So I was actually born in the 80s. I know, I know… I look younger in a hat.
My childhood took place in the 80s-90s. And by the year 2000, I was an eighteen year old adult.
But truth be told, at eighteen, I was still a kid at heart.
Heck, I’m almost 40 now and I still play with kids toys (Game Boys).
And having cousins who were under the age of ten in the 2000s, it was not uncommon to see me in the toy isle with them.
Let’s take a look back at some of the best retro toys from the 2000s… and see which ones young Anthony Wallace had.
Don’t want to limit yourself to the 2000s toys? Maybe take a look at our list of 10 best retro toys of all time.
Table of Contents
15. Love ‘n Licks Puppy (2006)
Let’s kick this list off with a weird one.
For parents who didn’t want to buy their kids a real puppy.. they could pick up Playmates Toys Inc’s “Love ‘n Licks Puppy”.
I mean, if that sentence doesn’t tell you everything you need to know, I’ll take you further down the rabbit hole.
Yes, a toy puppy… you can pet it. It barks. It wags its tail. Oh, and when it gets really excited, it will lick you with its wet tongue.
“So wet, you need a towel.”
(Batteries not included)
14. Silly Bandz (2002)
Like rubber bands.. but like.. cooler! Why? Cause they are shaped like stuff. No, like why make them? I dunno.
Their distribution was a bit sparse in the early 2000s, but by 2009, they were all the craze.
Perhaps their appeal being that they were so easily lost and thought of as disposable, so you always need more.
But kids loved em. They collected them. If your friend had a set you did not, you needed it.
Oddly popular, but that’s kind of how a lot of these children’s toy crazes work, isn’t it?
13. Beyblade (2002)
Alright, so this one barely made the cut. Originally released in Japan in 1999, it made its official debut in the west in 2002.
These are essentially weaponized spinning tops that kids are intended to sling at eachother.
With a wide variety of designs, players can try to play strategically and focus on attack, defense, stamina, or balance.
Kids love smashing stuff into other stuff, so these were par for the course I guess and had to be added to this 2000s toys list!
12. Aqua Dots (2007)
Aww, how cute. Little colorful dots filled with liquid that you can arrange into pictures.
Insanely popular for their short lived time on the market.
I remember going to the store with my young cousin and him begging our grandma to buy some.
Just one small problem with the Aqua Dots… not an uncommon problem with children’s toys… kids were eating them. Like, a lot. Which is never really a good thing.
But companies do typically warn against this, and even go as far as to create deterrents (such as adding a bitter tasting coating to their toys).
Well, the Aqua Dots did, in fact, have something added to them. The thing about that is that the Chinese manufacturer of the tiny liquid filled dots actually filled them with a chemical agent not prescribed by the inventor of the toy.
What did that specific chemical agent do when ingested, you ask? Well, it created Gamma-hydroxybutyrate. GHB. A little compound made notorious for being involuntarily ingested while on dates.
And it turned out GHB wasn’t good for kids either.
Needless to say, Aqua Dots were voluntarily pulled from shelves, and the manufacturer prayed that the memory of them would disappear into obscurity. Unfortunately for them that was not the case.
Speaking of cases… one family won a lawsuit against the company for about half a million dollars for the medical damage it did to their child.
Oops. Check out this USA Today article about the Aqua Dots debacle.
11. i-Dog (2005)
Another dog, but this one is innocent and dry.
There were several iterations of the robotic iDog In the 2000s. The first made by Sega Toys.
Essentially, they were dog shaped music visualizers.. you plug in a music device, and the dog will react to the music.
It had LED lights in its head and it would dance.
Their slogan: “Beggin’ for the Beat”.
This one felt momentary and like something that would get a chuckle when you open it up on Christmas, and maybe never see it again.
However, the iDog did not lie down easily. With MANY iterations of the canine themed robotic eyesore, including variations to its appearance, color, “personality” and built in speakers.
And if you’re not a dog person, they also had the iCat, iFish, iPenguin, and iTurtle.
Oh, and these all spawned from an original toy by the same company called the Poo-Chi. So there’s that.
10. Bionicle by Lego (2000)
As one of Lego’s highest selling properties, Bionicle was all the craze in the early 2000s.
Where Bionicle was different than your regular Lego pieces was this series had a back story told across many different mediums (film, television, comic books, video games, merchandise) creating a franchise that fans could feel an attachment to.
