Column: Inside the wonderful world of the seventies toy box

Carol Forster recalls the wonders of seventies' toys
Carol Forster recalls the wonders of seventies' toys

Long, long ago, in the sands of time, came a toy so popular with little girls, that shops would run out of the thing – a bottle and weeing machine in the form of ‘Tiny Tears’.

We all wanted one. Desperately, I recall!

So at the top of the Christmas list came TT along with the Walkie Talkie set and Spirograph.

The latter was a fascinating box of cogs and pins, that would form amazing patterns on paper welded and pinned to cardboard.

Its cousin Spiromatic – a spinning wheel on to which gloops of paint would be thrown, would form abstracts that a budding Jackson Pollock could be proud of, though admittedly the machine did all the work. I remember there were only a few colours in the box so that was that.

Etch-a-Sketch was a strange beast which had knobs that turned this way or that to form a picture outline. Red-backed and grey faced it would be seen in toy boxes up and down the land. Another fave back then was the Magic Set, complete with egg to vanish, a wand for budding magicians and other fascinating paraphernalia.

Barbie and Ken would get squodged into the box too, legs askew, and I do recall mine bent in peculiar directions which was somewhat unbecoming to say the least.

On the shelf would be Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble, Meccano and Mousetrap. Kerplunk sat squatting in the corner, all plastic and gauche.

So, while a whole generation was swinging in the sixties, their younger siblings could be found placing dolls on boxes and reading to them, like Playschool; making ‘mixtures’ from cupboard contents and eating them with small pals; playing Hide and Seek in the wigwam or bouncing on a Hopper.

Other days saw playing with a toy cookery set, crayoning in black outlines or digging out the sewing toy.

The green Gonk and the bean-filled frog would watch from a shelf and two teddies sat on a chair; one looked like Harold Wilson and t’other Ted Heath.

And Lego. Not all frills like now, but small red and white bricks with a grey base.

It was fab!