Those of us who remember the 1960s fondly recall playing games with friends on the playground and gathering around board games with our families. Toys and games of the 1960s were low-tech and lacked the high-impact visuals of today's inventions, yet many of theses midcentury classics are still wildly popular among children and adults.
Young children in the 1960s played games with toys that were hands-on and allowed them to use their imagination. Play-Doh and Pop Beads were new in the 1960s and are still popular today. Chatty Cathy --- a doll that blinked and "spoke" when you pulled the string on her back --- was one of the first talking dolls, which was released in 1959 but became popular in the 1960s. Rock'em Sock'em Robots was a game from the mid-1960s featuring plastic robots --- one red, one blue --- that children could manoeuvre inside a yellow plastic boxing ring.
Boxed and Board Games
The Game of Life is a board game that leads players down a path of lifelike challenges and asks them to consider budgets, marriage and children in their quest to be the first to get to the end of the path. Clue --- still a family favourite --- tests your deductive reasoning skills as you work to solve a "whodunnit" mystery. "The Game That Ties You Up In Knots" --- also known as Twister --- was controversial when it was released in 1964. This party game turns players into game pieces, usually resulting in lots of laughs and a pile of bodies akimbo atop a polka-dotted plastic mat.
Creative Games and Activities
The Etch A Sketch rose to its initial popularity in 1960 and is still available for anyone who wants to turn two simple knobs --- one to make vertical lines and the other to make horizontal lines --- on a grey screen surrounded by a chunky red plastic frame. Shake it, and your design magically disappears. The Spirograph was another drawing game that indulged children's creativity. Children made symmetrical circular designs by placing the tip of a pen in one of several discs and moving it within the provided frame on paper.
Tennis, football and pickup basketball games have been around for decades. With a piece of chalk and a piece of pavement, a group of kids could play hopscotch. If someone had a ball with them, it was easy to get a game of four-square going. Jacks and marbles were a big hit in the 1960s, too. When the hula hoop arrived in the mid-1960s, kids could be seen in front yards and playgrounds spinning the giant plastic rings around their little hips. It's still an inexpensive toy that children love to play with.