The iconic childhood toys that debuted the decade you were born

From Slinky’s release in 1945, take a trip down toy-memory lane this Christmas

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‘Tis the season of toys. 

As you search for the perfect gifts for kids this Christmas, take a trip down memory lane and see what popular toys were released the decade you were born.

1940s

One of the most iconic toys, the Slinky, was invented in 1943 by a mechanical engineer. The toy hit store shelves two years later, in 1945, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

One of the most iconic toys, the Slinky, was invented in 1943 by a mechanical engineer. The toy hit store shelves two years later, in 1945. (iStock)

One of the most iconic toys, the Slinky, was invented in 1943 by a mechanical engineer. The toy hit store shelves two years later, in 1945. (iStock)

In 1947, the first Tonka trucks were released, according to Hasbro

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1950s

According to Britannica, the Magic 8 Ball was invented in 1950.

Though Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1949, the iconic toy didn’t hit store shelves until 1952, according to PBS. Similarly, Play-doh was released as a children’s toy in 1956, though it was originally invented decades earlier as a wallpaper cleaner, according to Smithsonian.

Though Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1949, the iconic toy didn’t hit store shelves until 1952. (iStock)

Though Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1949, the iconic toy didn’t hit store shelves until 1952. (iStock)

The 1950s also saw the release of Silly Putty in 1950, after its invention in 1943, according to Crayola. Lego bricks were also first released in 1953, though they didn’t come to the U.S. until later.

Meanwhile, the first Barbie doll debuted in 1959 at the American Toy Fair, according to toy company Mattel.

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1960s

The iconic Etch-A-Sketch, hit the market in 1960. Three years later, in 1963, the Easy-Bake Oven was first introduced, according to Good Housekeeping. One year later, G.I. Joe action figures were released. 

Lego bricks were also first released in 1953, though they didn’t come to the U.S. until later. (iStock)

Lego bricks were also first released in 1953, though they didn’t come to the U.S. until later. (iStock)

Meanwhile, the original Lite-Brite was released in 1967, according to The Strong National Museum of Play. The first Hot Wheels toy car hit the market in 1968 and the Nerf ball was first introduced in 1969. 

1970s

Crafty toy Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973, while the classic electronic memory game, Simon, was first released in 1978

The Pet Rock toy was released in 1975, according to the product's Amazon listing. The Pet Rock was surprisingly popular, with more than one million rocks sold in the first few months.

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The Rubik’s Cube was invented in Hungary in the 1970s and began manufacturing in Hungary in 1977. However, the cube wouldn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1980s. 

The Rubik’s Cube was invented in Hungary in the 1970s and began manufacturing in Hungary in 1977. However, the cube wouldn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1980s. (iStock)

The Rubik’s Cube was invented in Hungary in the 1970s and began manufacturing in Hungary in 1977. However, the cube wouldn’t arrive in the U.S. until the 1980s. (iStock)

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1980s

Cabbage Patch Kids were introduced in 1982, the same year that My Little Pony toys hit shelves. Transformer toys were released in 1984 and two years later, in 1986, American Girl Dolls were released.

My Little Pony toys hit shelves in 1982. (iStock)

My Little Pony toys hit shelves in 1982. (iStock)

1990s

One of the biggest toys of the 1990s was Beanie Babies, which were first released in 1993

Three years later, in 1996, TYCO launched Tickle Me Elmo. Also in 1996, the popular electronic pet toy, Tamagotchi, was released in Japan

In 1996, TYCO released Tickle Me Elmo. (Photo by Ken Lubas/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In 1996, TYCO released Tickle Me Elmo. (Photo by Ken Lubas/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) ( Ken Lubas/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

In 1998, Furby – another pet-like electronic toy – was released.

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2000s

In 2000, the first Razor scooters were released. A year later, Barbie got her first real competition with the 2001 release of the Bratz dolls

The 2000s also saw the release of several gaming systems including the Nintendo DS in 2004, the Xbox 360 in 2005 and the Nintendo Wii in 2006.

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