90s and 80s Toys to Gift This Holiday Season
There are so many newfangled toys available; high-tech wonders and plastic contraptions abound. But what if you just want a little nostalgia this holiday season?
Get the kids a gift from a simpler time — your own childhood! From wood building set K’nex to a reproduction Barbie house, check out our list of fun retro products. Shrinky Dinks, Care Bears, Ghostbusters, and even old school Nintendos are all available online now.
Remember recording your very own songs and stories on a tape recorder?
Your little one might have their own iPad, but the low-tech thrill of the Fisher-Price Classics Tape Recorder will be a novelty of its own. Kids can record their voice, plus play (built-in) music, and sing along. (One note: the recorder does not play real cassette tapes). Bonus: explaining what a tape is. Ages 3+
It doesn’t get more nostalgic than this “walking” spring toy!
Pick up the Collector’s Edition Slinky and have some fun with this metal wonder. Tell the kids to put down their iPads and play with a piece of coiled metal like we used to in the good old days. You know, before we walked a mile uphill in the snow to school.
Forget Smart features, this Barbie Dream House is a perfect 1962 reproduction, right down to the furniture that you assemble yourself.
The fold-up play set includes mid-century modern decor, including a hi-fi stereo, magazines, and a framed picture of Barbie’s boyfriend Ken. A retro 60s Barbie doll is included so you can start playing right away. You might even include your child or grandchild in the fun! The vintage Dream House is great for collectors or just the young at heart.
These cuddly, colorful plush bears were big in the 80s, and they’re still around and kicking. Probably because they’re absolutely adorable.
There are quite a few to choose from, from the glittery purple 35th Anniversary Rainbow Heart Bear to these sweet retro stuffies sold by Land of Nod.
This toy hits 2 different nostalgia sweet spots: Playmobil sets and the classic movie Ghostbusters.
One of the most iconic movie cars, the Ecto 1, is captured in this Ghostbusters Playmobil play set, along with Zeddemore and Janine character figures, proton packs, ghost traps, and other fun accessories. You can even buy the amazing firehouse from the movie, along with other Ghostbusters Playmobil sets. 79 pieces in all, best for ages 6+
The arts and crafts classic has a modern update. A variety of different Shrinky Dinks packs are available, from a Fantasy Forest theme to 3D jewelry (there are even TV tie-ins, like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle set or a Shimmer and Shine pack).
But the gist is the same: color the special pre-printed sheets, then cut out shapes and bake them — they shrink! Create charms, figurines, jewelry, and more. Ages 6+
The classic mini gaming system is back (but smaller), and it comes with 20 beloved games, including Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart and others.
Plus the previously unreleased Star Fox game. Just plug the Super NES into a high-definition TV with the HDMI cable (included). 2 controllers are also included, for multiplayer fun.
The hot toys of the 90s is back and better than ever! Sesame Street favorite Elmo laughs hysterically when little ones squeeze his feet or press his tummy.
If they keep “tickling” him, Elmo will start to shake with laughter. He’s furry, cute, and he’s a hit with toddlers. 2 AA batteries included. Best for ages 18 months and over.
Get nostalgic with this Play-Doh set. Play-Doh has been around since 1956, and so many adults can remember using the Fun Factory set.
Squeeze Play-Doh into different forms like noodles using the factory-shaped extruder. The set comes with 8 1oz. cans of dough, the Fun Factory, 12 shape plates, a knife, a play mat, and a guide.
The classic Little Tikes plastic doll house has been reimagined for today’s tot. Tikes Place boasts working porch lights and doorbell, and even a flushing toilet.
There’s a pull-out patio and yard for extra square footage. The doll house comes with 4 family figures and 12 accessories, including classic Little Tikes toys like the turtle sandbox, slide, and baby swing. There’s also a handle now for easy transport. Assembly required; the house needs 3 AA batteries (not included). Best for ages 2+
Packaged in that iconic tube, Tinkertoys are back by popular demand.
The real wood building set inspires little imaginations and improves spacial skills the old fashioned way! Kids can build whatever they dream up with the colorful wood rods and connectors. The deluxe set includes 100 pieces, and 15 building ideas. Ages 3+
Apparently ants never go out of style. Science toy company Uncle Milton has had the best-selling ant farm for over 60 years! This year’s version improves on the new, sleek design with a larger viewing area.
No newfangled toy can compete with watching your very own ant colony create tunnels and carry grains of sand. Squeamish parents: the ant farm is escape-proof and break-resistant, so no need to worry about creepy crawlies going rogue. The ant farm kit comes with sand, plastic habitat, a guide, a stand, and a coupon for live harvester ants. Fun! Best for ages 6+
Waterbabies — the squishy, water-filled dolls — are celebrating their 25th anniversary. And modern kids don’t have to settle for a basic model; now there are quite a few varieties.
Fill the baby doll with warm water for a realistic cuddle. Wee Waterbabies (they’re little), Bathtime Fun, Twincesses (twins), to name a few, as well as different outfits are now available. The Bathtime Fun set includes a doll, animal-themed towel and floatie, bath squirters, and a funnel for filling the doll. Best for ages 3+
Toy Story and Pixar fans will be delighted by this talking Buzz Lightyear action figure -- Andy’s name is written on his foot, and he comes in the same box shown in the movie.
Aww! Not only does the 12” Space Ranger say 15 different phrases, he has a variety of action-packed moves under his belt, made possible by fully articulated joints. Buzz’s wings release, he can karate chop, and more. He also lights up, and features various cool sound effects. 2 AA batteries are included. “Everyone take cover!” Buzz is best for ages 3+