And it worked! Lego saw massive profit surges due to the popularity of the franchise.
And though the series was announced to be ending in 2010, the break did not last long.
In 2012, Lego began developing the Generation 2 series, which was on the market from 2015 to 2016.
It seems it is only a matter of time before we get Generation 3 of the wildly popular series. And we are ready for it, this is one of Brandon’s favourite 2000’s toys.
9. Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 (2001)
The first Harry Potter film hit theaters in 2001. And man, was it awesome.
I went and saw it with my friends (we were all about 19 at the time), and I remember how freakin amazing it was when Harry steps out into Diagon Alley and a whole new world opened up to him. A classic movie moment, and one I will always remember.
A popular franchise like Harry Potter is bound to spawn a ton of great merchandising opportunities.
One such item being the Nimbus 2000 vibrating broomstick.
How cool! I’m sure every kid who saw Harry Potter wanted to get a magic wand and a broomstick A-S-A-P.
But parents seemed to see something entirely different in this toy.
It was probably an honest mistake. But I think we can all agree that you can’t sell a children’s toy that vibrates and is intended to be stuck right between your legs.
One parent’s Amazon review urging “TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT!”.
I still think it’s a pretty awesome toy.
8. Bratz Dolls (2001)
“I do not play with dolls! I am a boy!”
But you know who did? My cousins… twin girls who were like 2 at the time when the Bratz dolls were blowing up. And they stayed popular all throughout their childhood. So annoyingly.. I had to hear them beg for them on the regular.
These ten inch tall toys were known for their fashion forward styling, exaggerated facial features, and a sassy attitude that says “I know I am cool!”
And cool, they were. By the mid 2000s, they had captured nearly 40% of the toy doll market from Barbie.
And their many spin-off series’ and accessories kept the company relevant for at least ten years.
Also spawning a tv series, straight to VHS films, music and video games… the Bratz franchise was truly a smash in the 2000s.
I just can’t offer a lot of insight here. CAUSE I’M A BOY!
(In case my cultural reference did not come across clearly, that is what young boys said at the time: “I am a boy! I do not play with dolls!”)
7. Heelys (2000)
Cool kid comin’ through. Watch out!
You know the kid. A short run followed by a long roll. HOW IS HE DOING IT?!
The wheels on his feet, that’s how!
A slew of concerns about injury and safety to both riders and the people around them has not stopped this popular toy/accessory(?) from becoming ultra popular with kids twelve and under in a city near you.
I never had them. I tried them on once and had no idea how someone could possibly walk in them. I know, you are supposed to remove the wheel. But who does that?
If you are a heeler, you keep the wheels in.
How are you supposed to keep it real when you have to take the wheel out of your bag, sit on the floor, snap it in place, then get back up and roll away from bullies or the cute girl at school?
Shout out to cool kids, bullies, and cute girls.
Heelys.com is still alive and kicking, and there doesn’t seem to be an end to the roll in sight.
Keep on rollin’ cool kids!
6. Star Wars Force Fx Lightsaber (2004)
Star Wars is not only one of the most popular science fiction film franchises the world has ever known.. but it is also a MASSIVE merchandising machine.
As the legend goes… George Lucas sold his then unproven franchise to Fox Studios for a fairly low price with two caveats: 1. that he would retain all merchandising rights, and 2. that he retained all rights to any sequels.
And looking back at the franchises insanely successful history, we can see how those two things proved to be Lucas’ ace in the hole.
Toys toys toys. Those things sold like hotcakes. But which toy was the toy that kids had to have after watching any Star Wars movie? That sweet lightsaber!
There were many versions of the lightsaber created over the years. From inflatable versions to those ones you can fling out from the handle. But 2004 saw the release of what was the coolest and most true to the film version the world had seen.
The original 2004 model started an entire line of premium lightsabers, and fans eat them up. Still.
So anybody lucky enough to get one of these bad boys back then, especially as a kid… man, you were cool.
5. Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards (2002)
Officially launched by Konami in 1999 in Japan and March 2002 in North America, the Yu-Gi-Oh! series of trading cards were quite obviously made to compete with the likes of Pokémon.
And hey… no shame in the game. When fans get not one, but two awesome collections to be excited about… everybody wins.
And as the top selling trading card game in the world in 2009 (made official by Guinness World Records), at over 22 billion cards… Konami clearly had a hit on their hands.
