad say, "It was the one she wanted." I thought my mother, who never liked me much, was berating him for buying me a non-girly pyjama dog. Turns out we had to eat cheaply for the next few weeks. My choice was the priciest in the store and, 46 years later, Snoopy's lush curly wool and lambskin hide still looks and feels as good as new. Thanks Dad.
posted by Thella at 12:07 AM on October 15, 2017 [27 favorites]

Either Astro Wars, or the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, or the pair of oddly shaped dice I inherited from a White Witch and occasionally used in decision making.
posted by Wordshore at 12:22 AM on October 15, 2017

Favorite? Hm. I loved my Matchbox and Corgi cars, some of which would be fairly valuable if they hadn't been played with, but good on me (and all kids) for actually playing with them. One accessory which was really cool were these little "suitcases" which unfolded into a scene with roads and some buildings for Matchbox-sized cars to drive around on. I would link to some photos (they're called "'Matchbox' City" and "'Matchbox' Country") but my choices are ebay or pinterest*, so sadly no.

* I hate pinterest's pollution of image searches with the heat of 1,000 suns, since the photos often lack any attribution and are tiny copies of long-lost originals, presented on an impossible to navigate piece of crap website. Ahem.
posted by maxwelton at 12:26 AM on October 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

I got a stuffed unicorn for my sixth birthday. It...okay, she...was just the right size and shape to use instead of a pillow, so that's what I did. Thirty-four and a half years later, I am still using this (now very battered and no longer even remotely white) unicorn instead of a pillow. The other human I now share the bed with has been very kindly accepting of this... . (Partly it's sentiment on my part, but mostly just that my head and neck and shoulders are completely used to this precise height and texture and degree of hardness, and I would never find a pillow that felt as comfortable.)

Also smoke, I hope you feel better soon; "DON'T DO IT, EDWARD!" went a long way toward brightening my very rainy Sunday.
posted by huimangm at 12:39 AM on October 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

As we prepare for the mid-October heatwave forecast for the UK, it is healthy to remember that Christmas Eve is just ten weeks from today.
posted by Wordshore at 12:44 AM on October 15, 2017

Kelly's Car Wash.

Any ball from any sport, but especially baseball and basketball.

Battling Tops.
posted by AugustWest at 1:08 AM on October 15, 2017

my head and neck and shoulders are completely used to this precise height and texture and degree of hardness, and I would never find a pillow that felt as comfortable

Don't you hate it when "your" pillow ruins you for other pillows - makes it so annoying when traveling, or even just buying a new pillow!

My preferred pillow is, frankly, getting well past replacement age, and worse, it's wafer-thin (closer to a folded towel in terms of width). There is nothing like it, I hate travelling and getting stuck with giant pillows that crank my chin into my throat. There's no other embrace for me; I love you Flatsy!
posted by smoke at 1:15 AM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

My grandmother found Little Ted lost on the bus she was the Conductress for in Walsall. Some poor kids loss became my greatest joy. He was already well loved by the time he found his way to me, but she fixed him up, put new button eyes and new felt pads on his paws. He's got virtually no fur left and his growl wore out of before he came to me (you can feel the spring from his voicebox in his chest when you hug him), his eyes look in different directions and he's rather scrawny.

But he's mine.
posted by arcticseal at 1:59 AM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Buncha star wars figures. Assorted spaceships. A gradually-increasing Lego supply. A stuffed Bugs Bunny that went everywhere with me and disintegrated over a period of years.

But the hammer.
I got a real actual hammer one Christmas to smash rocks with. Googling says geologists' rock hammers have the flat chisel back like that one, but it was probably a bricklayer's hammer. No safety goggles, note. Sadly, after having it a few years (two or three, I think), one day I left it in the yard and it went poof. I have no idea what happened to it.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:18 AM on October 15, 2017

My dad was an elementary/middle school principal and brought home one of those large maroon playground balls—maybe a little larger than a basketball? Do schools still have those now? Anyway, my friends and I thought it was so cool to play with that ball whenever we wanted without having to wait and take turns like we did at school.
He also used to bring home extra lesson plan books and grade books and I spent so many hours filling them in with imaginary lists of students and lesson plans for my imaginary classroom. I also had a chalkboard on an easel that got a lot of use. By the time I became “real” teacher at 22 I already had a lot of practice!
posted by bookmammal at 3:52 AM on October 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

I spent hours playing pretend as a small child, with increasingly more dramatic and terrible things happenings. Ellis Island and Oregon Trail were my favorite settings, but Irish Potato Famine and Wilderness Survival (especially after reading Hatchet and Julie of the Wolves) were also good. When my little brother was old enough to be coerced into playing with me, he'd refuse to be a human, so I was often accompanied in my adventures by a goat named William or a cat named Letter.

I loved workbooks - math workbooks especially - and while my dad was finishing his PhD I would go to the library or the student union or his office with him and bring along my workbooks and do my work while he was doing his work.

As far as physical toys go, by far my most treasured possessions were my two American Girl Dolls. I got Kirsten for my 9th birthday from my parents, and I got Josefina as an illicit Secret Santa present from my aunt (she had to get permission from my grandma to go above the $20 limit, and then she couldn't give it to me at the family Christmas gathering because my cousins would have been jealous, so she gave me a book about girls on the Oregon Trail and then snuck the box to me in the car as we were all leaving). She had two sons but desperately wanted someone to play dolls with, so she came up a few times to play with Josefina and Kirsten and I. My mom and I would sew clothes for them and I built/found some furniture, and it was great. Around the same time, I got an American Girl Theater video game, where you could put together plays with different sets and clothes and movements based on stock clips with weird microsoft generated voices, and it was awesome.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:02 AM on October 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

I am on vacation in Halifax! Yesterday we did a bunch of stuff (Peggy's Cove, Nocturne, farmer's market, pub food, walking walking walking). I think the plan today is boats and art galleries. I miss the cat but the weather here has been fantastic, and pedestrians are treated so well here I can't even. I had to exclaim to my travel partner who is a Nova Scotian the cars just ... stop for you? So you can cross the road even when there is no traffic light or stop sign? Is this real? Yes. Yes it is.

On to the topic this week: I had a lot of barbies growing up, but I don't remember if I had a toy that I loved to death or had to sleep with. My sister had Best Teddy, a crocheted grey teddy bear that stayed with her through various hospital stays as a child.
posted by janepanic at 4:03 AM on October 15, 2017

I can't think of my true 'favorite', but we always got stuffed bunnies at Esater. One year I got Bosley Bunny and my sister got Babs (Babette) bunny. They were puppets, that had the facial expression of just injecting slightly too much Novocaine and/or horse tranquilizers... Anyways... Bosley went everywhere with me. (At Disneyland, Brair Fox put him in his mouth for a photo op, and I held onto him tightly so he didn't get flung off the train at Big Thunder Mountain.) He was threadbare after a few years, and my mom The Easter Bunny thought it would be a good idea to replace him after she found a duplicate... so I got Barnaby Bunny who became a much fluffier less threadbare version of Bosley.

