Popular Toys of the 70s that Bring Nostalgia

The 1970s was an era full of hip and colorful fashion trends. The colorful themes of the 70s were also apparent in the toys that were released during that time period, as many toys would often come in different combinations of colors that would sometimes not even match well together, especially in today’s era. Most of the people that were kids or teenagers in the 1970s would have probably played with the colorful toys of that era. If you want to know more about these toys, here is a list of the popular toys in the 70s that bring nostalgia.


Weeble toy

Weeble is a roly-poly toy that was originally released in 1971 by an American toy company called Playskool. In case you don’t know, a roly-poly toy has a rounded bottom that enables the toy to wobble while still being able to stand on itself even it is pushed in any direction because it is filled with special solids that provide balanced weight distribution for the toy so that it won’t fall to its sides.

The Weeble is arguably the one that made roly-poly toys popular in the 1970s. Weebles can come in different shapes and sizes, although they all have a rounded bottom so that their wobbling mechanic is still intact. These Weebles can be different animals or people, so there are plenty of them for kids and teens to collect. 

During the 1970s, the Weeble was advertised by Playskool with the slogan, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down,” which is supposed to emphasize the roly-poly feature of the toy. [1] The catchphrase was created by an advertising executive named Walter Cohen, who worked for the New York-based advertising agency Benton & Bowles. He, along with his partner Bernard Most, developed the catchphrase while they were assigned by the agency to the Weebles account.

Weeble toys can still be bought today, as they are still manufactured and marketed by Hasbro, who owns the Playskool brand. Here are two of the best Weeble products you can buy online:

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots

boxing robots

Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots is a toy and game that was manufactured in 1964 by Louis Marx and Company, an American toy company that operated from 1919 to 1980. The toy featured two robot boxers, Red Rocker and Blue Bomber, who are placed in a boxing ring where they will fight. The arms and hands of the boxers are controlled by each player, and whoever is able to knock off the head of one of the boxers wins the game.

The toy was developed by Marvin Glass and Associates, a toy design and engineering firm that was responsible for creating other popular toys and games like Lite Brite and Ants in the Pants. [2] Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots was inspired by a coin-operated arcade machine called Silver Gloves, which was released in 1948 by the International Mutoscope Corporation. Silver Gloves features two miniature metal boxers that can be controlled by players using levers.

Marvin Glass and Associates initially decided to cancel the project for Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots due to the controversial death of famous boxer Davey Moore in the ring during a match in 1963. However, several employees and admins decided to push through with the project because the toy was too good to go to waste. However, they “dehumanized” the boxers that will be played in the game to make them more robot-like rather than human-like to avoid offending anybody. The toy was officially released in 1966, although it would be in the 70s when Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots became one of the most popular toys of the era.

Easy-Bake Oven

The Easy-Bake Oven is a toy oven that was released by Kenner (known for the 70s Star Wars action figures) in 1963. As of 2023, the Easy-Bake Oven is still available, although it is now manufactured by Hasbro, a big toy company in the United States. The original version that was introduced by Kenner in the 60s featured 100-watt incandescent light bulbs as the primary heat source for the oven, and these bulbs can then heat up and cook smaller versions of cookies, cupcakes, and other food products that can easily be bake by kids (with the supervision of adults).

Ads for the Easy-Bake Oven in the 1970s featured the Gooney Bird, Kenner’s mascot during that time. In 1968, Kenner asked Jim Henson, the creator of The Muppets, to make a Muppet version of the Gooney Bird. This Muppet Gooney Bird would later be used in the 70s for the Easy-Bake Oven ads. The ads, as well as the Gooney Bird character, became so popular that Jim Henson created a refurbished version of the Gooney Bird named “Little Bird,” which was supposed to be the character Big Bird’s smaller counterpart in Sesame Street. [3]

Today, there are different versions of the Easy-Bake Oven that you can purchase, and these versions are manufactured by Hasbro. Here are three Easy-Bake Oven versions that you can check out:

Magna Doodle

magnetic drawing board

Magna Doodle is a magnetic drawing toy that was invented in 1974 by the Pilot Corporation, a manufacturer of pens that is based in Tokyo, Japan, and was founded in 1918. The Magna Doodle features a drawing board that contains an opaque liquid and magnetic particles, as well as a magnetic stylus that pulls the magnetic particles upwards so that they can appear like pen marks. So, the Magna Doodles doesn’t really involve the use of ink (for pens) or lead (for pencils), and it has a magnet slide that slides to the left or right so that the magnetic particles pulled up by the pen would go back down again.

