The best retro toys from every era…

We round up the best retro toys UK that take us right back to our childhood.

retro-toys

by Lorna White |

There's something so nostalgic about the old toys you once loved as a child. Whether it's the chatter telephone, a space hopper or a classic Game Boy, there's nothing quite like playing with those old toys, even when you're all grown up.

You might be surprised to learn that these retro toys are still available to buy online, so whether you're wanting to treat yourself to a toy for the memories, or you want to buy a toy as a gift for the children in your life, it's worth a browse to see what pieces of nostalgia you can pick up.

What to look out for when buying retro toys

Whether you're looking to start a bit of a collection of old toys as a hobby, or you're just shopping for a one off purchase, it's important to stick to a budget - especially if you're bidding for a toy in an online auction. Before shopping, have a price range in mind and a maximum budget.

You also need to make sure the toy is in tip top condition. You don't want to be forking out for an item that is in poor condition when it arrives, so make sure when buying from an independent seller, that the condition is what you'd expect, especially if this is going to be a gift.

Similar to condition, you'll want to make sure the toy you're buying is complete. So whether this is an old retro board game, jigsaw or baby doll, it's a good idea to check no pieces or items will be missing as seeking out these missing items can often be impossible or very costly.

Vintage toys from the 50s

For most of us, life in the Fifties still had a very definite gender divide, and toys were no different. Girls wanted to be just like Mummy, so our baby dolls, dressed in hand-knitted clothes, were tucked into prams and paraded up and down the street. Or we could try our hands at creating an imaginary culinary masterpiece with the Philip Harben cookery set.

This came complete with rolling pin, cookie cutters, mixing bowl, rotary whisk, wooden spoon, scales and miniature toy packets, as well as cans of food such as peas, carrots, Nestlé tinned milk and Ovaltine.

For boys, playtime was all about cowboys and spacemen. You could pop a six-shooter in your holster and ride off to adventure like the Lone Ranger or, sporting a ray gun and walkie talkie, you could fly into space like Dan Dare.

Shop the best retro toys from the 50s here.

Retro toys from the 60s

The 1960s were a golden age of toys and entertainment. Toys such as Twister, Operation and kitchen-sets became the most in demand choices each Christmas and are still popular gifts that children receive to this day.

This era also saw dolls and action figures become much more popular with Chatty Cathy, Ken Doll and of course the legendary Barbie dolls, still remaining popular.

Shop the best retro toys from the 60s here.

70s retro toys

Did you want an Evil Knievel stunt bike, Kojak’s car or a Talking K9? Our love affair with TV meant that anything related to our favourite shows was top of our Christmas wish lists in the Seventies.

We could recreate the adventures of Doctor Who, The Saint, Starsky & Hutch or ‘Chips’ motorcycle cops. Or act out scenes from the latest science fiction blockbuster Star Wars.

There were puppets to try your hand at too. You could host your own Muppet Show with Kermit and Miss Piggy dolls or pretend your dad was Michael Parkinson and wrestle him to the ground with a Rod Hull Emu puppet.

Shop the best retro toys from the 70s here.

The best toys of the 80s

Whether you yourself were an 80's baby, or simply coming of age around that time, you’ll probably remember some of the most popular toys which - even after 40 years - remain iconic.

The Sony Walkman, Pound Puppy and Cabbage Patch Kids – feeling nostalgic yet? Electronic toys really gained popularity in the 80s with the introduction of the iconic Pac-Man and first models of the Nintendo Game Boy to name a few.

Shop the best retro toys from the 80s here.****__**

Retro toys from the 90s

From Polly Pocket to action figures, we remember traipsing around Toys R Us in the days leading up to Christmas in search of the 'must-have' Christmas toys of that year, whether it was for our children or the grandchildren.

Now they're all grown up, we think they'd love a nostalgic toy as a present to help them take a trip down memory lane!

Shop the best retro toys from the 90s here.

Gallery

The best retro toys from every era...

