Without a doubt, Santa’s getting a
lot fewer requests for games, bikes or dolls from kids these days
because they are now focusing on smartphones and video games.
But tech gifts have been on children’s
most wanted lists since the early twentieth century and even though
these toys look like museum pieces to us today, in their time they
were at the forefront of technology and extremely expensive.
For example, in the 1890s, children
clamored for Marklin brand steam trains built to scale with highly
advanced technical details. Those were replaced by advanced
technology of electric trains by Lionel LLC Manufacturing.
In the 1920s, TinkerToy, the forefather
of today’s Lego sets, was a gift that was very popular.
Later in the 1930s, the View- Master
was popular with children. This display of stereoscopic images using
interchangeable cardboard discs was really high tech for the time
In the 1950s, Mattel launched the
Chatty Cathy doll which was the first talking doll on the market. She
could say 11 different phrases and activated by a cord pull from her
In the 1960s, the iconic Etch A Sketch
with all its red frame and gray screen was one of the most desirable
children’s toys of the decade.
In the mid-1970s, the Stylophone
synthesizer was a hot toy featuring a stylus that was moved along a
metal keypad to generate sounds.
The 1980s brought the first portable
video game with interchangeable cartridges, with Nintendo Game boy
becoming the most popular.
In 1990, Tamagotchis and Furby toys
were the most popular. These virtual pets had to be fed, cleaned and
exercised to maintain “good health”.
And from 2000 until now, Christmas
lists have been filled with requests for video games, smartphones and
music players, the new generation of high-tech toys most popular with
How many of these toys did you have?
How do you think childhood has changed with technology? Leave your
comments and start the debate.
Jorge Chavez is Senior Editor at Mijo!
Brands of Mexico.