While the Pilot Corporation invented and designed the Magna Doodle, it was actually Tyco Toys (popular for their scale model trains) that originally produced the said toy. The panels for the toy were produced by Pilot, and Tyco Toys was responsible for the plastic parts and the assembly. Tyco would later merge with Mattel in 1997. Then, Mattel would sell the license for Magna Doodle to Fisher-Price, a manufacturer of children’s educational toys.

In 2003, Mattel withdrew from the licensing agreement with the Pilot Corporation, and the former would then use third-party panels and call their product “Doodle Pro.” The Ohio Art Company would buy the Magna Doodle license from Pilot in 2004, but they would also drop the license eventually. As of 2023, the Magna Doodle brand is licensed to an art brand called Cra-Z-Art. You can buy the Cra-Z-Art Retro Magna Doodle online or in select toy stores.


UNO cards

We know UNO today as one of the most popular card games that people of almost all ages play, but what some of us may not know is that the game was developed in 1971 by an American barber named Merle Robbins in Reading, Ohio. According to Robbins, he first played the game with family and friends, who seemed to enjoy the game a lot and encouraged him to sell multiple copies of it. Robbin then spent about $8,000 to produce 5,000 copies. He first sold the batches from his own barbershop, and then local toy stores started selling the game soon after.

Robbins then sold the rights of Uno to Robert Tezak, a funeral parlor owner, and his group of friends for $50,000 and a 10% royalty. [4] Robert Tezak would later form a game company called International Games, Inc. in order to market and sell UNO. In 1992, International Games became a part of Mattel, which still sells UNO and its different versions or variants as of 2023. Here are three of the best UNO products that you can buy:

Shrinky Dinks

Shrinky Dinks, also known as Shrinkles or Shrink art, are products that are made from sheets of polystyrene (a type of plastic) that can be heated so that they can shrink to the size of a keychain or pin. While there are Shrinky Dinks that already have pre-formed shapes and designs before you shrink them, there are also variants that allow you to color your own Shrink art or to even draw your own.

Shrinky Dinks were invented in 1973 by two housewives named Betty Morris and Kate Bloomberg in Brookfield Wisconsin. They invented the Shrinky Dinks as a project for their sons who are members of the Cub Scouts (a scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America or BSA). After seeing how popular the Shrinky Dinks kits are among the friends of their sons, Morris and Bloomberg decided to sell the kits at a local shopping mall, where the products also became popular. The Shrinky Dinks kits would later be licensed to numerous companies, including Milton Bradley (a known producer of board games) and Colorforms (known for the Gumby play set).

If you want to get Shrinky Dinks kits, you can still buy them online and in select toy stores. Here are two kits that you can check out before purchasing:

These are just some of the most nostalgic toys of the 1970s. Fortunately, you can still buy the retro toys we have mentioned above, although they have been upgraded and updated to be more durable and more suitable for kids and teens in today’s era.


[1] Townsend, A. (2011, February 16). All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys – 1970s – Weebles. Time Magazine. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2049243_2048657_2049148,00.html

[2] Coopee, T. (2017, March 27). Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots from Marx (1966). Toy Tales. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://toytales.ca/rock-em-sock-em-robots-marx-1966/

[3] Coopee, T. (2021, February 27). This Week: Jim Henson and the Kenner Gooney Bird. Global Toy News. Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://globaltoynews.com/2021/02/27/this-week-jim-henson-and-the-kenner-gooney-bird/

[4] Saha, B. (2023, April 3). History of UNO(+Who Invented UNO). Retrieved June 29, 2023, from https://kidscareideas.com/uno-history/