Monster Shop Multi-game Arcade Table
1 of 9

With 60 classic video games including some of your old favorites, you can take a trip down memory lane and play alone or against a friend.Dimensions: 93 x 64.5 x 73 centimetres

Amazon
Metallic Effect Slinky
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This fun 80s throwback makes the perfect little gift. Spend hours watching it walk down the stairs all by itself. Dimensions: 15.4 x 5.6 x 4.6 cmOne reviewer said: 'So after getting this as a wee stocking filler for my grandson.... big gifts were mobile phones etc .... they went in the huff cause they didn't get one ... hurriedly had to buy three other slinky's so they were all happy ud83dude03 xxx'

Amazon
Fisher-Price Classics 1694 Chatter Telephone
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Originally produced in 1961, this toy will still provide loads of fun for the toddler in your life, and you can even show them exactly how to use it! Dimensions: 22.86 x 13.97 x 19.05 cmMaterial: plastic One reviewer said: 'I bought this because my little one was playing with the modern version of it at the weekend at someone's house. She's four months (so, below the recommended age for the toy) but she could play with it. She knocked off the phone and started to work out the dial. However, she did seem more engaged with the modern (and cheaper) version from Fisher Price!'

Amazon
Classic board games
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There's nothing like getting the whole family involved in a board game together. This set includes both Snakes & Ladders and Ludo. Dimensions: 31.7 x 30.7 x 3.7 cmMaterial: woodOne reviewer said: 'We're a family with a small child and we avoid TV at all costs, preferring to spend time together and now that our son is old enough, we wanted to start playing tabletop games, and snakes and ladders is a classic one :) I chose this mostly because it is wooden and not plastic (I really wanted something that feels natural) and I was not disappointed. I also particularly liked the more traditional design of the snakes and ladders, and the fact that I got this from the original manufacturer and a family-owned business.'

Amazon
Fisher Price Classics Little Snoopy Toy
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First produced in 1966, you'll love seeing your little ones pull the cord to watch Little Snoopy wobble around and swing his ears. He also makes a "yip-yip" sound as he moves. Dimensions: 17.27 x 6.6 x 10.8 cmMaterial: woodOne reviewer said: 'I was really impressed and pleasantly surprised when I received the toy in the post. Not only was it exactly as I remembered, it was also packaged really great and felt like amazing quality. The strong is long enough to attach to my nephew's trike which is what I hope to do with the dog so he can pull it along behind him when he rides his bike as I did myself as a youngster. The ears are movable as is the tail. I feel that the tail is different to the original version, but I still think it looks great and it's able to move so that's great. I would say that it isn't as heavy as I had imagined, but that is really of no issue to me as it is for my young relative and it will be easier for him to pick up and play with.'

Amazon
Guilty Gadgets BUZZ Super Nerve Game Wire
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Who remembers spending hours trying to keep your hand steady to navigate one of these electronic mazes? They're still hugely popular today and a fun challenge for all. Dimensions: 27.3 x 22.8 x 5 cmOne reviewer said: 'My boys liked this and it helped with perseverance and concentration. We are working on completing it without the buzzer going off! Not made of the strongest material and structure but good family fun.'

Amazon
160 Piece Classic Glass Marbles
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Teach the little ones all the marble games you used to play growing up with this tin of retro glass marbles. Dimensions: 18.7 x 11.2 x 5.5 cmOne reviewer said: 'This is a really good collection of marbles, lots of colours and sizes, although the tin is a bit noisy when you put them in, get them out you get lots of fun out of them and my daughter loves them, nice to play a game with her I played when I was younger.'

Amazon
Retro Space Hopper
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Bounce back to the 70s with a retro space hopper - perfect for having fun in the garden this summer. This is the large one, making it perfect for big kids! Weight: 800gOne reviewer said: 'Saw these and added it to the garden games during lockdown, socially distancing adults were bouncing around an obstacle course whilst they were having to undergo hosepipe squirting by the women and the girls turn the guys unloaded the nerds and water cannons! NOT THE HAIR! All from the same household.'

Amazon
Retro Jacks Game
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Sometimes called Jacks and sometimes Fivestones, this is another playground game you can show your children and grandchildren how to play. It contains 10 Jacks stars and 2 bouncy balls.Dimensions: 11 x 6 x 4 cmOne reviewer said: 'Lovely chunky jacks, sturdy bag to store them. Excellent to play with... took me back 60 years to my childhood.'

Amazon

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