Top Ten Toys

I saw this meme over at Jo(e)’s place—but haven’t seen it anywhere else. Jo(e), did you make it up? Here, in no particular order, are the top ten toys of my childhood:


My bike. I rode my bike everywhere when I was a kid. We lived in a not-so-busy town, with lots of farmland around (although for most of my adolescence, that was busily being converted to developments). I spent endless hours riding around, and the distances that I rode in middle and high school amaze me today.

Mad Libs. I doubt I would have put these on the list, except that the Bee has been recently introduced to Mad Libs Junior, and it’s brought back all the hilarity. Seriously, my brothers and I spent hours doing Mad Libs. What’s funnier than thinking up synonyms for poop?

Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I was one of those kids. We had the perfect basement for gaming, and indeed, I was a gamer geek in high school. Nowadays, of course, I have to settle for marathon sessions of Baldur’s Gate, since I no longer have gamer geek friends (nor 12 unspoken-for hours at my disposal. No liters of Diet Coke, either.)


My homemade dollhouse. My dad once made me a dollhouse that was a scale model of our house. Coolest. Dollhouse. Ever. It wasn’t that my dad was such a skilled carpenter–the thing was sturdily made but not highly decorative–I don’t think it ever got painted, so it was basically the color of balsa wood forever. But still, I could have my dolls play in my room. While they were in my room! Get it?


Horsey. Like the Potato, I had a favorite stuffed animal (and man, I’ve gotta take a new picture of Mr. Bear to put on the blog. One that shows his many patches.). Landisdad doesn’t quite get my fondness for Mr. Bear, but I know what it’s like to love a stuffed animal so much it becomes real. Some now-forgotten person gave my mother Horsey as a shower gift when she was pregnant with me. Yes, that is an actual picture of him. And yes, I’m 38 years old, and I still have my first stuffed animal.

Roller skates. In one of the more ironic experiences I’ve had lately, the Bee has been constantly wearing her roller skates with the retractable wheels. Why is this ironic? Well, I bought them for her because I would have given my eye-teeth to have a pair of real skates when I was a kid, instead of the kind that you clipped on over your shoes. The Bee, of course, is not wearing these as roller skates. She’s wearing them as knock-off Heely’s, with just the back wheels popped out. And so the circle of deprivation continues…

My sled. I’m not sure how old I was when this happened—old enough that I was sledding with just friends and no parents. You know how there are those kids that don’t have a real sled, but use cardboard or a sheet of plastic? I was one of those kids. Until the day that my best friend and I went down a hill together, her in front, me in the back. She saw the tree, and jumped off. I got the almost-concussion. A lovely older gentleman who saw it followed me home (without telling me—he was afraid I wouldn’t talk to him because he was a stranger) and told my mom what had happened. He came back several days later with a newly refurbished sled that he had trash-picked and refinished just for me. It was a great sled, and a great town.


Marbles. I wasn’t really a big competitor, marbles-wise, but I really liked carrying them around. Plus, the many pretty colors. More of a collector, I guess, but I never got into trading or anything like that.


Books. If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I am an inveterate reader, and have been since childhood. From The Lorax to Encyclopedia Brown to From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to A Wrinkle in Time to Anne of Green Gables to Nancy Drew to all of Judy Blume–the list goes on and on. Fiction was my first love, but I’ve also enjoyed plenty of non-fiction kids’ books. One thing that I really like about having kids is getting to learn all kinds of new dinosaur facts.


Scrabble. Well, really any kind of word game, crossword puzzle, word search, what-have-you. I actually had a subscription to Games Magazine for a while when I was in middle school. And I wondered why I couldn’t attract a boy?


Our backyard playset. Surprisingly, when you do a search of googleimages for ‘crazy wooden playset,’ you don’t get a single result. That’s obviously because no one ever posted a picture online of the playset that my dad built in our backyard. It didn’t look anything like this lovely number, because that was the ’70s, when people still thought it was a good idea for kids to play on structures made out of plywood, 4′ x 8’s, and nails. My dad built the world’s greatest playset, it was nearly two stories high, and was painted white. I loved it right up until the day that I fell off the second story and passed out (are you sensing a theme? I had a lot of injuries as a kid).