I didn't give up Bosley. Instead, I now dragged both everywhere. That is until...

So as a side note we had a puppy, which was a Maine Black Dog... which is a black lab crossed with anything else so that they maintain their black lab shape but you know they aren't 100% purebread because of one (random) non-black lab feature. They can almost always be found in the back of a truck. (Seriously, if you want a dog, buy a truck, drive to costal Maine, sleep in the cab one night, and look in your truck bed and there is a 75% chance that there is now a Maine Black Dog in your truck bed). Anyways, my dad played with ours with our stuffed animals, and - lo and behold - Boobey Bear (pronounce Bouh-bee) was the first to have his face eaten - unexpectedly. This lead to learning how to put away our stuffed animals. About a year later I didn't put away Barnaby, and guess what - he was eaten. He also became her favorite, which was sad and sweet because now, my sister had Babs, I had Bosley and the dog had Barnaby.

Anyways, I grew up and eventually Barnaby had to be gotten rid of - which was sad for my dog. And eventually I decided it was time to give up Bosley. So, I got a shoe box, poked holes in the side for breathing room, wrapped it in Christmas wrap (it was Christmas), put a fake rose between his hands, and 'burried' him in the pile of Christmas presents under the tree. It was sort of a Viking sendoff and the happiest dog day ever.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:34 AM on October 15, 2017 [11 favorites]

This will surprise nobody. Guns.

My parents bought me a cork firing one at The Alamo when I was three and later my Mom bought two of those Star Trek thingies that fired the plastic disks and we'd chase each other around the house. She usually won and would critique my tactics. It was a bonding experience that served us well for what came later.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:35 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

When I was 6 and it was close to easter I met the worlds most perfect stuffed bunny. She’s sort of humanoid shaped with a blue body and white head, paws, and feet. But she doesn’t have feet she has...stuffed bunnies! Are they slipppers? Is she wearing the heads of her enemies? Does she have heads for feet? Who knows? Her name is Miss Moneypenny because I heard that name as a kid and thought it was the best name in the world. I’ve had Miss Moneypenny for 30 years and I hope I have her for 30 more.
posted by supercrayon at 4:37 AM on October 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

I may be rtha's equivalent. I loved my herd of horses...I always had the thrill/delima of selecting one every year as my special birthday gift. Occasionally my grandparents would give me one too. I had over a dozen. They may still exist in my mom's attic (or be cracked and melted remainders of easier times.) I made them stables out of boxes and we had fantastic adventures together.

Never liked dolls and managed to never have a barbie; however, I agreed to a Skipper doll (barbie's sister?) only as a way to get a very cool tree house toy.

But my all time favorite toy was legos. My older brother and I played with them endlessly. There were no kits back then; just lovely batches of pieces. We created descriptors for pieces so when building our creations we could both search for the 2x6 or 2x6-flat or the flat-2 or whichever piece was needed. Most important was the large flat lego board that was used as our building platform. My brother aged out of them but I occasionally played with them in high school (I didn't have friends during high school (but I had a horse!!!!) and we lived on a small acerage.) By the time the legos were passed on to my nephews ther was a small footlocker almost full of legos.

This week has been emotionally difficult. All the recent bad events have reached a tip-over threshold for me, and I'm not even directly impacted. Coupled with mom showing more signs of dementia, one of my jobs being a 'difficult climate' and having 0 days off for the last several months: I'm taking today off from work.

Of course the alarm clock woke me up at 4:30 AM since that's my normal Sunday get up for work time. But, now, I'm about finished lounging in bed and will spend the day doing household stuff.

Hugs to all who are hanging on to existence.
posted by mightshould at 5:21 AM on October 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

Judging by batteries question: Bop-a-Bear
posted by Consult The Oracle at 5:46 AM on October 15, 2017

My favorite toy was definitely my Kenner Princess Leia doll, who I would make "marry" Ken even though she was slightly taller, much huskier, and could beat him in an arm wrestling contest. I also took her hair buns out because they seemed impractical for a go-getter like Princess Leia.

The runner up is my large collection of paper dolls. I had Princess Diana, Trixie Belden, the "Heart" Family, Vivien Leigh, Jem, etc. etc. My grandmother got me into them because, as a child of the Depression, her only toy was a collection of paper dolls she cut from the newspaper once a week. It turns out that they're a pretty great imaginative toy, and I would spend hours making up stories in my head about my paper people while My Little Ponies, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Smurfs, Lego bricks, and dozens of other toys gathered dust on my shelves. (I loooved Legos, but my brother had all of the awesome sets and I just had a tub of green, yellow, and blue.)
posted by xyzzy at 5:53 AM on October 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

On my sixth birthday, I received Snuggles (that's a Pinterest pin). I took her everywhere and slept with her until I was ... married and my first husband was all "That doll looks terrifying." Okay, fine. I switched to a lovely teddy bear. I need something to hold when I sleep and the humans I shared my bed with through the years moved too much. Snuggles went into the closet. Until stupid-ass Toy Story 2 and Jessie's song and since then she's either on the dresser or in the closet with the door not completely slid closed so she can "see" out. Snuggles is 39 years old.

Second place goes to my old Sit-n-Spin, which I wrapped myself onto until I was 9 or 10.

Misterussell's choice is his Construx collection.
posted by kimberussell at 6:07 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

One of the earliest toys I remember, and one that I loved dearly, was a little plush lion by Steiff. He must have looked a lot like this. I got him when I was three and called him Leeuwjo, probably because I'd heard the name Leo mentioned in connection to lions, and leeuw is Dutch for lion. I took him everywhere. But two or three years later I forgot him in a holiday cottage in France when we went back home, and my parents contacted the person we rented it from but Leeuwjo never made it back to the Netherlands and to me.

This is the first time I'm seeing the name Leeuwjo in writing and it looks weird.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:10 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had so much cool stuff that I feel bad even telling anybody about it. I had a stuffed Snoopy that I named "Underdog", for one thing. I had a Six Million Dollar Man doll, made with a hole in the back of the head so you could look through his bionic eye, which had a crummy plastic lens in it through which you could see ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I had several pieces of Noah's Arc, which were given away by Arco's gas stations as some kind of promotional stunt, and were basically useless unless you had the whole thing. I had the Visible Woman, who was not supposed to be a superhero but I was not sure what the point was otherwise. I had a science kit with a microscope and a test tube rack that was supposed to be full of weird chemicals, only my uncle took out anything that seemed dangerous, which basically left me with one tube of Ferrous Oxide, which was a GIANT ripoff. I had one of the big Shogun Warriors, Mazinga, which was too big to use for anything and basically SUCKED, and represented my first conscious experience of being misled by advertising. I had a Western-style rifle that was probably supposed to be a cork gun, but you could stick the end of it in the ground and it would pick up a little clod of dirt which you could then shoot at people, which was pretty cool. I had one Planet Of The Apes action figure--that guy in the center of the picture with the burlap vest, and you can imagine how much fun it was playing with him with no other Planet Of The Apes stuff: "No need to thank me, citizen, it's all in a day's work for Poorly Dressed Man."

