These were the toys kids needed for a 1988 road trip

A summer car journey might go more smoothly with these diversions for the back-seat set.

Magnetic tick-tack-toe, washable markers, sticky string kept kids busy in the back

Recommended road trip toys

34 years ago
Duration 3:12
Kathryn O'Hara of CBC's Midday reviews games and craft supplies that may help keep kids occupied in the car in 1988.

The Canadian Toy Testing Council wasn't just there for parents during the hectic gift-buying season.

The council was active in the summer, too, looking for toys that were affordable, safe, and age-appropriate — and with good "travel-ability," in the words of consumer columnist Kathryn O'Hara on CBC's Midday.

"What they came up with was 44 toys ... that they thought fit the bill," said O'Hara.

In July 1988, she brought a few of those toys to the studio.

Portable play

Stiffened by wax but still flexible, these "sticky wickies," also known as Wikki Stix, had many fun applications in the car. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Washable markers, which were new that year, were first on O'Hara's list.

"What about the upholstery in the car?" asked skeptical-looking Midday co-host Peter Downie.

"It doesn't matter. You can wash it," replied O'Hara. Besides, kids could just as easily "draw on themselves." 

Another diversion was something O'Hara called "sticky wickies," which was most likely what is, in fact, Wikki Stix.

"I'm captivated with this," she said of the wax-coated yarn that could be cut or shaped.

A portable version of the board game Trouble even came with a snap-on cover to keep all the pieces contained. (Midday/CBC Archives)

Other recommended car toys included a miniature version of Pop-a-matic Trouble, complete with a die encased in a bubble, and a magnetic version of tick-tack-toe. 

There was also a skipping rope, an example of an "active toy" that could be used during a "pit stop" and a large, soft teddy bear. 

"They double as pillows, which is really handy, right?" 

A large, squishy teddy bear could do double duty as a pillow. (Midday/CBC Archives)

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