Classic Toys, Updated
The Strong National Museum of Play, in Rochester, New York, inducts the original versions of classic toys into its National Hall of Fame. We picked a dozen of the 36 inductees to show here, along with modern, mostly toddler-friendly updates; to see the complete list of toys or to vote for your favorite, visit strongmuseum.org, and, under "Exhibits," click on "National Toy Hall of Fame."
Crayola CrayonsLoved because: Drawing is the ultimate creative outlet for kids, and crayons give them a colorful, nontoxic writing instrument.
The update: Crayola developed these new triangular easy-hold crayons so that even 2-year-olds can draw with ease.
Loved because: Sets of interlocking blocks let kids invent new toys.
The update: The Ultimate Lego Duplo set has new characters and cool, see-through blocks for the toddler crowd.
Loved because: Kids can't get enough of this suspenseful hide-and-seek game.
The update: That original clown is a little spooky. Now you can choose from a bear, a bunny, a pony, a character such as Curious George, and more jumping out of a box.
Radio Flyer Wagon
Loved because: It gives kids a way to pull each other or their toys.
The update: As soon as a baby is upright, she's interested in moving herself and her stuff. This Classic Red Car is a push toy and a ride-on.
Loved because: It's a nontoxic compound that's soft and squishy for easy modeling.
The update: Play-Doh's Super Craft Caddy includes eight colors of clay, lots of tools, and a little dustpan for cleanup.
Loved because: It was a nostalgic toy even when it was created, letting kids imagine building a frontier-worthy cabin.
The update: Look for the classic notched logs in the Conestoga Homestead set, which also comes with plastic parts such as people and horses.
Loved because: Kids adore rocking, not to mention playing cowboy or cowgirl.
The update: Soft plush rockers are more comfy for little kids.
Loved because: Boys dig trucks. Girls do, too!
The update: Tots too small for tiny vehicles can drive the Tonka Scoot 'n Scoop 3-in-1 Ride On dump truck, which is also a push toy.
Loved because: Kids can build wild structures out of their imagination.
The update: The packaging is retro, but some pieces now come in fun plastic shapes that can make curves.
Loved because: Little girls don't have to mother this doll -- she's no baby! -- but can instead project fantasies onto her.
The update: Barbie Easy for Me 1-2-3 comes with a stand and is always clothed.
Loved because: "It's slinky! It's slinky! It's fun; it's a wonderful toy!" Too true.
The update: Plastic versions are a little less likely to get tangled up.
Loved because: You don't have to be able to read to know that a red-dot card means move to the next red space. And you get to think about candy!
The update: The new Candy Land Castle Game loses the board and has kids match shapes and colors.
Copyright © 2007 Meredith Corporation. Used with permission from the September 2007 issue of American Baby magazine.