These were my favorite toys when I was a kid.
1. Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. I loved these dolls dearly. They slept with me every night and came with me when I went to college.
2. Red plastic toboggans. In my childhood, I think they had just been invented. They were so much faster than the old sleds with metal runners. They've been replaced, for the most part, with the inflatable tubes that you see on hills nowadays, but some loyalists still hold out for the plastic toboggan.
3. Wooden blocks. No household with young children is complete without wooden blocks. I can spend hours playing with wooden blocks. You can tell a lot about a person by handing her a box of wooden blocks and seeing what she builds.
4. Train tracks and trains. I know these are still around because I've read about them on blogs, although for some mysterious reason the trains now have people names. In my day, trains did not have names. They were just the "yellow train" or the "red train" or "that's the train I always use and don't you dare take it." The train tracks of my childhood were grey plastic ones, but by the time I had my own kids, wooden train tracks had become popular. We live near the Famous Timber Company that makes wooden train tracks and trains, and I used to buy them wholesale (you could fill a bag with tracks and buy them by the pound) so we have a huge train track collection. I fully intend to play trains with my grandchildren.
5. The game that you put together so that marbles run down ramps. I don't know what it was called but it was so much fun to watch the marbles zoom around.
6. Trucks, the kind that can move and dig dirt. When I was a kid, the trucks were metal and could dig far more effectively than the safe plastic ones you see today. My parents had an entire truckload of sand dumped into our back yard so we had the biggest sandpile of any kid I knew. My brother and I spent long summer mornings playing trucks. Our truck driver names were Jo and Joe.
7. Spirograph. I loved the colored pens, the cool designs.
8. Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders. We played board games all the time when I was a kid. The excitement of picking up a card and seeing that you had just gotten the ice cream float! I loved these games because they required no skill. I still like that kind of game. It's the only way I can win anything.
9. Jigsaw puzzles. My mother would set up a card table against the picture window, and we would spend a winter afternoon putting the puzzle together. I would look up to watch the snow coming down and hope for a snow day so that we could stay home and work on the puzzle the next day.
10. Modeling clay. I was pretty old before I knew that clay came in different colors. The clay we had was lumpy and brown-grey, and we kept it in an old coffee can. But we would spend whole afternoons sitting at the kitchen table making things. Snakes were my specialty. I was never really good at anything else. But I loved it just the same.