32 Essential Toys Every ’80s Preschooler Had
Or at least played with.
1. Glo Worm
With it’s soft body design and light-up head, Glo Worm was the perfect preschool kid toy. I mean who else was going to protect you from the monster that lived under your bed? Definitely not the Fisher-Price Little People!
2. Fisher-Price Gas Pump
Fisher-Price made the perfect toys to introduce us to the real world, and yes, that apparently also included how to pump your own gas.
3. See ‘N Say Farmer Says
Seriously, where would society be without this perennial favorite?! I mean it taught us that the cow goes “moo”!
4. Fisher-Price Record Player
This was probably the first sound system you ever owned — which of course you used to play your Read-Along Book records on.
These toys had no business being as fun as they were, essentially they were just reusable stickers. But maybe it was the perfectly cartoony design or the simplicity that had us coming back to play with it? Actually, scratch that, it was the addictive plastic smell that had us hooked.
6. Fisher-Price Medical Kit
Let’s be honest, the only thing you really played with in this kit was the stethoscope. But, bonus, the kit did also make a good storage case to carry around other toys!
During the 1980s Gumby had a huge revival, and this stretchy/posable figure was the perfect toy for little kids, as it was virtually indestructible. The one drawback was that, yes, you could eventually pull him apart and expose the wires that made him so darn posable, and maybe poke an eye out.
8. Mini Piano
This toy provided exactly 20 minutes of fun before you got bored and moved on to another toy — that is, unless your parents got tired of hearing the annoying beeps and took it away before you had a chance to finish playing with it.
9. Mickey Mouse Talking Phone
What kid didn’t want to talk to Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck? Sure, they didn’t say anything other then their name, but still you got a Disney character on the phone and it didn’t cost your parents two dollars a minute — looking at you, He-Man.
10. Sit’ n Spin
This thing was a basically a step above playing with an empty box, cause it didn’t do anything other than spin, but somehow, it still provided hours of entertainment.
11. Care Bears
The Care Bears ruled the ’80s, and you want to know why? Because they were created by the greeting card company American Greetings, who pushed them on unsuspecting parents and grandparents, and guilted them into buying them as an “I love you” gift. Plus, their soft bodies and pastel colors made them irresistible to little kids.
12. Fisher-Price Family Farm
Aside from the Little People, the biggest seller here was the animals. Every little kid wanted to play with farm animals!
13. Fisher-Price Music Box Teaching Clock
This longtime favorite was supposed to teach you how to tell time, but in reality, it was just fun to wind it up and watch it turn from day to night.
14. E.T. Vinyl Doll
How big was E.T.? It was like Frozen x The Lion King plus a million. Seriously, it was huge, and of course had a natural appeal toward little kids, which made this vinyl doll (which felt so creepy to touch) a must have.
15. Poppin’ Pals
This toy was probably more for babies than preschoolers, but its pop-up action made it lots of fun to play with.
16. Smurfs Play Camera
This toy was a double winner, not only was it a play camera (allowing you to feel oh so grown-up), but it was also Smurf-themed. SMURF-THEMED!
Let’s be honest, these were more creepy than cute, but that catchy jingle for the commercial made you want one of these, badly.
Another perennial favorite that while simple provided hours of fun.
19. Fisher-Price Cash Register
I don’t know if this was supposed to teach you how to use money, but I do know that the biggest appeal of this toy was popping that drawer open.
20. Tree Tots Family Tree House
This little house was perfectly designed to capture your imagination. It was a tree that with the push of a button (on the top of the tree) revealed a three-room house, that came complete with an elevator, staircase, swing, and garage.
21. Rub-A-Dub Dog
This toy pulled double duty. It was not only a bath toy, it was also a sponge (not a very good one, but still).
22. Fisher-Price Little People Play Family House
In the ’80s, the Little People upgraded themselves to some pretty posh homes (blame the yuppies?). Yes they were the exact same house, but most kids were either Team Yellow Roof or Team Tudor House.
23. My Buddy and Kid Sister
You know why you wanted one of these dolls? Because of the jingle from the commercial, which probably still lingers in the deep recesses of your mind.
24. Fisher-Price Tape Recorder
This had one huge advantage over the Fisher-Price Record Player: IT COULD RECORD YOUR VOICE!
25. Snoopy Sno-cone Machine
No hot summer day was complete without this classic toy. Sure, it took all your preschool body strength to get three slivers of ice slushy, but all that hard work made it taste extra good.
26. Fisher-Price Magic Burner Play Stove Top Range
OK, so this probably gives you chills ‘cause it looks like the hot plate you had in college, but back in the ’80s this bad boy wasn’t just a pretend stove, it was a pretend stove that also lit up red!
27. Sweet Pickles Bus
OK, so this wasn’t a toy, but it was shaped like a bus and had a sticker that featured all the characters on it — which for fans of the book series made it an immediate toy (since no tie-in toy line was ever produced for it).
28. Little Boppers
These were basically like those dancing flowers that moved to music, expect they went one step further and actually moved around and danced. Yup, DANCED!
29. Speak & Spell
These really weren’t designed for preschoolers, but all those buttons and the voice action made them an irresistible toy to little kids.
Popples was one of the only toys that was perfect for both playing with and napping with.
31. Fisher-Price Parking Ramp Service Center Parking Garage
This was the ultimate Little People play set (sorry, airport), mainly because you could race the cars down the ramp (with the Little People riding them), but the crank elevator also had its appeal.
32. Big Wheels
Hands down the best toy a preschooler could hope to get and play with. Sure, you probably fell off this thing more times than you could remember, but it really was your first taste of freedom and playing like a big kid.