I'm not sure I had a favorite--everything got used in a fairly even rotation, and all of it ranked lower than the comic book collection and, later, the Atari 2600...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:18 AM on October 15, 2017

I still have one of my old toy blocks -- I kept it for years because it has a J and a P on it, which are my initials, and now I'm old and I keep it just because.

I tried to come up with some other toys I had but then I got all nostalgic & weepy and had to stop. This happens to me a lot these days.
posted by JanetLand at 6:30 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Before Speak & Spell (which was also well loved) I had a Speak & Read, which remains legendary in my family because I played with it so much I wore it out. My parents sent it to Texas Instruments to see if it could be fixed, they sent it back and said "sorry, nothing we can do".

I remember almost nothing about the games or why I loved it so much - I could already read just fine so it wasn't teaching me anything - but my lifelong love of a) word games and b) TI products can be traced straight back to this toy.
posted by Flannery Culp at 6:57 AM on October 15, 2017

Plastic soldiers.

Obviously, I eventually grew out of such childish things, and started playing with lead soldiers.
posted by pompomtom at 7:00 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

He wasn't my favorite toy or anything, but I had a pull-string doll of Count von Count from Sesame Street. Pull the string, and he'd say his catch phrases and such. I went back to visit my mom years later, and found the toy in my old room, and pulled the string out of curiosity. Age had done a job on the mechanism inside, and out came this hellish, slowed down voice slurring "coowwwwuunnnnttiiiiiinnnnnng iihhhhhhzzzzzz fffffuuuuuuunnnnnnn tuuuuuu duuuuuuu roharuharuah"

It was a little scarring, is all I'm saying.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:02 AM on October 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

Like rtha and mightshould, I had a herd of Breyer horses. I remember exactly how they felt in my hands, and how they smelled. I don't know what happened to them. I don't know what happened to a lot of my childhood, though, so that makes a certain amount of sense.

This week? Packing to move across country (again). Packing is actually 10% packing and 90% looking for the tape. I'm too old for this, but for some reason I can't afford to pay a squadron of burly youngsters to do it for me. Well. The end will most certainly justify the means.
posted by scratch at 7:03 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

The ones I still have are a Steiff spotted horse (this one is similar) I grabbed onto at the store when I was 3 and would not be parted from, so my parents reluctantly shelled out the considerable money (for their budget) to buy him. I also still have a Creative Playthings wooden kaleidoscope that has a little trapdoor that was a gift from my uncle. This trapdoor enables you to put any old thing you want into it to make the patterns, which was a lot of fun for my sister and me. I still have what I left in there the last time I played with it, which consists of 2 buttons, a marble, some beads, and some small plastic figures: a green skull, a green lunchbox, a white Scotty dog, and a silver cocktail shaker. This combo still makes some interesting patterns with the kaleidoscope.

Things I don't have, but adored, were a succession of stuffed animals (1 dog and 2 cats) that I would sleep with (and suck my thumb with) till they wore out. I once left "white puppy" behind at a bank, and Mom had to go back to see if he could be found. The security guard had the ratty thing and told Mom he had saved him because he could tell from the state of him that somebody loved him very much. The last cat was worn to a nubbin when I accidentally dropped him in a gutter in Paris when I was six and Mom decreed he was now too dirty/germy to be saved and had to go (I tearfully acceded). Also, we moved a lot and during one of the moves when I was six my mother threw out all my Superman and other comic books (which I am still mad about!) She seems to have decided us moving across the Atlantic was the time to ruthlessly pare down my stuff ... sigh.
posted by gudrun at 7:22 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had a stuffed giraffe that I loved more than anything.

Kangaroo. It was a kangaroo. I pictured the stuffed kangaroo, I thought of real-world kangaroos, and yet the word "giraffe" is what came through my fingers. That has been happening a lot this week (not previously with those two specific words, though; that would be kind of odd).
posted by lazuli at 7:28 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Reading these are great fun.

There's a stuffed dog (from the Pound Puppies line, which likely dates my childhood to within a few years) that probably wins for total number of hours of happy interactions. It's the only childhood toy that's in my home today. Then there was a felted, three inch tall ceramic cat figurine that I fell in love with at my great grandmother's house as a five year old. It was my dearest companion when visiting, and the family gave it to me after her death. . . but it never quite filled the same role back at home with real animals and other distractions. I've love to see what it actually looked like today, but it was lost long ago. I remember that it was sort of like an off-white luck cat but with a weirdly fuzzy surface. It was definitely meant to sit on a shelf rather than having been designed as a toy. But that's all I can recall.

On the list of toys that I should have loved but didn't are a second hand TRS-80 computer and an antique erector set. Both acquired by my mom at considerable cost and with great enthusiasm. . . and neither actually that interesting to me at the time. With the right mentor, or a better understanding of the resources available at libraries, either could have been awesome and life-changing. (As someone who mostly uses computers to build mechanical hardware these days, it's tempting to misremember their impact.) Mostly they just made me feel bad for being bored with something that I knew was precious and cost a lot of money. I knew that pretending otherwise would make my mom happy and did my best to fake enthusiasm for both. That was, perhaps, the truly valuable lesson they had to offer, even if it was a somewhat dreary one.
posted by eotvos at 7:40 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

POUND PUPPIES oh wow that's a trip down memory lane, had a few which I took everywhere for a few years, including a chocolate colored one I called Serena Jr. after the swan in Trumpet of the Swan. I loved her so much.
posted by barchan at 8:11 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mostly it was Lego. I remember getting my first set and then adding to it over the years. I would build whatever model I had and then take it apart and add the pieces to my collection. Then my brother and I would mostly build spaceships or demolition derby cars. Sometimes We'd set up a string from my 2nd floor bedroom window to the end of the backyard and build cable cars that raced down the string.

I never got any of the really large sets that my friends got but I had a pretty good collection. When I hit 40 I said "fuck it" and went and found a Galaxy Explorer on eBay and scratched one of my major childhood itches.

Other than that, I spent a lot of time with my army men. I had a large collection built from various bags bought at Woolworth's, sets acquired at Christmas, or oddballs purchased at garage sales. I would spend hours in a dirt pile in our backyard, building elaborate fortresses.

