The Biggest Toy Crazes

When we were kids, friendships were often created or abandoned because of what toys we were playing with. Boys gathered around playing with Bakugan or Transformers, while girls were usually seen playing with Cabbage Patch Kids or American Girl Dolls. The toy industry tended to focus on gendered toys, but occasionally they’ll strike it rich with something that every kid can enjoy.

Here are a few of the biggest toy crazes from the last 30 years. Do you recognize anything that was a playground must have when you were in school? Some of these fads are still going strong today!

Cabbage Patch Dolls

Cabbage Patch Dolls were marketed under the brand name Cabbage Patch Kids and included a number of soft, huggable dolls that were patented in 1978. The selling point of these dolls was that they couldn’t actually be sold. Instead, children went to their local toy store or the flagship Babyland General Hospital and “adopted” their chosen doll – for a $39.99 fee, of course. The doll was given a name and a birth certificate before going home with its new parent.

Clearly, it was the personal touch that made these dolls stand out from their competitors. There was even a special G-rated origin story that was told to children about where their Cabbage Patch Kid came from.

Atari 2600

Atari came out with their video game console Atari 2600 in 1977, which made a huge impact on the world of gaming. Until the Atari 2600 came out, children could only play the games that came pre-built into their console. The Atari 2600 allowed them to buy more games and use the console to play them all. Most purchases of Atari 2600 came with one game included. First, it was Combat, and then Pac-Man. Other hit games that came later were Space Invaders and Pong.


Beanie Babies

Beanie Babies may seem cute and cuddly, but the children of the 1990s who were buying them were working hard to invest their money. Many buyers were told that because of the limited number of stock the company was producing of each different toy, their purchase could quickly become a collectible and bring in thousands of dollars in the future. In this way, the company was able to create an atmosphere of false scarcity, and drive up sales like crazy.

Many children had a stock of Beanie Babies that were for playing and cuddling, and a separate number that were just for show — complete with tag covers protecting the valuable Ty tag.

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