All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

By Wait But Why on at

I don't know you. I don't know where you're from or what you look like or how old you are. You might be a judge or a cook or a priest or a clown. I don't know. But what I'm pretty sure about is that at one point or another, you've been involved with most of the toys below. It's just one of those things that we all have in common.

Let's go through them.


 

Toy: The Sticky Hand

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 7

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One week.

Downside: Gets dirty and loses stickiness; unclear exactly what you're supposed to do with it; the torture of not being able to eat it.

Overall rating: 7/10

Comments: Odd that someone ever just decided to invent these, but I'm pleased that it happened. I may also like these more than most people do.


 

Toy: The Slinky

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 4

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One month; recurring obsession.

Downside: Inevitable tangling

Overall rating: 6/10

Comments: A new slinky ends up in my life once every two or three years. They're great in theory, but always a little disappointing in practice.


 

Toy: The Thing With All the Pins

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 9

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Four minutes.

Downside: Putting it against your face is a violating life experience. The inevitable few pins that get bent proving that we can't have nice things.

Overall rating: 5/10

Comments: Creative invention, but has limits. After I've done all the normal things I end up in a fairly dark place doing weird un-fun things like pushing all the pins up together with my palm or pushing just a few edge pins up with my finger.


 

Toy: The Snap Bracelet

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 11

Amount of time before I became bored with it: A week and a half.

Downside: They hurt a lot.

Overall rating: 4/10

Comments: You remember this whole thing, right? They're a fidget toy more than anything, but in a stressful way. Not much room for nuance with a snap bracelet.


 

Toy: The Bead Thing in the Dentist's Office

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 4.

Amount of time before I became bored with it: When it was time to see the dentist

Downside: It kind of sucks

Overall rating: 4/10

Comments: These things leave you with a sense of longing and the dread of pointlessness. It's designed to mesmerise kids in a way where the kid is aware that it's not worthy of mesmerisation but is helpless to stop and do other things. Like sudoku for children.


 

Toy: Devil Sticks

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 15.

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Two months.

Downside: It's not a cool thing to be good at.

Overall rating: 6/10

Comments: My friend got these when I was 15 and I became obsessed with them for a period of time. Devil Sticks as an activity is one of the few things that really understands a pubescent 15-year-old boy, and vice versa.


 

Toy: The Ball and Cup

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 12

Amount of time before I became bored with it: 20 minutes.

Downside: It leaves you feeling inadequate and irate.

Overall rating: 3/10

Comments: The kind of toy your dad used to play with in 1957.


 

Toy: The Hanging Ball Thing

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 6

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Three months; recurring obsession.

Downside: Not much

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Comments: A delightful contraption. The only bad thing is that cheap ones suck and most people have cheap ones.


 

Toy: This Thing

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 1

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One second.

Downside: It's not fun.

Overall rating: 2/10

Comments: For some reason, playing with this thing is a requirement of being a one-year-old, even though it's groundbreakingly underwhelming.


 

Toy: Magnets in General

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 3

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Never

Downside: It can be frustrating when you can't get repelling magnets to touch; after awhile the smooth coating wears off and the underlying rough metal seeps into your skin.

Overall rating: 9/10

Comments: The fidgeter's best friend.


 

Toy: The Floating Globe

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 45 seconds ago.

Amount of time before I became bored with it: N/A

Downside: None I could imagine.

Overall rating: 10/10?

Comments: I've never owned one of these, but came across this picture while searching for a picture of magnets. I've never laid eyes on something I've wanted as badly as I want this.


 

Toy: The Doll

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 5

Amount of time before I became bored with it: When my dad took it away.

Downside: There's not really any way to play with them, you just kind of spend time with them.

Overall rating: 3/10

Comments: The only way I've found to engage a doll is to swivel it up and down and watch the eye ball stay where it is. Also, searching for this photo led me to a Google Images search for "old doll" and I had to turn all the lights on and watch a sitcom for 20 minutes before my sense of self returned. What the hell.


 

Toy: The Super Soaker

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 11

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One year.

Downside: Someone always has a radder and more expensive one than you.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Comments: Teenagers need to enjoy these while they can, because there's no endearing way to use one of them as an adult.


 

Toy: The Yo-Yo

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 7

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One week; recurring obsession.

Downside: The string gets twisted and then you have to stand there and let it spin itself untwisted while your limited time on this earth diminishes.

Overall rating: 5.5/10

Comments: Yo-yos have their place, but bouncing them down and up quickly becomes meaningless, and yo-yo tricks just don't look very fun to do, so the hobby becomes unsustainable.


 

Toy: The Balancing Man

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 8

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Three months.

Downside: The possibilities are limited.

Overall rating: 7/10

Comments: My grandfather gave me one of these when I was eight years old, and my fascination bubbled over. Still not really sure how he just stands there and balances.


 

Toy: The Paper Clip

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 4

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Ten minutes; recurring obsession.

Downside: The effort required to make one completely and perfectly straight isn't worth the payoff.

Overall rating: 4/10

Comments: I'll resort to the paper clip as a fidget toy when options are scarce, but it's not a great situation.


 

Toy: Lego

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: Never

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Immediately.

Downside: They're not fun at all.

Overall rating: 1/10

Comments: I've never understood the /lego fetish. What the hell is fun about putting dumb Lego together?


 

Toy: The Etch A Sketch

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 10

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One minute; recurring obsession

Downside: Everything you draw on it is horrible

Overall rating: 2/10

Comments: An overrated toy. Who has ever had fun on an Etch A Sketch? Somehow though, it always ropes me back in.


 

Toy: The Nerf Flyer

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 10

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Until I lost it.

Downside: They give you false perceptions about your athletic ability

Overall rating: 8/10

Comments: Never in any other situation will I be able to throw a ball that far. Similar appeal to the delicious Aerobie.


 

Toy: The Little Absurd Dog

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 13

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Three months; recurring obsession

Downside: I'm allergic to them; they expire.

Overall rating: 7.5/10

Comments: Given my track record of quickly getting over toys, I'd be well-advised to avoid buying one of these. Tempting though.


 

Toy: Metal Puzzles

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 7

Amount of time before I became bored with it: One terrible hour

Downside: They're upsetting and they lower your self-esteem

Overall rating: 3/10

Comments: We needn't discuss this further.


 

Toy: The Rubik's Cube

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 21

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Two weeks

Downside: The guilt you feel when people call you a genius because you solved it even though you used instructions and just did what they told you to do.

Overall rating: 8/10

Comments: Um


 

Toy: The Woodpecker on a Pole

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 13

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Two days.

Downside: The woodpecker has very few facets to his personality.

Overall rating: 5/10

Comments: Though delightful initially, playing with this is a passive and ultimately empty experience.


 

Toy: Stretch Armstrong

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 12

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Three years

Downside: It breaks eventually, and the stuff comes out.

Overall rating: 8/10

Comments: That's right. Three years. I had a phase.


 

Toy: Silly Putty

All the Weird Toys From Your Childhood

Age when I became obsessed with it: 6

Amount of time before I became bored with it: Two weeks; recurring obsession.

Downside: It eventually becomes disgusting.

Overall rating: 9/10

Comments: The rating is so high because I'm currently in the heat of one of my sporadic silly putty flings. A fidgeting masterpiece only paralleled by magnets.


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This article has been republished with permission from WaitButWhy.com, where it can be seen here.