The Best Vintage Toys, Classic Games, and Retro Gifts for Kids

Sure, new stuff comes with bells and whistles, but the pre-digital classics still rock.

by Donna Freydkin
Originally Published: 
examples of vintage and retro toys against a lavender background

Toys for kids seem to get more tricked-out each year — and more hopelessly entangled with our digital devices. There are Hot Wheels tracks you control from a device. Robotic elephants that eat peanuts through a trunk and owls that turn into drones. Many of these toys are terrific, but many are also overcomplicated, confusing, or too expensive. And for all their bells and whistles, they don’t necessarily do what toys should: encourage exploration and experimentation, or boost problem-solving and creativity, through imaginative play. That’s why retro toys and classic toys stand the test of time. These things are engaging and fun and impervious to trends. There’s a strange alchemy to these products: Put them in the hands of a child and they’re golden.

No amount of blasting sounds, flickering lights, or robotic wizardry can beat thoughtful, open-ended design. All the more reason to looks for old-school toys that allow kids to play like kids without having to read a Bible-thick instruction booklet.

The Best Retro Games and Toys for Kids

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