Great Toys from the 70s and 80s Knew No Bounds

When you think about toys of the 70s and 80s, chances are pretty good that Star Wars comes to mind in a flash. But the truth is, there were lots of great toys that spanned both decades, and for kids who grew up during that same era, these playthings are legendary. How many of these awesome toys of the 70s and 80s did YOU play with?

Star Wars Action Figures

Kenner released these toys in the 70s, and they were so popular that kids kept on playing with them into the 80s. Then, of course, Kenner produced new versions in the new decade, as kids were always hungry for more toys, especially as two new Star Wars movies hit the silver screen.

Star Wars Playsets

What’s a Star Wars action figure without a play setting to provide background and context? These toys consisted of a playset that acted as the backdrop and scenery to your battles against the forces of evil in space and on Tatooine. You could act out all kinds of epic adventures with these toys and the toys were so popular, Kenner produced them for both decades.

One example of a Star Wars Playset is Jabba’s Palace from Return of the Jedi; you could act out scenes like this:

Luke Skywalker was imprisoned in Jabba’s palace after being captured by Boba Fett on Tatooine. He rescues Han Solo from the same fate by firing a blaster pistol at Jabba’s rancor, then faces his destiny.

Nerf Blasters

In 1978, Nerf introduced one of its most iconic toys: the Nerfoop (the predecessor to today’s Hoops). Kids would play with them like this:

The Nerfoop was a toy hoop that allowed kids to shoot the ball through it and score. It launched in 1978 as one of the toys from our list of toys from 70s and 80s, including a NERF basketball set or game called NERF Ball Hockey. The original plastic toys were toys that enriched a child’s imagination.

Nerf Darts

The original Nerf dart was made in 1972, but it wasn’t until 1978 when the Blaster was first released. It came with three Elite darts and later became very popular among kids as toys from 70s and 80s such as GI Joe or Barbie dolls. The toys were a great way to promote problem-solving, critical thinking and physical fitness.

Elite Nerf Football

The toys from the 70s and 80s weren’t all about toys for girls or toys for boys: they were also toys that created playtime moments with friends! The Elite Nerf football was made in 1981, but it’s still being sold today.

This toys from the 70s and 80s is great for outdoor sports as well as playing indoors. It’s a toy that can be used in lots of different ways, so there are endless possibilities!

Electric Football

First introduced in the 1960s, electric football presents players with a metal “field” that vibrates thanks to an electro-magnetic motor attached underneath. On top of the surface, players place a plastic football with one of 11 plastic (or metal) players that are divided into two teams. The goal is to “carry” the ball over the goal line before one of the opponent’s defensemen touches your ball carrier, resulting in a down.

This is a downright frightening toy, but one that has been enjoyed across the decades, including both the 1970s and 1980s.

Stretch Armstrong

The Stretch Armstrong toys were first introduced in 1976. Kids could stretch the toy (a yellow figure with a red shirt and blue pants) by pulling his arms to her sides, which would make him bigger than any other toy on earth! (Or so it seemed)

Stretchy toys like this one might seem useless now that we have video games and iPhones, but back then toys were the only thing to do.

Handheld Electronic Games

We would be remiss not to mention the toys from the 1970s that are still popular today: handheld electronic games. Some of these include Simon and Game Boy, which were both introduced in the early 1980s.

In order for kids to play these toys they had to use their fingers or thumbs on a series of buttons and switches. It was almost like a miniature computer.

Some of the earliest versions were racing, football, basketball, and baseball games first released in the 1970s.

(Like Great Toys from the 70s and 80s? Then you might like our article on 80s Star Wars Toys, click here. Or how about 80s Girl Toys, click here.)

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