Toy flashbacks – how did we survive these?

As a child of the mid-eighties I had the privilege of being the perfect age to enjoy two of the greatest phases in toy history – the pre-safety guidelines toys and the beginnings of the computer game age. Essentially I played with toys that hurt me physically and gave me RSI and a need for glasses. It was awesome. Here are my top toys that my peers and I survived, that today would come with safety instructions – and possibly a hard hat.

1. The Pogo Bal:
Yes, that’s how we spelled it – we were reckless with our consonants back in the 80′s. The Pogo Bal is apparently making a comeback, being used in core strength training in gyms. We used it to go up and down concrete steps…

2. The Trampoline:
You think you have a trampoline in your back garden? If the springs are covered, the sides have a net, and it’s not made of moderately rusty metal, it’s not what we called a trampoline. I still have a scar on my side from one of these…

3. Clackers
Originally glass balls that shattered on ropes that broke. You basically smacked them together, risking either of these things happening as you went. Eventually they had hard plastic arms and balls, but still caused fantastically embarrassing injuries.

4. Chemistry Sets
My dad bought me a chemistry set in the early 1990s after I begged and begged him for it. All of the experiments were ‘best performed outside’ and the recommended equipment included lots of fireproof rubber and goggles. My brother an I exploded my mum’s crystal vase and it was put away for good.

5. The Slip’n’Slide
Basically a bit of blue plastic that you pinned to the grass, stuck a hose at the top of and threw yourself down until you ended up on grass/stones/gravel at the bottom. It was the BEST fun.

We had stilts, skateboards, BMXs, roller skates and rollerblades – all usually with no helmets and our only skate park was the street outside our houses. My kids always have to wear helmets, but my three year old already has a skateboard. With the right supervision, in the days when even computer controls have safety straps, is it not about time we let our kids live a little?

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