I never got into anime or D&D style trading cards. I was more into the Marvel/X-Men type cards. But we all knew those kids who were all about anime and Japanese cards way before that ever became cool.
It was its own little underworld, where secret meetings were held in the back of comic book stores… and the elite battled it out for honor, glory, bragging rights, and maybe like to have first choice between grape soda or orange soda that night.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… I wish I were that cool.
Do you have some old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards? Maybe take a look at our list of the most rare Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and see if you are sitting on a fortune!
4. Nintendo DS (2004)
Now here is my moment to shine in the “cool” department. I have become quite the Nintendo handheld console expert in the past couple of years. And I was an OG in that world as well.
I had Game Boys when they were still sold in stores and you had to ask grandma to take you to the mall to buy one.
As the best selling handheld console ever, at over 150 million units sold… The Nintendo DS could be considered the king of them all.
The first model in the DS series making its debut in 2004, and additional models spread throughout the 2000s, Nintendo had a firm grasp on the handheld gaming market.
And what kid didn’t want a DS? It was a gaming console. But like… it had a camera. And it could go online. And it had a little touch pen. It felt like a computer. In your pocket.
The Nintendo DS was the epitome of cool in the 2000s. And some of us big kids are still chasing that feeling to this day.
3. Fidget Spinners (2005)
Oh god, no. Not fidget spinners. Please, not fidget spinners.
Okay, we have to talk about them. What annoying kid didn’t have one?
We know, we know… it keeps spinning. Cool.
The fidget spinner is actually not a new concept (er, wasn’t in the 2000s).
Patented by Catherine Hettinger in 1993, the device was intended to aid children with anxiety and ADHD.
So if they were patented in 1993, how do they make it on a list of popular toys from the 2000s? I’ll tell you how!
In 2005, something monumentous occurred… Catherine failed to renew her patent for the device.. and the world was ready to give the device another spin.
Funny how a device intended to ease someones anxiety can actually cause most adults so much anxiety.
The things are annoying. Kids ten and below freakin love them. But it is undeniable how popular they were with the youth in the 2000s.
And, though you still see one occasionally, I sure hope they don’t make any big comebacks.
I still can’t believe my 40 year old best friend still keeps one on his kitchen counter.
2. iPod (2001)
Okay, so we have poked fun, we have mocked, we have shaken (shooked?) our heads at some of the toys to come from the 2000s.. but there is nothing to laugh and joke about with Apple’s iPod.
While not traditionally a toy, per say… the iPod was a must have for kids in the 2000s.
Every single kid, from age 4-18 wanted one for Christmas or their birthday. And a lot of them got one.
I got one. My cousins got one. And they were AWE-SOME.
Literally thousands of songs, in your hand. Ready for your listening enjoyment at any moment. It was a new concept to many of us.
It wasn’t the first portable music device, it wasn’t the first digital media player. But man, did they get it right.
The iPod was truly the best portable music device we had in the 2000s. No more walkman cassette players, no more discman CD players. We now had a truly pocket sized music player that held your entire music category.
By the end of the 2000s, Apple had sold over 220 million iPods making it one of the most popular 2000s toys.
And were it not for the rising universal utility of the cellular phone, we would all still be carrying them in our pockets today.
1. Razor Scooter (2000)
I had one.. I loved it.
I was 18 years old scootin’ my way around parks and college campuses. Trying to do spin tricks, and bruising my shins.
I drove a 1972 VW Beetle and always had a skateboard and razor scooter in the backseat. No shame.
So how were the Razor scooters different than any other scooter that came out in years prior? Well, besides the fact that they were ultra compact and portable… they were cool.
This wasn’t the ugly scooter your aunt probably rode around in the 60s. This thing had style. It was metal!
Razor scooters felt akin to skateboards and rollerblades of the time. They were for the cool kids.
And like skateboards and rollerblades (inline skates, as the elitists will call them).. the razor scooter spawned a whole new sport. Kids were actually going full send on the tiny metal go-go sticks.
To this day, there are literally pro scooter riders who make a full time living riding razor scooters. They are riding them on giant ramps and doing crazy spin tricks.
Whether or not that could still be considered cool is up for debate. But I, for one, wish I were that cool.
I will never be pro-scooter cool. Put that on my gravestone.
And that’s the best 2000s toys!
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.