13 Timeless & Influential Toys
#1 Cabbage Patch Dolls
Cabbage Patch Dolls were iconic in their time, which was extremely impressive as they did not receive their fame from a popular movie, television show, or comic. Shocking enough, parents berated stores and knocked over display tables to get their hands on one of these dolls. People gushed over the idea that their doll was 'unique' as each one came with a birth certificate and adoption papers. By mimicking the Beanie Babies trend, Cabbage Patch Doll makers were able to create a highly effective sense of demand causing these toys to fly off the shelf.
Founded in 1999, LeapPad by LeapFrog was the innovative way to help your child master reading. It was one of the first toys to successfully make learning fun. This talking book had children believing that it was play time instead of educational lesson time. Plus, LeapPad was a way for children to learn to read, independently. This type of 'smart device' learning paved the way for VTeach and other educational gaming consoles to enter the market aiding preschoolers with fine tuning their motor skills. While there may be several 'smart' learning devices available today, LeapFrog is still first choice for moms and dads.
#3 Rubik's Cube
Invented over forty years ago, Rubik's Cube has had monumental sales with more than 350 million sold worldwide. Emo Rubik, an architecture professor from Budapest, created this best-selling cubic puzzle and ensured there would be over 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different ways to twist/turn the device. And the puzzle craze is far from over as annual tournaments still exist to exploit today's fastest solvers! No one can resist the Rubik's Cube. Its mastery strokes the ego.
Harold Graves, president of Sawyer's Photographic Services, invented the View-Master in 1939. The View Master is a stereoscope that allows you to view photographs in 3-Dimensional vision. The mechanism received its big break when Disney saw its potential and agreed to licensing. When you placed the View Master over your eyes you felt as if you were actually in the picture. Only a few View Masters still exist today but its lasting impact is visible in emerging gadgets like the infamous Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset.
#5 Star Wars Figurines
Let it be known that the 1997 Star Wars marketing campaign is responsible for making 'collecting' cool. Today, there is not one single blockbuster movie that does not come without its own standard line of toys or figurines and the Star Wars franchise is to thank. During 1977, the Star Wars marketing campaign thought to release empty boxes with redeemable coupons for collectible Star Wars themed toys during the movie's release. Well needless to say, this marketing strategy was a hit as millions of people bought and now own endless amounts of Star Wars memorabilia. Several franchises like Marvel, Star Trek, and DC have now followed suit with similar figurines/toys showing sales numbers that are skyrocketing.
#6 Doc McStuffins
Originally, Doc McStuffins began as a Disney Junior animated television series about a little girl who doctored her stuffed animals back to health. This little girl, Doc McStuffins, was the first black figure to become immensely popular among children of every race. The $500 million in sales last year is enough to prove this fact. Doc McStuffins is a worldwide game changer. Kids are now choosing to purchase dolls because of a person's character and no longer the color of its skin.
#7 Super Soaker
Super Soaker has blown its competition out of the water when it comes to pump-action water guns! In 1989, Lonnie Johnson, a NASA engineer, invented and licensed the Super Soaker water gun as an alternative to the current cheap, one use water pistols. Hasbro later acquired the water gun that forever changed the summer toy aisle. Super Soakers paved the way for water guns that shoot over fifty feet of water into the air. Summer water fights have never been the same.
#8 Easy Bake Oven
Invented in 1963 by Kenner Products, Easy Bake Oven was the first of its kind! This little iconic oven allowed children to bake edible food which created an entirely new category of play. Stores currently feature several different devices that aid kids in cooking up cupcakes, s'mores, cotton candy, sno cones, and even the recently popular, cake pops.
#9 Chatty Cathy
Chatty Cathy opened the world to portable, interactive talk dolls. Chatty Cathy could say key phrases like "I love you" or "Let's play" upon the pulling of her drawstring. Mattel began the talk doll craze in 1959 which paved the way for other interactive dolls like the 1986 plush Teddy Ruxpin talk bear, 1996 Tickle Me Elmo, and 1998 talking Furby.
#10 NERF Bow and Arrow
Introduced to the toy blaster market in 1991, the NERF Bow and Arrow was the brands game changing invention. Up until then, NERF had only ever created basketball related toys. Today, the NERF brand has fully infiltrated the toy baster market and only continues to rise in popularity as movies like The Hunger Games and Marvel produce bow hunting heros and heroines. A truly timeless toy.
#11 G.I. Joe
Action figure, Government-Issued Joe otherwise known as G.I. Joe was released to market post WWII and soon became one of the most popular toys paving a way for boys play dolls. The number of figures sold was estimated at millions, and in our time this toy is very rare. G.I. Joe was a hero who got things done. However, perhaps G.I. Joe's greatest impact on the World of action figures and dolls was his bendable frame. At this time, Barbie couldn't even bend her knees, yet G.I. Joe could do just about anything you could think of. Once G.I. Joe was released, the sales of immobile toys went down immensely which told the market that flexibility is a characteristic needed amongst childrens toys. Let's just say that Barbie became bendable soon after.
Mattel's Barbie may have been introduced in 1959 but she is still presently being sold every three seconds. Needless to say, Barbie is the world's most popular girls doll as well as a billion dollar brand. Plus, she is an awesome role model having held down over 150 careers including doctor, lawyer, and scientist. She leads an active lifestyle and helps girls envision who and what they want to be when they grown up. She is also culturally diverse and was on of the first toys to be so. In 1968 the African-American Barbie made its debut surging ahead of many other girls toys. Barbie will stay on the market forever because she adapts and changes with the times. Barbie has even become the President of the United States, hint hint.
LEGO is the world's top toy company spawning billions of action figures, films, and television shows. Founded in 1958, LEGO has redefined plaything potential as it has allowed kids to build all different sized and shaped structures from scratch. Not to mention, these structures can be built just about anywhere at anytime. This has made a huge impact on the industry of toys and gaming. For instance, the creator of Minecraft itself attributes his success to his positive experience playing with LEGOs as a child. People even choose to become engineers and architects because of the love they have for building with LEGOS. LEGO has changed the world of play for the better.