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"Ten Groovy Seventies Toys"

by Renata Sancken

Ah, the 70s. Great hair, great clothes, and great toys. Alright -- maybe the
hair and clothes haven't all stood the test of time, but no one can deny that
children of the 70s had some awesome toys. Some of these are still being
manufactured and others have fallen to the wayside, existing only in attics and
on the internet. Check out our picks for the top ten toy fads of the 70s. (Of
course, we couldn't possibly judge these, so they are presented in
chronological order.)

10. Nerf (1970)

The very first Nerf product was billed as "the world's first official indoor
ball." Think about that: before Nerf there were no balls that could be played
with indoors. Advertising for the Nerf ball claimed, "Throw it indoors; you
can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people." Of
course, the 1980s saw the advent of Nerf guns, and the nation's babies and old
people paid the price.

9. Weebles (1971)

"Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down." Is that the most challenging toy
motto ever? Sure, maybe Weebles don't usually fall down, but what if you smash
the bottom with a hammer? If you're curious, Wikipedia has a whole section
about the physics of Weebles. If you're not curious, good for you! You probably
have more pressing concerns, like whether or not they still sell Weebles. (Good
news: they were re-launched in 2010.)

8. Atari (1972)

Okay, so maybe Ataris aren't all that impressive compared to your Wiis and your
Kinects and your what-have-yous. Maybe, in retrospect, Pong is actually
moderately less fun than playing actual table tennis. But, you know what? You
wouldn't have Legend of Zelda today if it weren't for Atari in 1972.

7. Baby Alive (1973)

This doll creepily prepared little girls for successful careers as babysitters.
You could feed it food from a little packet, press a button on its back, and it
would eat it and poop it out with exactly the same consistency it started with.
Just like a real baby! In the 90s Hasbro figured out how to make this doll even
creepier: by making it talk.

6. Shrinky Dinks (1973)

It's hard to explain why plastic shapes that shrink in the oven are so
satisfying to play with. They just are. Shrinky Dinks were invented by Betty
Morris and Kathryn Bloomberg in what may be the most profitable Cub Scout
project of all time.

5. Rubik's Cube (1974)

Did you know: it's not spelled Rubix Cube, but rather Rubik's Cube. They are
named for their Hungarian inventor, Ernõ Rubik, and that apostrophe means it
belongs to him. You had better be prepared to return it to him. And he wants it
solved. No, it doesn't count if you just have one green square out of place.
Solve it or Mr. Rubik will send his enforcers after you. After the Rubik's Cube
was invented, it took years to figure out a way to mass produce them. They
didn't reach the United States until 1980, and there were not enough to meet
demand. Can you imagine having a shortage of Rubik's Cubes? Imagine it.
(These people are crazy!)

4. Growing Up Skipper (1975)

Skipper was introduced in 1964 as Barbie's younger sister. But in 1975, Skipper
reached puberty. With the flip of her arm, Skipper grew taller and curvier. No,
really. (NSFW?) She could just as easily be flipped back to childhood. Growing
Up Skipper was taken off the market in 1977, possibly because she confused
young girls about the true nature of puberty. Although, girls today have to
deal with Bratz dolls, which are much more confusing.

3. Pet Rock (1975)

The 70s were a complicated time. Not every kid wanted to figure out how Atari
worked, where Skipper's new breasts came from, or why their neighbor's puppy
made them break out into hives. Some kids just wanted a rock to play with.
Luckily for those kids, there was the Pet Rock. The Pet Rock came with a
32-page manual entitled The Care and Training of your Pet Rock. Unfortunately,
most kids never read the manual, and most Pet Rocks starved to death. This is
why Pet Rocks are so rare today.

2. Stretch Armstrong (1976)

Get this. It's a super buff action figure, but it stretches. Plus, it gets its
stretch from being full of corn syrup, so it doubles as emergency rations.
Taylor Lautner is set to play Stretch Amstrong in an upcoming movie. Producer
Brian Grazer said, "It's a story about a guy stretching -- if you will -- the
limits of what is possible to become all that he can be." Awesome.

1. Star Wars Toys (1977)

Before Jar Jar Binks and whiny baby Darth Vader ruined everything, there was
the first Star Wars movie. Kenner had the rights to make Star Wars action
figures, but were unprepared for their popularity. So for Christmas 1977,
Kenner sold empty toy boxes with certificates kids could mail in for a toy in
the new year, after production caught up with demand. Yes, the 70s were a
simpler time, when Santa could leave kids an "IOU one Luke Skywalker" note and
kids would accept it.


You have Renata Sancken to thank for this nostalgic list. Renata writes for, which is full of
awesome vintage t-shirts, but unfortunately, no pet rocks.

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