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Child’s Play

2010 November 10

Sorry for the recent lack of posts! This week has left me feeling a little uninspired, a little down, just generally unmotivated. Is it an early onset of SAD? I just don’t know. In an attempt to brighten my mood a bit, I rented Toy Story 3 last night and was pretty delighted with it. It was funny and smart and fun to watch, and of course good to see the familiar characters again. As many of the reviews have said, this is not a film for children. At the heart of all the entertaining banter and dazzling animation is a story about growing up and leaving your childhood behind, and the last few minutes are pretty poignant.

It got me thinking about what kind of toys I played with growing up. Though I most often had my face buried in a book, I also loved playing with toys, and it occurred to me that many of my favorites foreshadowed my proclivity for fashion.


I had a few dolls, but my favorite was one with red hair that I named Sasha that my grandmother and aunt brought back for me from a trip to Germany. I always wanted an American Girl doll (Molly was my favorite), but looking at them now, I’m glad my parents didn’t give in to the (really over-priced) hype.

Barbie Dolls

Who didn’t love playing with these? I loved the outfits, the drama, the cars. My dad had this old GI Joe jeep that my Barbies would sometimes cruise around in–they were badass chicks. I loved the Ken character in Toy Story 3–his outfits were hilarious–but I had no patience for the Ken dolls when I was a kid. In fact, I used to rip the heads off them…I wonder what that says about me, exactly?

Paper Dolls

I LOVED paper dolls most of all. i had some really great sets–including Hawaiian Barbie and Skipper, a fancy set of Victorian paper dolls (the same ones in the image, actually), JEM, and my favorite–a doll my mom had when she was a kid. She was made of cardboard (she was sturdy, but her head was still held on by Scotch tape) and had the most amazing 60s outfits (even then I had a penchant for the retro look). When I got bored with my premade sets of paper dolls, I would cut up my sister’s old Seventeen and YM magazines (the prom issues were my favorites) and make my own. I had a large metal canister FILLED with my paper dolls. Do little girls play with these anymore?

Salon Barbie

And then of course was the Salon Barbie. It was really just a giant head, but she came with different hair accessories and pretend makeup so you could play stylist for her. This was also a good time. I think this belonged to my sister, but I can remember playing with it a few times when I was really young.

Fashion Plates

These were really tons of fun. They were plastic tiles with etchings of different outfits on them–mostly tops and bottoms that you could mix and match, put in a plastic box, and then trace over with colored pencils or crayons to make your own “fashion design.” Most women I’ve talked to don’t remember these–did you ever play with them? They were so rad.

What was your favorite toy growing up?

7 Responses Post a comment
  1. Kelli permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Gah! I COMPLETELY forgot about Fashion Plates until this post. I definitely had them and loved playing with them! Thanks for the reminder. :) (I’ve also bumped Toy Story 3 up on my queue as I haven’t seen it yet.)

  2. November 10, 2010

    I totally remember fashion plates! My cousin had a set of them that she loved. She was really into them! I remember getting a miniature set of them that were cool, but I was so not into fashion that I got over it pretty fast.

    I think we were opposite children. I hated dolls, hated Barbies, and the only set of paper dolls I liked were the ones of Poochie (remember her? The pink dog cartoon?) and Rainbow Brite. She was the only doll I liked, mostly because she was (in the 80s anyway–now she looks slutty) very un-ladylike. She was kind of a badass and she went on adventures as opposed to just sitting around looking pretty. I preferred stuffed animals, animal figurines, Smurfs, My Little Ponies–I just gravitated toward animals because they seemed more interesting to me than people. (Thankfully I did not end up a sociopath.) I neglected my dolls and Barbies. I also loved Legos, and I also loved using my mother’s tape recorder to record pretend radio broadcasts, complete with music, commercials, and soap opera-esque dramas called “Victorian Days.” I also liked making things out of clay and getting those craft kits for making magnets and keyrings and such, and those beads that you’d assemble into a design on a pegboard and then iron together. Pearler beads, I think?

    OMG. I was a nerd!

    BTW, I always loved Molly the American Girl best of all too. My parents wouldn’t get me one either. Alas! Probably for the best because I would have ended up neglecting her like all my other dolls. They did get me the book set though, as a compromise.

  3. Joe permalink
    November 10, 2010

    More robots!

  4. Joe permalink
    November 10, 2010

    Also, legos, holy shit, they may be the most amazing thing ever made for kids.

  5. November 12, 2010

    OMG. I know other people have already voiced this in response to this post, but I TOTALLY PLAYED WITH FASHION PLATES and TOTALLY FORGOT ALL ABOUT THEM UNTIL THIS POST. Oh man. What a blast from the past.

  6. Melissa permalink
    November 13, 2010

    Oh, I miss the fashion plates so much! In fact, I am going to do some research and see if I can find a set to keep in my desk at work as a stres reliever!! I also miss the days of Barbie, and still haven’t gottenover never getting the Barbie dream house complete with elevator. I guess that my taste level was always higher than my income level!!!!

  7. Heather permalink
    January 4, 2012

    I forgot these until I saw them on Pinterest. I remember playing with this, I loved it!

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