Toys Moms Grew Up With That Still Make Great Christmas Gifts

Toys Moms Grew Up With That Still Make Great Christmas Gifts
Image: @surfsup via Twenty20

Cabbage Patch kid
@surfsup via Twenty20

Two Februarys ago, Polly Pocket announced its comeback. The toy, which boomed to popularity in the '90s, featured tiny figurines that looked like people, along with rubbery outfits and accessories that were fit to their size. All of this was housed in a small case that opened like a clam to a fully fledged home inside. The company debuted the original Polly Pocket in 1989 and had stayed silent after the toys fell out of favor over the next decade.

The news of its resurgence, which featured updated versions of the cases and dolls, sent plenty of '90s moms everywhere on a nostalgic mental trip. There's a reason old toys coming back can have this impact. They bring back childhood memories and allow kids in this generation to experience that same kind of magic. Keeping this in mind, we found a few toys that were popular with moms who grew up in the '80s and '90s that they can give their kids for Christmas today. 

Plenty of toys are out there in 2019 to choose from. Amazon predicted the most popular toys this fall and winter and even released its 2019 toy list. From Beyblades to Paw Patrol towers for fighting the bad guys to Curious Pandas to L.O.L. Surprises, the toy game is going strong. This is even truer because we have this thing called technology. It's opened lots of opportunities for toys to operate electronically and create new ways of thinking and playing. Coding can be a game, and traditional card games such as Uno have automated dispensers. These are the things that would have been so cool to have way back when. And yet, moms know that their childhoods were still pretty amazing, in large part thanks to the toys they played with. Even if they seem "old school" today. 

The truth is, lots of the "older" generations' toys still exist. They've either been discontinued and remade, such as Polly Pockets, or they never really went away -- only updated and made better. Sometimes, "has been" toys can make amazing fresh ones in a world that encourages the next best thing. Check out the toys below and get inspired. (And nostalgic.)

Psst: If you purchase an item from this post, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Teddy Bears

    Teddy Bears

    Teddy bears will never go out of style. They're soft, cuddly and can stay with people for the entirety of their lives. It's a cute tradition to pass along, too.

  • Barbies


    Barbies have been around since 1959, and the dolls have become a quintessential toy. There were fewer versions when moms were kids, but now, the possibilities are endless, such as this Marine Biologist Barbie.  

    Barbie Polar Marine Biologist Doll ($15, Barbie)

  • American Girl Dolls


    American Girl dolls came after Barbies, but once they became popular, they stayed popular. Now, there's an American Girl store in New York City and other places throughout the country, along with a lot more dolls. 

    Blaire Doll, Book & Accessories ($128, American Girl)

  • Rubik's Cube

    Name a more iconic and brain-busting toy puzzle: We'll wait. Few have solved the Rubik's Cube, which may be why it sticks around from generation to generation.

    Rubik's Cube ($14, MoMa)

  • Easy-Bake Oven


    Much like cellphones and computers, Easy-Bake Ovens have evolved since the '90s. Now, they look super futuristic, but at least the toy is still around for children to understand that amazing feeling of independence after making a baked good in an oven just their size.

    Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven Toy ($40, Walmart)

  • Slinky


    Slinkies made their way into mainstream popularity a second time thanks to the Toy Story movies, but the toy has a ton of street cred. It's still going strong today. 

    Slinky ($3.50, Target)

  • Handheld Water Ring Game


    If anxiety is already starting to spike, we completely understand. For its simplicity, this water ring game entertained and frustrated kids for hours. Thankfully, it's still around to keep today's kids busy. 

    Handheld Rings Water Game ($5, Amazon)

  • Cabbage Patch Kids


    Cabbage Patch Kids are so recognizable. They're baby dolls, which never seem to get old, no matter what decade it is, but their chubby little faces are one of kind.

    Cabbage Patch Kids ($13, Target)

  • Play-Doh


    Play-Doh got on the nerves of our mothers back then and they're gonna get on the nerves of moms now. But it's just too fun to play with, so let the little ones have their shot with the colored clay.

    Play-Doh ($8, Amazon)

  • Etch-a-Sketch


    Sure, kids have iPads and iPhones that are capable of allowing them to draw masterpieces with a stylus or their fingers. But there's just something fascinating about Etch-a-Sketch toys. The fun is the challenge of creating an image without all that technology.

    Classic Etch-A-Sketch Toy ($27, Amazon)

  • Hula Hoop


    If hula hoops are good enough for the Chipmunks (re: the line in their Christmas song "I want a huuuulu hooop!), they're good enough for the rest of us. They're fun toys that encourage kids to get up and get moving.

    24-Inch Standard Hula Hoop, pack of 12 ($34, Walmart)

  • My Little Pony


    Moms and kids alike know the My Little Pony song, and it doesn't seem like the colorful horses are going anywhere any time soon. They're bright and fun to collect and play with. 

    My Little Pony Mane Pony Rainbow Dash Classic Figure ($5, Google Shopping)

  • Sit and Spin


    Yes, this thing will get its riders semi dizzy, but moms know how fun it is. Get them a Sit and Spin to pass on the spinny memories. 

    Playskool Sit ‘n Spin Classic Spinning Activity ($30, Amazon)

  • Tamagotchi


    Hear us out: Yes, these toys helped mete out an early fate way too many times to count, but one has to admit it's a super interesting toy and one that has transcended decades. 

    Tamagotchi V5 Game ($25, Urban Outfitters)

  • Tickle Me Elmo


    OK, Elmo doesn't really need an explanation for why he's an amazing gift, but it's pretty cool to think about all the hugs he's given over the years. Sesame Street for the win.

    Elmo ($30, Target)

  • Super Soaker


    Water wars have gotten more intense as the soakers have become more "high-tech" and decked out, but the premise remains the same. Water shoots out and it's incredibly fun.

    Super Soaker Scatter Blast ($21, Boxed)

  • Mr. Sketch Markers


    Remember these things? Of course moms do. They made coloring a semi-questionable but delicious way to pass the time. Just make sure to pass on the age-old knowledge of not actually eating the markers. 

    Mr. Sketch Scented Markers ($5, Amazon)

  • Monopoly


    Board games come and go, but Monopoly lasts forever. It packs a nostalgic but fun punch that the whole family can enjoy. 

    Monopoly ($12, Amazon)

  • Pin It!

    Toys Moms Grew Up With That Still Make Great Christmas Gifts Pinterest Image

    Save these old toys to your Pinterest boards to check out which one is still great as a gift for this Christmas!

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