Old Fashioned Toys for Kids with a Modern Twist

by SusanM

Sometimes classic, old fashioned toys are the best ones. They're even better when they've been update for today's children.

In these days of technological and educational toys it's easy to forget about old fashioned toys for kids. Classic toys are just wonderful for sentimental reasons. But they're also some of the best for learning different skills. They're also lots of fun and have that feel of much simpler times.

I remember playing with these toys as a child. I also love giving them to children as an alternative to the more "modern" toys that overwhelm these classic favorites. I think a lot of this is because of today's extreme marketing for toys.

So lets get back to those old fashioned toys for kids...

Classic Nature Toys

Nature Kaleidoscope Making Kit

Nature Kaleidoscope Making Kit

I loved the kaleidoscope I had as a child. It's a relaxing activity that can be done anywhere - even in a boring place like a doctor's waiting room. This kaleidoscope is a little different than what we had as kids though.

With this one kids get to make their own kaleidoscope with the parts included. These include dried flowers, polished gemstones, glass marbles and minerals to put inside the kaleidoscope to make some amazing patterns. Because of the small pieces that come in this set it isn't for young children under 3 years of age. But it's a great choice for older children. 

I think this toy is a good addition to the old kaleidoscope concept. This is because kids are able to understand how the patterns are created by making the kaleidoscope first. This makes it far more interesting for them. 

This is another toy (although really it's a craft) that I had as a child. I have fond memories of collecting spring flowers and fall leaves to place in my flower press. So I had to include a flower press in my old fashioned toys for kids list. 

This flower press has won the National Parenting Center's "Seal of Approval" so it's certainly a good inclusion. 

This is definitely a classic toy that's been updated for today's kids. Why? Because it's a flower press that kids get to decorate and put together themselves. There's also some extra craft goodies included to decorate the crafts they make with their pressed flowers. 

Flower presses like this one are geared towards girls who have an interest in flowers and leaves of course. But it's not for little girls under 3 years of age because of the choking risk. 

Okay I'm not a fan of bugs but I did have a bug house that I enjoyed as a child. My bug collector was just restricted to collecting "nice bugs" like caterpillars and ladybugs. 

Bug houses are a great choice for curious kids interested in any type of bug - and these bug houses are a modern twist on an old fashioned toy. They're bigger, brighter and a different design than the older ones. They're a lot cuter too. 

But if there're any types of bugs you don't want your child collecting you will of course need to lay down a couple of rules about what's okay to run around after and what's best to leave alone. This is a fun garden activity though for kids 3 years and up.

More for Young Bug and Butterfly Collectors

Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Bug House
Melissa & Doug
Bella Butterfly Net
Melissa and Doug

Remember the Barrel of Monkeys?

Barrel of Monkeys: Blue
Milton Bradley

Here's another toy many of us had as children. It's a simple toy but heaps of fun for kids. (This toy is also good for helping to develop children's eye-hand coordination.) 

The Barrel of Monkeys is still sold in exactly the same form as the old fashioned ones. But given their simplicity that's okay. It doesn't need an update - especially when it's a childhood pop culture icon. 

If you're wanting something a little more modern though there's another game that's very similar to the Barrel of Monkeys. It's a balancing game called Monkeying Around. It's a nice choice if you're wanting something for school age kids or just something that's been developed from the classic Barrel set.

Want the Modern Game - Monkeying Around?

Monkeying Around
International Playthings

Pick up sticks are another old fashioned game that's lots of fun. I had a classic set as a child that I played with a lot.

Pick up sticks are good for helping children to learn eye-hand coordination and concentration skills. They're also a great family game for some fun together time. 

You can still get the original pick up stick sets. But there's also a modernized version. Pick up snakes. This gives an extra dimension for kids who can add a little imagination to the game. Because picking up snakes is far more risky than picking up sticks isn't it (even if they're just pretend snakes). 

Modern Pick Up Sticks - Snakes!!

Pickup Snakes

The Classic Pick Up Sticks Game

Pick-Up Sticks
Melissa & Doug

Jumping rope is great for helping children learn how to coordinate their larger muscles. It's also a fantastic way to get fit and have a healthy heart. So when so many of today's toys are played with while sitting this is a simple and fun way to get kids moving again. 

Now this jump rope has been modernized by making it adjustable. I've never seen these jump ropes myself so I don't know how easy or hard they are to adjust. One reviewer was not able to work out how to do it. But it might just take someone who's a little handy. 

The Ultimate Classic Toy

Cat's Cradle Book Kit

As an old fashioned toy this is an absolute classic for girls and boys. 

Klutz have modernized this classic game by making this a skill that can be learnt with easy book instructions. It once would have been learnt from child to child (or grown up to child). So it was handed down. Of course it can still be done this way. But if you don't know how to do it this book kit gives you easy steps for making each of the string figures. 

The other great touch of the modern world Klutz gives this activity is the inclusion of a tie died string that comes with the book. So it's certainly a fun old fashioned activity that's been given a modern twist.

More Classic Toy Ideas

Do you know how to choose the right jigsaw puzzle for a toddler?
Great knitting toys for girls who love knitting or want to learn how to knit.
Updated: 11/04/2012, SusanM
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