Retro toys: How they saved my summer

That’s a bold headline I know, but let me explain….

I am not one of those mothers that is good at craft, and cooking; in fact, I am probably one of those mothers that can be seen turning to gin at the mere thought of trying to entertain my children with a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. However, what I do like, and have done ever since I was a little kid, is playing board games, cards and imaginary games. Well, I can cope with a few rounds of “shops” at least with the kids before I start to wonder whether Jeremy Kyle is on TV.

This summer has been a wonderful time for me and the children, we have loom banded together, which is a craft I can manage, and we have played many new to us, but actually old, games – thanks to my loft invasion at the beginning of the holiday.

We now have a rather large pile of toys living in the corner of our lounge – it will stay there until I organise myself enough to build the shelves waiting in the garage to keep the toy monster from spreading into the rest of the lounge:

Retro toys: Our stash

This is some of the toy stash from when my husband and I were kids. I always wondered why my mum and dad kept our toys…and now I know…I have spent the summer enjoying them with my children. From the snake

Retro toys: The snake

…to the rather jumbled Top Trumps box…

Retro toys: Top trumps

…and the wonderful Monopoly set – vintage 1970 – which brings back some wonderful memories of times I played the game with my brother, and not to mention my mum, who was always too soft and used to give me Mayfair for a kiss and a tenner! *bless her*

Retro toys: Monopoly

Do you remember these playing pieces? The dog brought a tear to my eye I can tell you…which is why I felt compelled to Instagram it…

We brought all these toys out having put away some of those which were a little bit too young for them.

Sadly, they have moved on pass the Fisher Price Telephone that my son used to hand to me and insist I answered his call, or the doll that my daughter was given when my son was born so she had a baby to look after as well. I do remember being slightly disturbed that the first thing she did with it was run it over with her buggy though….

In other words, when I say they saved my summer, I mean it. They made it a pleasure to play with my kids, and a joy to be with them; from chatting to them about how my brother and I played with the toys, to experiencing them again with my kids in a whole new way; my retro toys have been a wonderful addition to my summer.

My top five retro toys for 5 to 8 year olds, based on what we have been doing are:

  1. Monopoly – my seven year old boy struggled a little bit with it, but once he got the hang of it, there really was no stopping him. He is going to be a hotel magnate, I am sure of it…
  2. Top Trumps – even though the cards are moth-eaten, and a few of the sets have sports men that my kids have never even heard of on them, the kids LOVED these. I even remembered which were the best cards in each set as soon as I got them out. Now which bit of my brain has been storing that information and why over the last 30 years *go figure*
  3. Stay Alive – A wonderful board game that is simple and yet very effective. Keep your marbles from dropping off the board, while “killing” your opponent by dropping his marbles. Playing with my son was a little more blood and guts than with my daughter, but they have both loved it
  4. Armchair Cricket – My daughter doesn’t like playing cricket in the garden, but this game involves cricket on the floor, or indeed the armchair. It is great for teaching basic maths, and making my boy think he’s playing sport when actually he’s just sitting down…for a change
  5. The Snake – This entertained the kids well, but it also acted as a great “lead” into other puzzle toys, both retro and modern. My son spent his pocket money on the wonderful solo puzzle game Rush Hour, where you try and move the traffic to get one car out of the jam, following his time playing with this and trying to make different shapes including the ball. For some reason, my fingers seemed to remember how it was done. Another one of those things that make you really wonder what useless info there really is in our heads dying to get out at the right time ;-)

Do you have any favourite toys from your childhood? If you do, please share them with me, and also John Lewis, who have a campaign at the moment focusing on some of the best toys from years gone by *sounding old now*.

Share them with KiddyCharts and John Lewis on Twitter or even on both our facebook pages as well. John Lewis and KiddyCharts both have great pages which are worth nipping over to. Use the hashtag #mytoystory so we can find all your memories easily.. You can comment on this post too – did retro toys save your summer as well?

This is a sponsored post, but it is also written well and truly from the heart; retro toys are wonderful and you all need to get them out of your lofts – now!