There are a couple of toys I had that I would love to acquire again. One was a six foot tall plastic and cardboard building called Earthquake Tower. It had a bunch of plastic people and some rescue vehicles. You'd put the people on the ledges of the building and then press a button to make the building shake. All the people would then fall to their deaths. Now that I type that out, holy shit what a horrible toy. It also came with a little flexible sound effects record. State-of-the-art 1970s technology.

Another was this little hand-cranked flashlight called Flashbrite. It had a holster and some colored lenses and my brother and I would turn the lights off in the basement and, well, light it up. Damn, what a boring toy. Anyway, I'd love to find one again.

Other toys I loved were Micronauts (they have interchangeable parts!), Ricochet Racer (a gun that shot out cars? Because America, I guess) and AFX slot cars. My brother had an old electric train but he could never get it to work so I would just push it around the tracks which is, like, the saddest thing ever.

Later in life I moved on to the Atari 2600 and a TRS-80 Color Computer and any actual toys were neglected.
posted by bondcliff at 8:37 AM on October 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

I should note, that between 1979 and 1987 if you were to look in most boy and girl's toy collection there was AT LEAST one Star Wars figure worn out and better loved than all the rest.

For me- I can unequivocably say it was Han. I had one and only one Luke Skywalker figure ever - but I had at least one of every Han... including the very rare headless snow suit Han. You could only get that by visiting your grandfather's brother's house in Philadelphia and having his doberman eat Han's head and the correct hand off of the only Luke Skywalker figure I had - Bespin.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:02 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

My most prized possession when I was about 8 or 9 was my Luke Skywalker doll. I didn't have the Princess Leia because my mom could never find her in the stores, but Luke was happy enough to marry all of my Barbies until my so-called best friend Nikki STOLE HIM (and then stopped being my friend because I got glasses and none of the cool girls had glasses). I have literally never forgiven her and even mentioned it when we reconnected on Facebook. She fessed up and then stomped on my heart when she admitted to losing him in the family's move to Iowa when we were in middle school. She did apologize. I lied and told her it was okay. IT IS NOT OKAY I LOVED HIM SO MUCH.

Oh, also. When I was about 7, I think, one of my dad's colleagues brought me a lamp from a visit to Hong Kong. It was the coolest thing I had ever owned and it was very similar to the squarish ones in this photo, except I distinctly remember more tassels and it was electric and IT REVOLVED. When we moved three years later, my mom had a garage sale. See where this is going? She freaking SOLD my Chinese lamp without telling me OR my dad because she hated it. My dad and I still bring it up to give her grief.

I also loved Fashion Plates.
posted by cooker girl at 9:06 AM on October 15, 2017 [7 favorites]

Hot Wheels
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:09 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Even though I was the exact perfect age for Star Wars and Star Wars figures, I never really had any. I used my Christmas and Birthday present rations mostly on Lego. I had a total of three figures: Yoda, a Jawa, and a Tuskin Raider. What scenario can you possibly play with those three? Perhaps Yoda is hanging out in the Jundland Waste looking to buy a droid? I didn't have any droids, so no.

I will confess that occasionally in my 40s I have priced large collections of Star Wars figures on eBay. They're actually somewhat reasonable for non-mint sets. I cannot possibly justify spending money on them though, so I will probably take my fantasy of re-enacting the battle of Hoth to my deathbed unfulfilled.
posted by bondcliff at 9:53 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Back when it was not okay for a 5 year old boy to be totally fascinated with the Fashion Barbie that came in a gold lame swimsuit and had 3(!) interchangeable wigs, I started receiving the 11.5" original G.I. Joe dolls as gifts for everything. Like, until I had 41 of them, and only two duplicates. This reinforced something else, of course. Anyway, thirty of them were never opened, and were sold forty years later to a Very avid collector for $1500, and he galloped off up the driveway like he had stolen them.
The remaining 11 were subjected to warplay torments that only a ten year old could dream up, and only one survived intact, more or less. His name is Jack. Luckily for him, he had molded plastic hair, and no pull string to tear up. He is the original from 1964.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 9:54 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Far and away Lego, for sure. It's good to see I was in good company. I don't know what I would have done with myself if all the varieties of Lego available today were available 30+ years ago. (Probable answer: Despaired because they're so expensive and we could have never afforded them.)

The big excitement in our household this week was that a box with 25 copies of my book showed up at the door. (My contract with the publisher calls for 25 copies of the book to be provided to me, which ... is good because I don't really want to be paying for my own book, but also kind of like ... what do I do with them? Maybe I should build a book pyramid or something... )
posted by veggieboy at 10:09 AM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

... what do I do with them?

For one thing, you've got Christmas presents sorted out this year for 24 of your family and friends (gotta keep one for yourself, naturally).
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:17 AM on October 15, 2017

Lego, too, of course...but I am such a venerable age that the idea of sets of it to make a specific thing is still a mystery to me.
posted by maxwelton at 10:29 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't say it was necessarily my favourite toy as a kid, but I did have a die-cast Hot Wheels Batmobile (not this precise one still available: it was much this size, but the figures were permanently in a sitting position, and not poseable -- toys are better today than they were in the early seventies). When I think back to childhood toys, though, it always bobs to the top of the list because I have no idea what happened to it. None.

Some things I can look back on and remember that I left it at my cousins' place, or I probably left it at the park when I was playing there with Robbie and Joey, or it sat in the closet for a few years and then got scooped my my little brother or whatever. but I seems to me that just one day it was no longer in my toybox with no clue as to how it vanished.

Consequently, every time I open up a box of stuff after a move, or pull some junk out of the attic, I hope against hope my Batmobile will resurface. Although if I am honest, I reckon after forty-plus years AWOL and almost two dozen changes of address, my chances of locating it again are pretty slight.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:33 AM on October 15, 2017

anything that could be used to make stuff, do art, create things: crayons!!!!! legos!! play-doh!!!
posted by supermedusa at 10:50 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

My favorite toys, yeah I liked my bike, but I loved the willow trees, and the dirt. I had a whittling knife, I still have. We made bows and arrows from the tree, and forts, entire cities in the garden dirt. I kept a box of treasures I found in said dirt, and crystal rocks from out walking.
posted by Oyéah at 11:06 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

My Breyer Horses! I bought my first one (#17) when I was about eight and actually kept collecting them until I was in graduate school, by which time the company had begun hiking prices so high that I lost interest. (Also, my book-buying shot into high gear...) I've sold most of them, except for that first one.
posted by thomas j wise at 11:25 AM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a Talking Baby Beans doll that I loved so hard I wore out both the pull string and her “clothes”; my mom had to make a new body for it. Somewhere along the line in my expat existence here, she’s been lost and I’m still sort of salty about it. If you ever come across a Baby Beans with pink roses on a white background and an impossibly matted tuft of hair, <toddler voice> IT’S MIIIIIIINE!</toddler voice>
posted by romakimmy at 11:26 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Demolition Derby.

