Secret Stage Top Fives: Childhood Toys

As children of the Nineties, those of us at Secret Stage grew up in a time where an explosion of new toys were marketed at kids all over the US. Some may have been made for the outdoors, while some were more appropriate inside. Regardless, everybody fondly remembers their favorite toys, and here are our personal picks:


HM. Coloring Books - I know it's not technically a toy, but I spent so much time doing these damn things. So much so that when I went through a "I want to run away and then come home 5 minutes later" phase, I would pack my little purple plastic briefcase with a few coloring books, some markers, and if I was smart that day, something useful like food or clothing. That rarely made the cut though because well, coloring books. Duh."

5. Play-Doh - "My sister and I had tons of sets/molds to make things with Play-Doh. We'd make little scenes and leave them all over the house as decoration which I'm sure my mom loved. I particularly remember this window sill scene of a village running away from a volcano? Keep reading. I somehow get even more twisted."

4. Legos - "Even as an adult, I can fucks with some Legos. They're fun as a kid because you can build whatever you want and as you get older, you can make really cool elaborate pieces to put around your house like a nerd. I only put them lower on my list, however, because of the sheer pain one might experience when stepping on one of these bad boys."

3. Barbies - "Having a sister who is 1 year older than me, we spent a lot of free time playing together. Barbies were that thing you always got at Christmas or your Birthday as a little girl. So, between the two of us, we had a plethora of Barbies. We cut their hair, popped their heads off and put them back in the box for a funeral... come to think of it, we were pretty messed up children. Ah well. Kids will be kids, right?"

2. Roller Blades - "Do these count as a toy? I don't know. But between these, my bike, my skateboard and a razor scooter (for a brief period of time we won't dwell on) I was ALWAYS outside on these things. I think kids these days don't understand the value of being your own mode of transport... or how fun it is to dangerously jump off things and hope for the best."

1. Stuffed Animals - "I still have most of my special stuffed animals. My first Christmas teddy, a stuffed Barney that I carried around as a baby like it was attached to me... and lastly, my Winnie The Pooh teddy bear. I still sleep with this thing because to me, it feels like home. I've had Pooh-Bear as long as I can remember and my mom has one almost identical that she sleeps with. It's a way for me to be close to her now that I live in a different state. Call it sappy if you want, but he's da best."


5. Toy Guns - "I had a LOT of toy guns as a kid. From Nerf to noise makers and everything in between."

4. Slot Car Track - "I had a couple different sets. The biggest one was probably a good 6-7 feet long and a few feet wide with a lot of turns. Still have it in my closet."

3. K'nex - "There were several years where I would lose my shit Christmas morning when I opened up a big ass box to find a large K'nex kit. I actually still have all of them in separate boxes in my basement."

2. Hot Wheels Cars - "Who would have guessed? Even now when I pass a rack of them in the store during a booze run I'll stop to see if there is anything good. Last month I bought a Corvette C7R, the car that won in its class in the 24 hours of Lemans this last year."

1. Legos - "I love Legos. Every once and a while I'll get the urge to pull out the boxes and build something. Usually it is using the robotic Mindstorm set I got in middle school. The last thing I made was a rear wheel drive vehicle with an open differential that steered with a central pivot like a bulldozer."


5. Hot Wheels - "I have always loved cars and as a child I would always play with these. Racing them around my room and lining them up as a mini car show."

4. Legos - "I used to have giants bins of legos and would make whatever I wanted from those. I hardly ever got the complete sets but I could make a good airplane from them."

3. Lightsabers - "Growing up I loved Star Wars and I still do to this day. Zach and I used to play Star Wars music in his front yard and have lightsaber battles."

2. My Nerf Guns - "Zach and I used to have giant nerf gun fights. We both had a crazy collection of nerf guns and it was a blast growing up."

1. My Bike - "As a kid growing up this was my mode of transportation. I rode it to school, work, and to my friends' houses. Hell, even when my friends wanted to go anywhere, I had pegs on it. It was awesome!"


HM. Bop-It - "While some might not consider it a toy, Bop-It is an excellent test in timing and dexterity. The sound effects still echo through my brain today."

5. Power Wheels - "For Christmas at a young age, I received a Power Wheel dump truck. I was estatic. I used to cruise around in that thing, and I'm sure my dad appreciated me transports yard clippings across the yard with zero complaints."

4. Power Rangers Megazords - "The Power Rangers were one of my earliest nerdy endeavors, and I was intrigued by the interconnectivity of the different zords. Whether I was playing with just one or the whole mechanism, I loved those things."

