Classic toys ‘baby boom’ing

Lisa Neff, Staff writer

Nana’s list includes an Easy-Bake Oven for Pip.

Papa wants to give Gavin a Slinky.

And Aunt Connie is looking for Colorforms for all the nieces and nephews. 

Many baby boomers visiting toy stores this holiday season will be buying familiar toys for girls and boys. Some toys, like the Duncan YoYo, never fell out of favor as stocking stuffers. Other toys get updated year after year to remain relevant, like the Easy-Bake Oven — which now has both a dedicated heating element that retired the un-green incandescent bulb and gender-neutral packaging.

Hasbro holds the rights to many of the toys loved by boomer kids, their kids and now by their grandkids: Scrabble, Twister, Monopoly, Playskool and Play-Doh sets.

“One of the first Christmas presents I remember is a Play-Doh Fun Factory,” said baby boomer Paul Armstrong of Milwaukee. “I would have been maybe 4 years old. Like 1962. It was marketed by Play-Doh Pete. I loved it. Hours of fun.”

This year, Armstrong plans to buy a Play-Doh set for his 5-year-old grandson. “Of course he wants the Star Wars Play-Doh. It does look pretty cool.” The Play-Doh line features more than one Star Wars-themed set. The Millennium Falcon Playset features Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vader can-heads and fighter-jet molds.

WiG caught up with other early shoppers of the baby boomer age outside the exits of several toy stores and found them with purchases they didn’t know much about: Descendants dolls and Little Live Pets Clever Keet, Click-A-Bricks and Nintendo 3DS games.

“I’m still looking for a Doc McStuffins Take Care of Me Lambie — whatever that is,” Rachel Goodman, grandmother of three children, said as she left a store, unknowingly in search of a plush doll that sings a song when her tummy is pressed.

But many boomers’ shopping bags contained the tried and tested — Erector Sets and Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels cars and Barbie dolls

“I’ve bought so many toys for the kids and grandkids over the years. The fad stuff. The gadgets. The electronics. Most of it doesn’t last the winter, but some toys last forever,” said boomer Jen Miles, a member of the generation credited with giving rise to a U.S. toy industry. “This year, I’m going with the classics, what I know and what has value.”