Loved Merlin and Speak and Spell, though I mostly did traditional board games: Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Sorry was a big one.
posted by Melismata at 12:06 PM on October 15, 2017

Moss Man (who I swear also had a strange, piney scent).

Yes! As a grown up moss enthusiast, my sister thought I should have one of these. I do and it definitely has a smell to it!

My super young kid things I loved were: blocks, bigger cardboard blocks and a thing you could put over a card table that would make it look like a little house, with a window and a door in it (which I guess are a thing now but when I was a kid I didn't know anyone else who had one). We had this box of narrow straws that came with a box of red plastic connectors (which looked like some of these things) and we'd make huge straw towers and stuff with them. Oh hey I guess they were things you could get from the straw package. And Colorforms, of course. Oh right and fashion plates!

I remember my friends toys sometimes even better. My friends had toys that ran on batteries and I was deadly envious of them. Merlin. That eight track tape playing trivia robot. That pattern matching triangles spinning plastic thing. Handheld basketball beeping thing. Mystery Date game. Board game where you built peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
posted by jessamyn (temp) at 12:23 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I sure liked my Lite Brite a lot.

Also rtha's comment about Barbies reminds me I had a Barbie townhouse (which had a little elevator on a string so Barbie and her friends could go from floor to floor) and I loved to put my hamster in there, let it run around on the top floor for a while, give it a little ride to the next floor down, let it hang out there.

Also I had a Fisher-Price castle that had, like, three interactive parts I really liked: the trap door especially, and the drawbridge and the gate.

But the best thing for sure was the little plastic dinosaurs. Add in some marbles and buttons and scraps of cloth and you could build dinosaur empires for DAYS.
posted by kristi at 12:32 PM on October 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I don't have very many childhood memories, but I know my sister had those Fashion Plates and I colored A LOT. I also had Emerald the Enchanting Witch doll, which I had to buy on eBay a couple of months ago because my inner child was starting to throw quite a temper tantrum. I had her original black outfit and had no idea until this year that she had other outfits and her own house. I especially loved that her eyes lit up.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:49 PM on October 15, 2017

I was another horse-mad child, and had a big herd of model horses that I played with, confabulated social relationships and hierarchies for, made shoebox stalls and scrap-leather saddles and bridles for, and so on. I think they got put into storage when I was twelve and we moved--my interests had mostly shifted to books by then. I wonder where they ever ended up.

But! I am posting mostly to shriek happily about my newest toys, so to speak, which is sort of a ridiculous thing to call cleaning equipment, but dammit, I am as happy about these as I ever could have been about any childhood toy.

It all started when I was wandering around Target recently, shopping for socks or toothpaste or whatever, and came across an endcap display of this. I examined it dubiously, and my basic snobbishness toward "As Seen on TV!" merchandise almost led me to walk away.

But thank god for all those here on MeFi and elsewhere who have been emphatic that lots of the seemingly-ridiculous stuff featured on infomercials actually can be enormously valuable to people with physical limitations of various kinds. In my own case, I've been dealing with chronic, severe lower-back and shoulder pain that has made housecleaning, and especially any kind that involves scrubbing, and especially bending over and scrubbing, impossible.

The depth of my misery about my grimy bath/shower led me to finally go ahead and buy the Spin Scrubber. And I am here to tell you, friends--holy crap, it WORKS. My bath and shower are CLEAN and I am not even slightly beset with crippling pain.

On a roll, I then bought the Rubbermaid Power Scrubber, which is much smaller and more intensely focused and powerful than the Spin Scrubber. I faced off with the top of my gas range, which has long been a sticky hideous mess--I could get the big crumbs off, but trying to scrub the half-cooked-on grease killed my shoulders. I put the ever-sticky grates in the bathtub to soak, and attacked the rangetop with the Rubbermaid and soapy water + baking soda, and ten minutes later, it was, I am not kidding, like-new clean, mirror-shiny. I almost wept with happiness. And then I went to the tub and attacked the grates with the Spin Scrubber, and they are now NOT sticky for the first time in years.

Apologies for the infomercial-ness and long-windedness, but man. Great tech, the tech that changes peoples' lives for the better, does not have to be haute tech. Do not fear the infomercial!
posted by Kat Allison at 1:05 PM on October 15, 2017 [9 favorites]

The best thing was discovering, in 1981, that the seed pods from eucalyptus trees could be jammed in the end of a bicycle pump and then fired with great velocity at one's sibling.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 1:40 PM on October 15, 2017 [11 favorites]

I still have my Breyer horses, so I guess they're it, though my Barbies had many adventures. I miss my pink bike with the banana seat that got stolen. It also had an orange safety flag on a tall pole to make me visible to cars. It was badass.
posted by emjaybee at 2:29 PM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

As a child, I loved a weird ball bearing contraption called "Bing Bang Boing"
which had so many small parts it would never be sold today.

As a teen I loved a computer logic game called "Code Name: Sector".
posted by KazamaSmokers at 3:24 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

After I dropped my teddy bear for the last time, I don't remember liking toy toys other than I guess my bike, and that was more a thing to get me somewhere, not really the fun in itself.

Back when I was still in my single digits, my favorite toy was my big sister's record player and the stack of pop 45s that she (and maybe my older brother) had amassed. I would close the door, turn up the volume, and sing and dance in front of a mirror. Plenty of Beatles with those yellow and orange spiral labels, plus a couple of Beatles albums, stuff like that, because this was I guess the last half of the 1960s. But also lots of semi random hit 45s. Family Affair. Sugar Sugar. Bend Me, Shape Me. Indiana Wants Me. Windy. Love Can Make You Happy. Good Morning Starshine. I Want You Back. Incense and Peppermints. Crimson and Clover.

I was groovy, man. And then we turned the corner into the 1970s and I discovered the radio and fell in love with stuff like Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got, Have You Seen Her, Shaft, Super Fly. So the radio was my next favorite toy.
posted by pracowity at 3:56 PM on October 15, 2017

I came here to say horse figurines! I was super horse crazy as a kid (7-10?) despite never actually doing horseback riding. Several people above mentioned Breyer, but...after spending some time down the rabbit hole of miniature horses from the 80s and 90s... I actually had Funrise! Same idea, but they were less detailed and more toy-y rather than collectible.