3. Nerf Guns - "I had a LOT of Nerf stuff. The little one with the laser sight [the Nite Finder], and the 'sniper' [the Longshot] were my favorites. I used to come up with so many different competitive games centered around them."

2. Legos - "I have spent more time with Legos than any other toy. I loved to mix and match the different sets and create my own stories and builds. I definitely did this a lot longer than most people would like to admit."

1. Lightsabers - "From a very early age, I was all about retractable lightsabers. By the time the Star Wars prequels hit, it was a straight-up obsession. I had a ton of different models and styles, and, as Keenan mentioned, was constantly dueling with them."


5. Beanie Baby – “I had one in particular that I always had with me when I was little.”

4. Basketball – “We had a basketball hoop by our house and we would play pretty often during the summer.”

3. Trucks/Cars – “When I was little, I loved my metal trucks and cars.”

2. Rollerblades – “I started rollerblading when I was pretty young (around 4 years old). Then, as I met Jordan and we got into skateboarding, I turned to aggressive inline. Long days at the skate park were how we spent our summers.”

1. Action Figures – “Jordan, some other friends, and I would play with our Dragonball Z and other action figures when we were bored and stuck inside.”


5. Rock'Em, Sock'Em Robots - "I wanted so badly, for what seemed like the longest time, for my parents to buy this for me. Finally that day came. Now I'll admit I did place my expectations too high. But I still challenged any of my friends that came over, and I still have this one in storage somewhere."

4. Super Soaker - "Nothing said summer fun quite like a water fight. I grew up in multiple apartments, so a hose wasn't always an option. Squirt guns absolutely were. And there is a big difference between squirt guns and Super Soakers. I just happened to be on the super soaker side. I remember countless hours spent trying to drench the other kids more then they could get me."

3. Hot Wheels - "I still have a box of these somewhere. But I collected so many of the Hot Wheels cars. I have a few exclusive unopened ones still. I would play with these for hours, on the Hot Wheels tracks, or the road map carpet I know we have all seen, or just on whatever surface I had at the time."

2. Gogo's Crazy Bones - "This was by far one of my favorite toys. I collected so many of these, I have favorites, and ones that I could make tighter shots with, or take out crowded areas. I even busted these out a could times in my mid teens. We would play for hours until our fingers were in too much pain to continue. Still have these around somewhere too."

1. Legos - "There should be no question what the top toy is. With endless build options, collections, and imagination, you can't go wrong. Building whole cities, cars, worlds, this had the most potential out of any toy out there. There certainly isn't anything else on here, that has whole stores, amusement parks, or "lands" dedicated to its creations. Still have all my free range pieces, and some still built creations stored away as well, cause I'm quite obviously a pack rat."


HM. Pokémon Cards - "Having Pokemon cards at school was almost like having weird schoolyard currency. I loved trading cards to see which ones I could get and building my collection. Still to this day I have all of them."

5. Vortex Football - "Some of those things sounded like missiles whistling through the air, those things were a lot of fun."

4. Spirograph - "It was this art kit that helped you draw perfect circles so you could draw things like mandalas, but I just drew circles everywhere with it. It was pretty cool."

3.  Rubber Band Guns - "My dad made these wooden guns that you could load multiple rubber bands into on a rotating gear. My sisters and I used to shoot each other and it hurt so bad."

2. Pogs - "I used to have a few different tubes full of them. I loved collecting the metal slammers and between my sisters and I we had a ton of them."

1. Dragonball Z Action Figures - "I (still to this day) have a giant tub full of them. I used to go to Target with my mom at least once a week to see if they had any of the new characters. My favorite one was the figurine I had of when Goku turned super Saiyan for the first time while fighting frieza and his clothes were all torn up.


5. Furbies - "This was another you that I loved. I didn't really play with them but I guess you could say I collected them. I had a zillion Furbies that I've kept in my Furby box at my grandparents' house."

4. Legos - "I used to have a pretty large Lego collection. My grandpa used to have a new little Lego set for me every time I would go over to my grandparents' house."

3. Sock'Em Boppers - "These were pretty sweet. All the kids in my fam had them at one point, so we were bopping each other in the faces all the time."

2. Betty Spaghetti Dolls - "Just like Barbies, I had all the Betty Spaghetti shenanigans. I never shared my Bettys with my sister though. Betty Spaghettis were my thang."

1. Barbie - "My number one favorite would probably be Barbies. Between me and my sister, we had tons of dolls, shoes, and clothes. We brought our Barbies everywhere."