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When Classic Toys Go Horribly Wrong – Or If You’re Lucky, They Stay Awesomely the Same

Sometimes when a classic toy is re-released it’s the same, but often it loses some fun in the modern quest for safety.

My girls are currently obsessed with Silly Putty.

It’s kind of fun to see an old classic making a comeback, but I have to say after the first 10 minutes out of the red egg, that stuff becomes really gross.  It picks up every stray hair and cookie crumb and who knows what germs.

It’s on sale for $1 at Target, though, so I am just going to stock up and throw the gross ones out at night when the girls are sleeping, to be replaced by a new one.  No one but me will be the wiser.

What worries me right now is that some of it has gone missing.  I’m either going to find it ground into the carpet or I will have sat on it and walked around all day with it stuck to the back of my jeans.

My older daughter noted that it “smells like the gas station” so I thought I’d see what it’s made from after I pry a chunk out from her little sister’s molars.

Turns out Silly Putty is non-toxic.  Phew!  There are some pretty obvious disclaimers on the packaging.  

“Sticks to hair. Keep away from hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.  Not intended for use as ear plugs…Product may stick to fabric and other household surfaces.  Contains colorants that stain.”

Well.  Now that we have the ear plug thing all cleared up….

Anyway, this Silly Putty resurgence in my house got me thinking about some of the classic toys that we enjoyed as kids – many of which have made a comeback in altered form.  I’ve already written about .  The 2011 version certainly is different than way back in the day, considering it’s now non-toxic too.

Recently toy companies have re-released some of the simple classics, and they certainly bring you back when you see them on the toy shelves.  Some haven’t changed at all – I loved seeing the Fisher Price Teaching Clock, Chatter Phone, TV and record player again.  And of course there is always the Slinky. 

But what about the toys that have been re-released and yet “updated” at the same time?

What about the Big Wheel?  A friend of mine recently bought one for her son.  She says he adores it.  I’m not convinced.  How much fun can it really be with modern safety features?  Does it still have the ability to completely skid out, creating that lovely burning plastic smell? 

The “Official Big Wheel” website has a fantastic Flashback Gallery where you can see pictures of Big Wheels from 1969’s debut to now.

I asked my friends what other classic toys are back with a new spin, and got some great answers.  Time to go shopping!

  • Beyblades --  These look like  a new and hip version of the classic spin top.
  • Trio Blocks – Like the toddler-sized Legos, but with more flexible building power. 
  • Tinkertoys – Can’t leave out this classic, because they now come in girly colors too!
  • Strawberry Shortcake dolls – It’s going to show my age to admit that I was too old when these came out the first time, but my sister loved them.  And my girls like the classic ones (purchased on eBay) too.  But the most recent release of these dolls sees them still scented, but now made with stiff plastic hair.  Sure it won’t turn into polyester dreads, but where’s the fun in that?
  • The Sit ‘N Spin – Unfortunate name aside, this was always a toy I wanted and couldn’t get enough of at friend’s houses.  You could catch so much centrifugal force that you could shoot across the room.  Sadly, this toy is now “safe” and absolutely the biggest disappointment you will find on the list.

Do you have a favorite toy that has been re-released, or so they make similar toys now?  And if so, was it updated within an inch of its funness or was it just as you remembered?

Anne Gonnella April 06, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Crayons are not as good now. You have to work much harder to make a decent mark on the paper. We compared them to some of the crayons I still had hanging around from my childhood at those are much better!
Jill Berry April 06, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Playdoh is a huge hit in our house. Ditto for Moon Sand and Moon Dough...very messy.

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