Anyway, I had a couple dozen horse figurines and some stables to keep them in and that entertained me for hours at a time. The horses were labelled with their breed names in the packaging (Clydesdale, Appaloosa, etc) and I would just call them that because I was an exceptionally un-creative child.
posted by eeek at 4:48 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Roo was my favorite, a tiny stuffed animal kangaroo baby. One summer he disappeared and we found him propped up on a real estate agency's window in town; another time, my dad heroically found him on the beach. Still no idea how he managed it, since Roo and the sand were basically an identical color. My dad is awesome.
posted by ferret branca at 4:54 PM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am an only child, so i had a lot of favorite toys. My mom is also a hoarder, so i still have a lot of them that my kids now play with, which is super fun since I can mentally get into playing with those old things so easily. My beloved stuffed animals. A Sesame Street Playskool townhouse. My set of Invicta dinosaur models. So many happy memories, and I love making new ones with them with my kids.

But I still think about the EZ Bake oven my mom refused to buy me.
posted by gatorae at 5:34 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also. My blankie. My blankie which my mother made disappear forever while I was visiting my grandma' dad's mom. After my parents were divorced. The adults apparently decided five was too old for a pink blankie.
My parents didn't figure out that maybe they should have done this until I was in like third grade and they realized that the "just let it fall apart on its own" strategy was not going to work with a blanket crocheted from cheap acrylic yarn.

I'm 36 years old and I don't think of it as "I inappropriately still have my security blanket" so much as that I, a latent genius, managed to retain one thing from my childhood that would basically halve or maybe even quarter the amount of times I have to resort to anxiety medication. It's ugly as hell and I will still totally wander around the apartment wearing it like a scarf. It's incredibly stupid, and it works. Blanket just out of the laundry is the world's most reliable sleep aid. It's wearing in places now, but the other thing my parents did not take into account was that crochet blankets, you can just tie the two worn ends of the yarn together and render them basically sound again. Ugly, but did I mention it was already ugly? It's orange.

My mother would say this represents some sort of failure, but my blanket has done a lot more emotional support for me in my life than my mother has. I am starting to consider its retirement, but in doing so I'm pondering what the ideal security blanket would look and feel like for me at 40, to give me a few years of transition. But I wouldn't dream of just having nothing.
posted by Sequence at 5:50 PM on October 15, 2017 [13 favorites]

I had Barbies, they had great adventures and the occasional fashion show, Breyer horses, and, most of all, books. I salvaged some of my favorites from a yard sale before they sold. I am happy that my son is still fond of many of the books we read. Not surprisingly, Black Beauty was a favorite and I still worry about the health and social lives of horses I see.

I'm having so much trouble coping with the news. I fell in the driveway, hard, on my tailbone. It's still really sore but clearly healing. But a dear friend is in town for a bit and Maine has been sunny and quite lovely. Hugs to everybody in the thread.
posted by theora55 at 7:03 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are two massive tubs of Lego in my parent's basement just waiting for the day when I live in a place with enough room to reclaim them. Btw, Lego is expensive as shit as an adult.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:20 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I ate cat food
posted by soakimbo at 7:21 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I fell in the driveway, hard, on my tailbone.

Ooh, that happened to me once. You have my heartfelt sympathy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:25 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

In first grade, my Mom let me pick a toy at the grand opening of the new PX on base. I got a stuffed dog rattle and named it Muffin. I loved Muffin. A few years later, Muffin disappeared (I suspect, with no proof, that snotty Melissa took him), and I mourned for years. A few years ago, I found one on eBay! Hurray Muffin!

Kitchen reno is finally done over here and I can cook again! I’m rusty and we are still unpacking but I’m getting back to it. Made a delicious lasagna tonight.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:29 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mine was made by my dad, and imaginatively called "The Blue Box". It was a cube about 80cm square (just under 3'), with two circles cut out on adjacent sides. It was painted a dark indigo blue.

It was light enough to turn over and push around the house myself, but strong enough to clamber all over. It stored soft toys, was the favourite hiding spot, was the cornerstone to every indoor cubby house. With one hole turned towards a wall, and the other up, it was a submarine.

I have a great photo of me in it in my pj's looking super smug surrounded by all my soft toys. I wonder what happened to it.
posted by kjs4 at 7:53 PM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don't refer to my Pooh Bear as a toy. He occupies a place of honor on the nightstand next to the bed. He will be 37 years old this year, and is my oldest and most precious friend. He moved with me to Japan when I came here, and has provided a shoulder to cry on when I needed it most, never judging, always there.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:15 PM on October 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

I’m not sure why my parents thought I was obsessed with pink but I had a BMX-style bike with pink accents called “Wild Flower.” My dad and I built a go-cart (70s style plywood thing with like lawnmower wheels) called “The Bubblegum Express,” painted some flavor of hot pink. Even the model rocket me and my dad made was hot pink. In retrospect WTF.

I love my Merlin. I love my Snoopy and have sewn his head back on multiple times. My sister had the game Perfection which was cool but I always wanted SUPERFECTION where the puzzles were so much more complicated. Other than that... I got a Cabbage Patch Kid just a few weeks before I decided I was too old for Cabbage Patch Kids. Imagine my horror when I got a balloon bouquet delivered to my high school on my 15th Valentines Day from my Cabbage Patch Kid. How does a nerdy band geek sophomore with no dating cred explain helium balloons to everyone who asks?? Including the popular kids!
posted by bendy at 11:13 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Did anyone else have the honey hill bunch? just me? I had the clubhouse, and tree, and jalopy. I stored all the dolls and accessories in a pink case that I think originally held a record player to make it easy to take along when we went up to the cottage. I suspect that my mom still has that somewhere, she was saving it to give to my daughter when I had kids. I never had kids. Sorry Mom!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:53 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Eyebrows McGee: My mom says my favorite baby toy was the Fisher Price Happy Apple, which she saved and my kids now play with.

I also had a happy apple as a baby, and my mom also saved it (and a ton of other kids' toys and books) which my sons now enjoy. I was also nicknamed happy apple as a baby, because I was a rosy-cheeked little happy baben.

fluffy battle kitten: I also had an imaginary Grizzly Bear named Bosley for a couple years. My childhood seems super effed up. It really wasn't, though. It was just growing up in the late 70's standard kind of messed up.

I didn't have imaginary friends growing up, but my uncle, my mom's younger brother, did. He grew up in the time of Lone Ranger, so he, a little white boy, had an imaginary friend named Tonto. Then one day he didn't. His parents asked "where's Tonto?" My uncle replied "oh, a rock crushed him." And that was the end of Tonto.

msali: I loved my Texas Instruments Speak and Spell to distraction.

My wife had one growing up, but it ended up in a sandbox, and some sand made shorts in the circuitry, creating a new letter: dubecks. Her family randomly references dubecks from time to time, though I think she's the one who most fondly remembers that Speak and Spell and its new letter.

bendy: How does a nerdy band geek sophomore with no dating cred explain helium balloons to everyone who asks?? Including the popular kids!

Secret admirer, of course! Build the intrigue and mystery around yourself!

