6 Simple and Affordable Vintage Toys that Still Make Great Gifts for Kids

...And the nostalgia alone will give you an instant serotonin boost.


Kids need simple pleasures and not the overstimulation of today's toy aisles. These toys have withstood the test of time and provide kids with simple, safe, hours of entertainment. The bonus is that they will never expect you to be good at using any of these new toys they just discovered. So when you bust out your mean Etch-a-Sketch skillzzzz, their jaws will hit the floor. The links below are part of Amazon's Associate Program.


Stretch Armstrong: Originally marketed 1976-1997


Never actually got one of these as a kid but remember wanting one every time I saw the commercials. Stretch to 4x its size and then return to normal like nothing happened? So basically this is where men got the idea that women's bodies should rebound after pregnancy? Newsflash... we aren't made of corn syrup, Chad! But I digress...






Etch A Sketch: Created in 1960


I have a literal engineering degree and I still couldn't tell you the science behind how this thing works. A pulley system? Aluminum powder? How? And for God's sake, how do people draw without "picking up the pencil"? Like, I just have rogue lines everywhere? Good news, though. They no longer make these with a glass screen like the originals.




View-Master: Originally marketed in 1939


The thought of View-Master toys being around at the same time that my grandmother was running around as a shoeless child in a remote village without running water or electricity really puts things into perspective for me. When I clicked through my View-Master as a kid I never imagined that it was available 60 years prior and that people actually had the money to purchase it at that time. We didn't all come from poverty? What?





The Amazing Balancing Eagle


Center of Gravity, blah blah blah. This thing is a marvel. I do not know why it kept me entertained for so long as a kid but I was PROUD to show this balancing act to anyone and everyone I knew. This is what I did instead of being able to spin a basketball on my finger. I took this bird and spun it around on my finger knowing full well that physics (read: "magic") was not going to allow it to fall. And that's on perfectionism guiding me only towards things with a 100% success rate...



Duncan Yo-Yo: Est. 1928 (purchased Flores Yo-Yo)


Why do I have some vague memories of yo-yo companies sending in professional demonstrators to schools? All I know is that one day I came home from 4th grade and I HAD to have a yo-yo (scratch that --multiple yo-yos) and somehow just knew how to do a bunch of tricks?! What? I will say that my grandmother was NOT impressed when I would practice my "Around the World" move in a room with all of her porcelain knick knacks.





Rail Twirler: First marketed in 1953 as Whee-Lo


We were all just hypnotizing ourselves with these things right? They had a little optical illusion pattern on the side and you would just watch it move around in an endless loop? Who needs iPads? I'm not saying I am going to try to hypnotize my kid with this but I'm not NOT saying it...






What nostalgic attachment do you have to the toys listed above? What other vintage toys would make great gifts? Let me know in the comments...