7 Toys From the 60s That Prove Boomers Had It Better

These cool toys from the 60s will make you wish you were a Boomer.

Published January 5, 2024
Happy Boy in Astronaut Costume with Spaceship

The bubble-wrapped, easily trackable childhoods of today didn’t exist in the 1960s. The teenager revolution was in its infancy, and kids' marketing had just been born. But the Flower Power generation didn’t disappoint. Though these toybox treasures might have had a slow start, they made up for it with these creative toys from the 60s.

Wham-O Slingshots

Young boy playing with a slingshot

Because the 1960s was a bit of a transition period for kids’ toys, manufacturers took inspiration from some delightfully strange places. Apparently, your Sunday School teacher isn't the only one who thinks the Bible is chock full of inspiration for kids’ toys… David and Goliath, anyone?

Wham-O had more As-Seen-on-TV spirit than all the Oxy Clean or Bump Its commercial darlings combined. And within their legendary catalog of kids’ toys was a wooden sling slot. At face value, a slingshot isn’t that exciting. But when you grew up on foam Nerf bullets like I did, the metal ammo that came complimentary excites the vengeful sibling in me. Who needs perfectly healthy eyeballs, unchipped windows, and uncracked windshields anyway?

Children’s Record Players

Childs vintage electric tin phonograph/record player

In the 1960s, kid culture hadn’t fully developed yet. So, a myriad of mini-adult products hit the shelves. One of our favorites is the quaint children’s record players that played actual 45 RPMs. These plastic players were the boom boxes of their generation, and they introduced Boomers to the music they’d cling to for decades.

My mom was one of these kids, being gifted her first working record player at 2 years old. She cared for her records in the same worshipful way that babies lock in on Cocomelon today. The joy the memory of that record player brings her means that this toy had to make our list.

Sew & Stuff Animal Pillows

Vintage Richard The Lion Throw Pillow Cut & Sew 1960s Cartoon Big Eyes

If you love crafting, then look to the 60s and 70s for inspiration. From dangerous wood-burning kits to string art, there was all kinds of whacky crafting going on. But one of the sweetest was sew & stuff animal pillows. These literally fool-proof sheets of fabric came with a printed animal image that you would cut out, pin, sew, and stuff. It couldn’t get any easier.

These sew & stuff patterns are nowhere to be found today — though we bet Disney adults would fall over themselves to buy Disney character sew & stuff pillows — which makes the old patterns you can find all the more special. Why take a tattered blanket square around with you from house to house when you could carry a cute duck or doggo into adulthood?

Incredible Edibles

Vintage Sooper Gooper Mattel Incredible Edibles Candy Mold Toy with Molds

Nothing screams mid-century toy more than a brightly colored hot plate disguised as some kind of bug creature. Incredible Edibles was a toy kit that let the more adventurous kids make their own concoctions in the Scooter Gooper cooker. Using one of their fun animal or fruit molds, you’d superheat the packaged goop it came with into gummy candies.

As an adult, the idea of eating something called “Gobble-Degoop” in flavors such as licorice, butterscotch, or cinnamon feels like punishment. But, every kid deserves to feel like a mad scientist, and this one with finger-burning stakes did just that.

Mattel’s Vac-U-Form

1962 Mattel Vac-U-Form Unit Playset Box Instructions Boats & Military Vehicles

Mattel’s Vac-U-Form is possibly the most outrageous thing that ever came from the iconic toy manufacturer. Take one walk behind the scenes of body shops and manufacturing plants, and you’ll see super-sized Vac-U-Forms everywhere.

OSHA would have a field day with these devices that super-heated plastic and cooled it around a mold to form little cars and figurines. As an unreformed dangerous toy lover, there’s a serious lack of impractical toys like this. Safety levers and bumpers might keep little hands from getting hurt, but they also take all the fun right out of getting in on the action.

Barbie’s First Dreamhouse

 1962 Barbie's Dreamhouse

The first Barbie Dreamhouse came out in 1962 and changed the game. Massive, realistic dollhouses had been around for centuries, but this foldable single-story open-floor house fit in every kind of kid’s home. Filled with eye-catching Mid-Century Modern furniture, the original Barbie Dreamhouse was the perfect combination of play and function.

If Mattel is reading this, we’re begging you to make a permanent line of portable Dreamhouses like the 62 original. There are only so many places to store a three-story palatial estate, especially when that slim, box-sized house that fits in your under-bed storage is waiting right there.

Easy-Bake Oven

Vintage 1969 Avocado Green Easy Bake Over By Kenner Betty Crocker

If any 60s toy had to make this list, it was going to be the Easy-Bake Oven. Why, you ask, when you can get Easy-Bake Ovens with the click of a button? Because not a single Easy-Bake Oven in the past 20 years has had an ounce of the style that an original 60s one had in its oven door. Today, these glorified microwaves are impossible to get into with their coin slot openings. But 60s Easy-Bake Ovens came in bright turquoise and dandelion yellow, and had cooktops, storage, and an oven!

For a while there, Easy-Bake Oven was on the verge of being pulled off the shelves for good. And we think, unless they bring back these stylish versions, they might as well have been.

These Boomer Toys Still Hold Up

Boomers, for all their tongue-in-cheek internet memery, really had it made when it came to cool playthings. Toys in the 60s were just that side of dangerous to tickle every elementary schooler’s inner bad seed. While 90s toys had their moments, they don’t compare to some of the hits from 60 years ago.

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7 Toys From the 60s That Prove Boomers Had It Better