Bonus track 11–our shed. At one time, the house that I grew up in was on the property of a much larger house that was across the street. That house had a stable in the back yard. Our house had the carriage house in the back yard. It was full of interesting horsey things that I didn’t quite get the purpose of. Also ginormous spiders as big as your head. If you could stand to hide there during hide-and-seek, you would always win. But the fear always got me…

Tag. I feel it would be remiss of me to do this post, and not tag some folks at the end. What do you have to say for yourselves? Who’s going to play along?


December 5, 2006. memes.


  1. Suzanne replied:

    I love this post! I’ll play along, too — this should be fun.

    I loved Mad Libs and can’t wait till my kids are old enough to play along.

  2. Phil replied:

    I’ll try to post something tonight… Must do some heavy lifting in the old brain matter to retrieve distant memories…

  3. Jennifer replied:

    Cool meme.

    A friend and I made a dollhouse out of old boxes we got from the grocery store (this was of course before Costco) and used matchboxes to make beds and bits of material for blankets, etc. We worked on that thing nearly every day for a year!

  4. raava replied:

    Great meme!

    My Dad made me a dollhouse too when I was five and I treasured it. Favourite toy ever. Unfortunately, we stored it in the garage to pass on to my girls and the mice found it as homey as my dolls. They chewed it to bits. Now I only have pictures to remember it by.

    Also, totally agree on the bike and the books. Me too!

  5. jo(e) replied:

    Oh, I had forgotten about Mad Libs! They were always so much fun.

    (Yes, I made up the meme. I think it would be helpful to parents of young children who are trying to think of what to get their kids for Christmas.)

  6. Ms Sisyphus replied:

    If we could find 12 hours between us, I’d be your gamer geek friend. I’d need real Coke, though.

  7. jackie replied:

    My partner was a D&D guy as a kid too. He would have loved to find a girl who played too!

    My favorite toys included Legos, my dollhouse (yours sounds so cool), books, markers and crayons, Cabbage Patch Dolls and Barbies– I think I’m dating myself here so I’ll say I’m in my late 20s, and was a girly-girl.

    I liked my bike until I fell off it when I was 12 and broke my left arm.

    Also, I am terrible at Scrabble. I’m a lifelong reader with a wide-ranging vocabulary. Even got awesome SAT verbal scores, but I think the spatial aspects of Scrabble confound me every time.

  8. Kate the Shrew replied:

    Hmmmm, maybe my middle school Games Magazine subscription lowered my cool factor with the boys, too!

    I like the meme, I will play along if I can remember anything…

    You could always come over to our house– TechDad still plays D&D with his friends on Fridays.

  9. bj replied:

    really — did you live in some weird iconic american suburban past? a home made dollhouse? a jury-bult play structure? marbles???

    So, ask you’re kids to do the meme, too? I would love for my kids to make this list (your list) some day. But, I fear that there’s will go something like 1)100 barbie dolls 2) 10 American girl dolls 3) the 21 inch iMac 4)Sims . . .

    and my kids are 3 and 5.


  10. bj replied:

    urgh, “your kids to do the meme” and “I fear that their’s”


  11. Jessica replied:

    “Fell out the second story”?! Oh, LM….your poor mother – she must have had multiple heartattaks!

  12. Emma replied:

    Marbles! yes!

  13. Ashley replied:

    Oh! I’ll give this one a try. D&D, definitely!

  14. Anne Glamore replied:

    I’m putting Mad Libs and ML jr in stockings this year. My boys think they’re hilarious!

  15. cuddly things « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] by Jeff at Out With the Kids with this meme about three favorite childhood toys. As I’ve previously blogged, my favorite childhood stuffed animal was my red horse, […]

  16. BBSP at five years « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] #7–Top Ten Toys. This tends to trend very heavily around Christmas. Guess it’s all those aunts and uncles and grandparents looking for suggestions. Not very helpful, I’m afraid. Although you can’t go wrong with Mad Libs. Or D & D books. […]

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