Take a walk down memory lane as we check out the best 70s toys of all time!
As I was born in the 90s, I spent most of my time playing with 90s toys.
I guess the stands to reason, but it’s interesting to see how many of those toys were influenced by the toys of yesteryear.
And, more importantly, how many of these 70s toys were still in circulation when I was a kid, and indeed as I write this in 2022.
While parents were kicking back to Led Zeppelin and T-Rex, their kids were unboxing ‘shiny smooth pets’ and learning how to spell.
Hey, it might not sound cool to any young readers scrolling through this article right now, but we’re talking about toys that were in circulation over 50 years ago here!
Anyway, instead of listening to me waffle on, let’s kick off with the first item on our list and literally have some good old-fashioned fun, shall we?
1. Speak & Spell
We’ve got to kick off this list of the best 70s toys with the Speak & Spell, the brightly coloured toy that taught users how to spell.
Speaking out hard-to-spell words, users would input them using the keyboard on the front and then find out if they were right.
Hey, we’re all for anything that makes learning fun!
With multiple spelling games, the Speak & Spell was designed to keep kids of all ages happy.
The Retro Dodo team use them to edit all our articles too… honest.
How many of you can remember the phrase ‘Weebles wobble, they don’t fall down?’
These little wobbly figurines were one of the most iconic toys of the 70s, balancing perfectly whenever knocked.
And to be honest, everyone tried to knock them over. I mean, that was the whole point, right?
Like all good toys, they came with cool accessories like the haunted Weeble house and the regular Weeble house for those scared of ghosts.
I remember having a Weeble garage that my Mum got me when I was a kid. That’s a blast from the past!
3. Nerf Ball
Next up on our list of the best 70s toys is the world’s first indoor ball, the Nerf Ball!
Who would have thought that a polyurethane foam ball measuring just 4-inches would become one of the most popular toys of the 70s.
Even when thrown around indoors, these balls don’t cause any damage. You could throw one at the TV or the the window and nothing would happen.
Ok, if there’s a precariously placed ornament on the windowsill, then you might knock it off. But at least it’s not going to knock out the dog or your granny if they get whacked by accident.
4. Pet Rock
I wasn’t around in the 70s, but the legend of the Pet Rock lives on even in 2022.
The first Pet Rock came to being in 1975. Essentially, it was $4 for a stone that came in a nest in a box with holes.
Still, for about a year, people went crazy for this fad, purchasing their pet rocks and reading the feeding pamphlet to figure out how to look after it.
About 1.5 million sold in total… we really will buy anything, won’t we?
Every Retro Dodo reader should know about Pong. This classic Atari game was the first video game to smash commercial success and still has a strong following of players today.
If you’ve never heard of this before, then it’s essentially a tennis game with two paddles, one on either side of the screen,
Move your paddle up and down to volley the ball back onto the other side of the screen. If you miss a volley, the other player gets a point.
It’s as simple as they come, but it’s one of the best 70s toys of all time and a real ‘postertoy’ for the decade.
6. Mattel Electronic Football
In a world of PS5 haptic feedback and the best Nintendo Switch games, you wouldn’t think that this Mattel Electronic Football handheld could have ever been popular.
You could say that this handheld gaming device got people used to handheld gaming, however. I guess it acted as a precursor for the Gameboy too.
Would we have the DMG without this little handheld? Who knows!
The aim of this game was super simple; move the running back around defenders and score a goal for points. Younger gamers will find it so frustrating, but it’s a real piece of nostalgia for any 70’s gamers out there.
7. Rubik’s Cube
I’ve never, ever finished a Rubik’s Cube before. I’ve owned plenty and tried so many times, but this little plastic cube of hate has always defeated my dreams.
The Rubik’s cube was never supposed to be a toy. Initially, it was meant as a way of explaining 3D geometry to people.
Still, it ended up being released at a toy show, which instantly brands it as a toy in my opinion.
Maybe it was bad marketing; who knows?
There are over 43 quintillion different ways to solve a Rubik’s Cube, and I can’t find one without cheating.
Still, with over 450 million units sold to date, I would like to think that at least one of you out there could tell me how to solve one!
8. Hungry Hungry Hippos
I can still remember the day that I first got my own Hungry Hungry Hippos game. I got mine back in the 90s, but it the game’s journey began all the way back in the 70s.
Originally from Japan and then eventually sold worldwide under MB, Hungry Hungry Hippos has been a staple game in households ever since.
The concept has always been the same; push the levers on the hippos backs to elongate their necks and catch little plastic balls in their mouths.
The person with the most balls at the end of the round wins, and the fun begins again!
9. Ants In The Pants
It’s odd how many of these best 70s toys I had back in the 90s. I suppose they proved so popular that they were still in circulation when I was a little lad.
And Ants In The Pants is still being made by MB today!
I guess its because it’s such a simple game to play for all ages. Essentially, it’s tiddlywinks with a big pair of plastic pants.
Players have to get their coloured ants into the pants before their opponents.
So simple, yet so much fun!
10. Baby Alive
Baby Alive takes the 10th spot in our best 70s toys list, a doll that ate, drank, and wet itself.
Back in 1973, if kids wants to know what it was like to have a baby, then Baby Alive was the closest thing to holding a real one.
They ate packets of food that owners mixed up with water, and the baby would take it in one end and churn it out of the other.
By the time the 80s and the best 80s toys rolled around, Hasbro were selling over a million of these dolls a year!
Which one of our best 70s toys was your favourite as a kid? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.