These classic toys from 1969 are still popular today

Nearly 50 years ago, when the hosts of Take 30 discussed toys that kids want, they asked the same questions that parents ask today.

Spirograph, Plasticine, Tonka Trucks and Tabletop Hockey were a hit with kids then and now

Almost 50 years ago, when the hosts of Take 30 discussed toys that kids wanted, they asked the same questions that parents ask today. 7:30

The play landscape in 1969 was filled with an abundance of toys, and Take 30 co-hosts Adrienne Clarkson and Paul Soles invited Canadian Toy Testing Council member Jasmine Pocock to sort out what would be a keeper for most Canadian children — and their parents.

Some were remarkable for their design as well as function. 

Playplax, 'The toy that shapes you' was a construction toy from England that was popular in 1969. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

PlayPlax, an award-winning English construction toy with "clear, lovely colours" appealed to Clarkson as having other uses.

"Mummy can I use my PlayPlax for a napkin ring?" suggested Clarkson.

And some were on the wanted list for fun and durability, two important criteria for parents then and now. Nearly five decades later, they would still make the list.

Spirograph and Spirotot

A Spirograph box in 1969. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

First up, a table filled with toys in the imaginative play category. There were many of that type, including PlayPlax and a Soma cube, which Clarkson described as "the kind of thing that you all can do after Christmas dinner."

The Amazing Dr. Nim was described as a computer-type game for teaching early computer theory. Pocock noted "you play against Dr. Nim and he quite often beats you."

But "if you want to be more creative than that in a way which is more mathematical you have things like Spirograph," suggested Pocock. "Endlessly fascinating." 

For the younger child, there was a less complicated version called Spirotot. 

"You don't think that gets in the way of their imagination?" asked Soles. 

"No, because there are so many variations and combinations, and you can work on it yourself," replied Pocock.

'Hours and hours of play'

Plasticine was a must-have for the Christmas stocking in 1969. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

Picking up a small package with the heading "Child's Delight" over the name, Clarkson said she could "hardly wait till my child gets to the age where she's using it."

She was referring to Plasticine. 

"It's just very simple, and quite cheap and it doesn't make a mess, and it's very creative," Clarkson added.  

Pocock agreed: "Wonderful stocking stuffer, and you'll get hours and hours of play out of that one little package."

'Look at the construction'

Some Tonka Toys from 1969 are shown in the image above. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

"How do you know if a toy is going to be durable?" asked Soles. 

"Well the first principle ... is know your child," Pocock told him. "Be an informed consumer and look at what you're buying, look at the construction." 

A "prime example" in this category was the Tonka dune buggy. 

"The wheels are well-attached, that should get a good deal of play both indoors and out," said Pocock. 

Clarkson wondered if the squishy steering wheel made it not "realistic" enough. 

"Well can I tell ya, don't worry about it," said Soles. 

"My little boy is four," he continued. "Most of what he's got is little cars and he loves them."

Some of the toys on the activity play table included removable parts. 

"I found," said Soles, "they get lost ... and you've got to combine that with 'don't forget to put them away.'" 

Pocock reminded him to "provide some decent storage" in the way of "shelves, boxes, containers, this is up to the parents." 

"I'll show you a picture of his room later," said Soles.

'Is this a good investment for a child?'

Table hockey was a durable and enduring favourite for under the tree. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

The trio moved over to a table hockey game, which Clarkson noted was "a great big game."  

"Wanna play?" asked Soles. 

"Well I don't play hockey," Clarkson warned, as they demonstrated how it worked. 

Table hockey games appealed to all, as hosts Adrienne Clarkson and Paul Soles illustrate in this Take 30 program from 1969. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

"Is this a good investment for a child, do you like this kind of game?" she asked. 

"This will last for a long time," Pocock told her.

"One little thing here that's an improvement over when I used to play this as a kid 108 years ago," said Soles, "was that the puck is magnetic, and sticks to the players." 

And "you can stickhandle," said Clarkson.

When Clarkson suggested that it looked "very flimsy," Pocock assured her that was not the case.

"We're still playing with the one my son got when he was seven and he's now 14," Pocock said.

'There's nothing wrong with real things'

'Real things' such as basketballs always scored high on the wanted list. (Take 30/CBC Archives)

Last, but not least, was a toy that Soles referred to as a "real thing," pointing out a small-sized basketball and hoop set.  

"I think this real basketball and hoop thing, rather than an imitation toy, the real thing is really good, isn't it?" he asked.  

"This, even quite a young child you see, will play with and learn good judgment, aim, co-ordination," Pocock said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.