Legos were a favorite of my childhood, and we're introducing them to our kids (and re-introducing them to ourselves as adults with some free time and available space). My wife has some of the mega modular buildings (but I see she's missing some, because I don't recall the detective's office!), and the Haunted House, which started last week. Being an adult with big Lego sets is a ton of fun.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:22 AM on October 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

And my personal story for the weekend: I flubbed two out of three loaves of bread machine bread. I was so sure of myself after maybe a dozen decent loaves, so I tried a different recipe (Italian loaf in an hour), but it sank in the middle and was completely unbaked. Then I tried a different recipe (white+whole wheat in an hour) and it was good, but too sweet as so many wheat breads are (and 3 TB sugar probably did that, too). So I went back to the old reliable French bread, but that was also weirdly under-done on the top, and softer than usual.

Long story short: I want to learn to make real bread, but the stupid-easy convenience of dumping ingredients in the right order into the bowl and pushing "go" is so very enticing.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:22 AM on October 16, 2017

Probably the ones I remember at all were my favs. Let's see:

-Busy Bee. Earliest I can recall. A real classic.
-Tinkertoys. I was deep into these for a few years, there. (It's funny to think, there must have been a last time I played with Tinkertoys, but that moment is lost to me. Unlike some other milestones of growing up, like when I realized that Frank Zappa had a lot of idiotic opinions; I remember that clearly.)
-King Arthur's Castle. Christmas 1972. Really it's been all downhill since then.
-Hot Wheels cars; also, SSP racers (with sonic sound!)
-Saturn V rocket, with launching pad. So cool! I don't recall if it launched or not.

...and that's it, without having to work at remembering.
posted by thelonius at 9:42 AM on October 16, 2017

posted by Splunge at 10:02 AM on October 16, 2017

My favorite toy was my dog - a BDE that was the Hobbes to my Calvin. After he passed, my C-64 was my gateway to a career in IT and a degree in electrical and computer engineering.

I've landed a contract gig doing lightning suppression and power supply engineering for a local ISP. They've got a ton of towers in the mountains of Colorado and would like more uptime. I'll be doing three of my favorite things - playing in the mountains, doing radio/electrical geek stuff, and getting paid.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:07 AM on October 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I tell you this. The best toy I ever bought for my young children was the eight inch square, plastic, brightly colored, shapes box. The box has shapes cut out in each side, and a trap door that opens at the top. Each shape has a three dimensional piece that fits only through the right place. So they could learn about colors, and geometry at the same time, at the age of two or so. Stars, squares, rectangles...very cool toy.
posted by Oyéah at 10:59 AM on October 16, 2017

Oyéah: The best toy I ever bought for my young children was the eight inch square, plastic, brightly colored, shapes box.

My wife's parents' kept one of these from when she and her sisters were little, and it's impressive because it's the collection of shapes is quite varied, with multiple triangles and parallelograms, so you have to really pay attention to the shapes. A bit maddening if you're trying to sort things quickly (and you're tired enough that you forget the trap door, or stubborn enough that you want to match all the shapes and not take the quick way), but great for inquisitive little people.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got invited to a local radio show to talk about Zoe Quinn's new book and online harrassment. I gave a big shout out to Metafilter for doing a good job of enforcing TOS and creating and holding to high community standards of behavior.

I'm sure only 7 people listened, but media empires start from somewhere.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:33 PM on October 16, 2017 [6 favorites]

Hi I am finally on the road!!!! Yes!!! Tomorrow it will be a week!!! I stopped off to see bitteroldpunk and elizarde in Alabama, much drunken fun was had, now I am somewhere in Mississippi and I think tomorrow I will be in Arkansas! The internet has been spotty at best but for some unknown reason this odd campground on a Mississippi lake that the Garmin couldn’t even find has full on bars & the little Verizon mifi is working. This is very exciting.

So anyway it turns out that RV people are super super nice and eager to help you if you cannot, for example, back up. This is extremely fortunate because campsites seem to be all kind of backup centric. I have not yet been brave enough to sleep in a Walmart parking lot but that day is coming. I have done many other brave things though and I am having a mostly wonderful, if somewhat nervewracking, time.

Glad to see we are all still here, and perhaps I will stop by tomorrow to talk toys but I will just say that I was very young when my daughter was born and as a result she was mostly raised by wolves college students. Thus it was one of my roommates who coined the term “hangover intensifying toys” to refer to, first, that push popper thing toddlers love so and then many other bajingling beeping and banging contraptions. And I still call them that and recommend them as baby gifts for people you don’t much like.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:41 PM on October 16, 2017 [7 favorites]

“hangover intensifying toys”

Oh, exactly. And there need be no hangover involved.


Those are the toys you hide every night after bedtime until the day the kid forgets about them or they break or you just can't take it anymore. Then you sneak them out and dump them (the toys, not, you know...).
posted by pracowity at 6:00 AM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had a stuffed giraffe that I loved more than anything.

As I got older I graduated to Lego and Hot Wheels and bikes and cars and at some point became an adult, but as a very young child I too had a stuffed giraffe that was my absolute favorite. Glad to find out I was not the only one! His name was “Hope”, although I just now realized Hope is a girl’s name, so perhaps my beloved giraffe was not a boy as I always assumed. Anyway, my love of this animal was well-known enough among my family that to this day I receive various giraffe-themed gifts from family members, especially my mother. I was pretty rough on Hope, especially when teething, but my mother is a good seamstress and always repaired him almost as good as new. Several (perhaps 20?) years ago my mother went on one of her periodic sprees of getting rid of stuff she no longer needs in her house and that year I got Hope wrapped up for my birthday; best present I got that year! And so to this day he sits on my mantel, reminding me of happy times.
posted by TedW at 11:19 AM on October 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've mentioned before that my sister and I I would each get a small present on the other’s birthday so as not to feel left out. One year (as best I can figure it, she had to have been four and I three, but that seems awfully young to have a memory this clear. I guess it's possible we were five and four) she gots this beautiful little doll set for her birthday with a baby doll, layout, cradle, and all kinds of accessories. I got a much simpler baby doll with hollow plastic head and hands, and a stuffed body in a blue sleeper.

Well, she was making over her doll in that sort of smug way older sisters always seem to have toward younger sisters at that age, making a big show of changing her clothes, arranging her hair, and talking to her whenever I came in the room. Once, she said, “And I'll name you Thumbelina, because you're the no bigger than my thumb.”

My only choice was to pick up *my* new doll, quickly measure him against all visible body parts, and sigh rapturously, “And you’re just the size of my arm (forearm, really), so your name will be Armbajohn.”

My sister told Mom and Dad, who got a big laugh out of it, as eventually all the adults in the family did. But little Armbajohn stayed one of my favorite dolls for years. I think the dog or one of the cats had started using him for a chew toy, because his stuffed body was pretty torn up the last time I saw it. We moved house when I was seven and for whatever reason he never made it to the new place.

