Toys bring out creativity and encourage the use of imagination. Although there are lots of different toys available now then when I was a kid, some of the old toys are still hanging around. Walking through the toy aisles in a store can bring back fun childhood memories of toys that may be long gone, or may still be around but look a little bit different now.

Do you remember what your favorite toy was as a child? Do you have children or grandchildren who have favorite toys? Let me know in the comment section, I would love to hear from you!

Benefits of Toys

Playing with toys provides many benefits to children. These benefits include building social skills, teaching patience, boosting imagination and creativity, enhancing fine motor skills, enhancing thinking and language skills, and more.

According to, infants love toys that can be reached for, held, shaken, and make noise. For toddlers, toys that teach balance and coordination, as well as themed toys such as puzzles are a fun addition. For 2+ years, toys that encourage pretend play spark imagination, these include dolls and strollers, toy kitchen items, etc. As children grow, there are more and more different kinds of toys that can be introduced to them.

History of Some Classic Toys

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the history of some classic toys that I’m sure you’ll recognize!

Silly Putty – A stretchy pink glob that comes in a plastic egg. Invented by General Electric engineer James Wright who was trying to create an inexpensive substitute for synthetic rubber.

Super Soaker – A high-powered water gun that claimed to be able to shoot water up to 50 feet away. Invented by nuclear engineer and part-time inventor Lonnie Johnson. He had an accident with a heat pump that sprang a leak shooting a blast of water across the room. This prompted him to invent the super soaker toy.

Play-Doh – A molding toy that feels like a cross between clay and bread dough. Invented by Kutol Products, an industrial cleaning product company. Kutol Products was losing market for its non-toxic clay-like compound used to clean coal dust off of wallpaper. The company owner’s sister-in-law tested the clay-like compound as a molding toy with her nursery school class and Play-Doh was invented!

Slinky – A bouncy spring coil famous for “walking” downward. Invented by mechanical engineer Richard James while attempting to come up with an instrument to stabilize naval ships during World War II.

Magic 8 Ball – A pool ball-shaped fortune telling toy. Invented by Albert Carter, son of a Cincinnati clairvoyant.

Toy Sales

According to Circana, dollar sales of toys declined 8% in 2023, but the toy industry overall has experienced a $5.7 billion increase in sales since 2019.

Circana tracks 11 supercategories of toys:

Outdoor & Sports Toys
Infant/Toddler/Preschool Toys
Building Sets
Plush Toys
Explorative & Other Toys
Action Figures & Accessories
Arts & Crafts
Youth Electronics

Three of these categories experienced growth in 2023. Outdoor & Sports Toys was the largest supercategory with a 16% share of all toy dollars. Building Sets had the fastest growth. Plush Toys had the second-largest dollar gain.

NCP Panel Members – If you buy toys that have a UPC barcode on the packaging, please remember to report those purchases to NCP! Thank you!


sColorful plastic toys in children's room.

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