Goodnight, Mr. Armbajohn, wherever you are.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:42 PM on October 17, 2017 [9 favorites]

I also had American Girl Kirsten, and then eventually I got older and she got put away in the basement where she perished in Grandpa's Great Accidental House Fire of 1997. So did all the My Little Ponys, which were my real favorites. Mom says they had all melted into a single entity, a Rainbow Pony Cube in the form of the box where they were stored, but she threw it out before I got to see it. I would probably still have Pony Cube mounted on the wall if I had gotten my hands on it.
posted by little cow make small moo at 1:57 PM on October 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

The G.I. Joe Astronaut with an authentically-detailed Mercury capsule. (Not "authentically-detailed" in that the real thing had a big see-through hatch that made entrance and egress easy--it had a tiny hatch that was barely big enough for a skinny astronaut to crawl through--but the rest of it was solid; they even had a control panel sticker that was a faithful reproduction of this; I knew because I checked it against the encylopedia.) It was the last toy that my parents gave to me before they died.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:28 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

she threw it out before I got to see it

This ranks up there with selling my Chinese lamp out from under me.
posted by cooker girl at 10:52 AM on October 18, 2017

Barbie. I can’t remember which, I had a few. Unfortunately none of them came with guns, grenades, binoculars or ANY of the other vital items they needed for their spying missions, so I had to “borrow” stuff from my brother’s action men. I did have some Barbie horses and the Sindy dune buggy, and I made ropes for them out of string so they could abseil off the chests of drawers.
posted by tinkletown at 2:25 PM on October 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

Star Wars Electronic Battle Command. Its claim to be "probably the most exciting computer game you will ever play" was a tad overblown -- in retrospect, the game was hilariously simple -- but its AI was pretty good. I wasted untold hours visualizing myself in an X-wing along with R2-D2 chasing down Imperial TIE fighters, and I still find those memories to be faintly exciting.
posted by Mr. Justice at 4:35 PM on October 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cannot stop laughing at the comments in the Garfield dog semen thread. This may be the funniest thread of the year so far.
posted by Wordshore at 4:56 PM on October 19, 2017

I can think of a few:
  1. The wind-up Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle is pretty hard to beat. The sound as you held on to the orange ramp and spun the wind-up wheel, feeling the gear tightening--and that goddam guy held on to that bike, I tell you. Over jumps, into pits. You could pretend he was failing to jump the Caesar's Palace fountain, breaking his pelvis! Oh halcyon days!
  2. Marx Shooting Gallery: I wore this thing out. Magnetic pistol that would pick up ball bearings through the translucent plastic and fire them at the midway-game targets. If you gave it to me now I would play it for three hours. I can still feel the scratched plastic surface as the pistol scraped over it. ca-CLICK!
  3. Blue Angels aircraft-carrier launcher: I never owned this, but my friend had it. Five Blue Angels planes (possibly styrofoam). You'd click them into the launcher and somehow select the flying formation/trick, and fire them. Possibly the feeling of envy was greater than the toy itself. Also I can't find any evidence of it online so maybe it never even existed.
  4. Stomper 4 x 4s: These were the ne plus ultra in grade school in 1980. We would make elaborate dirt tracks and ruin our pants chasing these little battery-powered SUVs around.
  5. Micronauts: Jesus I am old

posted by Kafkaesque at 12:24 PM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Although if I am really honest, the toys that got more playtime than anything else were the video games. I put in a lot of hours on the Atari Video Pinball console (before cartridges!). And when the 2600 came around, well, sign me up.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:28 PM on October 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Look, I'm really late to this thread, but I love love love all of the other people who are fully! grown! adults! and who still have their childhood plush toys and some of you even sleep with them.

It makes me feel so much better about being so attached to my 25-year-old stuffed dolphin. I expect I'll be buried with the thing.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 3:20 PM on October 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

It's funny: I didn't even consider Super Pong and the Atari 2600 and later consoles to be toys. I feel like video games are in their own class entirely, since adults also enjoy them. But of course the 2600 and later consoles were a big part of my childhood, too.
posted by limeonaire at 8:53 PM on October 21, 2017

Bit late to this thread, but there are two things that stick out in my mind when I think of 'favorite toys'. One was a Hot Wheels Sto & Go playset that had this fun little fake car-wash thing in it (I remember being fascinated by automatic car washes as a kid), and I'd use masking tape and markers (and I think even a file) to modify it to be exactly how I wanted it to be.

The other was a Commodore 64, which sparked a nascent interest in computers and programming, although most of what I did with it was play games rather than do any programming. Later (after my dad upgraded to a 386, I think) I'd get a hand-me-down IBM XT (with Hercules Graphics and an amber phosphor monitor) and some spare parts that I spent time assembling into a working computer; I still remember playing Space Quest ][ on that machine. I'd continue my scavenging of old computers with a 286 (monochrome VGA monitor running Windows 3.0!) and finally a 486DX33 (OMG, color VGA monitor, and I can run a Genesis emulator on this thing!).
posted by Aleyn at 4:12 PM on October 23, 2017

I know this is weird but the toy that had a huge impact on me wasn't what most people would think of as a toy. It was a series of books. I'm not trying to get all up on a high horse and condescendingly imply that I'm way cooler and more intellectual than others because I bonded with books, it's not as cool as that. I fell in love with really crappy books. I fell in love with novelizations of Saturday morning cartoons that had little one inch squares in the corner with tiny drawings. And when you flipped the pages, the corners showed you a little cartoon.

There was a publishing company in Wisconsin called Whitman that made its fortunes by licensing comic strips, radio shows, TV, and movies and put out terrible books with the characters from those other properties. In the sixties and seventies, they did a bunch with this little marketing gimmick they called Flip-It-Cartoons. And I loved how I could carry them around and watch a little cartoon whenever I wanted. This was a while ago, before the golden age of content where everything is available at a price. Where you carry all we've done in the past in your pocket. This was when if you didn't see it that Saturday morning, it was gone, probably for years. So to have a little cartoon that I could watch over and over. A cartoon I could study. That was fucking amazing.

I think they did ten or 15 books like that, and I had maybe five, but I loved them, and even had to replace a couple of favorites like the Road Runner one, or the Bugs Bunny one, because I wore into their frames.

I know when people talk about the magic of books, they probably aren't talking about a cheap gimmick like that. But those books sucked me into the world of books and into the world of cartoons and comics. I don't regret a thing.
posted by Stanczyk at 7:26 PM on October 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I loved those books! That's where I first learned about the gold rush and the Klondike! (I still always want to call it the Clambake, like Bugs or Porky or whoever the protagonist was.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:34 PM on October 24, 2017

Update: Someone had a listing for a nearly-new Crumpet and I bought her. In a little less than a week she'll be mine again, postal service willing!
posted by limeonaire at 5:40 PM on November 11, 2017

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