Everyone played with toys as a kid. Even ancient cultures have been shown to have made children's toys as far back as ancient Egypt. One thing will always remain the same however, the toys made during your childhood were the best, right? The toys made today catch a lot of flak due to them being "cheaply made" or since they are "overly safe". Well, to be fair they are that way since someone in the generation probably swallowed one. But we can all agree that there have been some strange toys made in the last hundred years that just make no sense at all. From fads to toys that are downright dangerous, some of these will leave you scratching your head.
Depending on how old you are you will either will see some of these toys and remember how awesome they are or you will wonder what in the heck designers were thinking. However, there are a few that we can all wonder about. We have gathered some of the best examples of weird, funny or dangerous toys that have ever been made. Looking back it is a wonder that some of us even made it to adulthood with how obviously dangerous some of these children's toys were. The good news is that we made it far enough to look back and laugh at our childhoods and those that have come before ours. Just, try not to buy your children anything that might blow up in their hand or impale them.
27 Gooey Louie
Let's face it, the 90s were an interesting time. We seemed to be obsessed with was anything gross and every kid just had to have some toy or game to prove it. Among many examples is the game: Gooey Louie. Gooey Louie is an easy to learn game where you pull boogers out of a human head-shaped container. The idea is that the boogers were hard to hold on to and pull out of the head. Though there are still a lot of kids that would find this funny, us kids in the 90s went wild for gross-out humor like this.
26 "Dear Diary"
To be honest this was not even a good idea at the time, especially the ones that would repeat your secrets out loud if you hit a button... The act of keeping a diary is becoming somewhat archaic as it is, so having one that says your personal thoughts aloud is just silly.
And no kids, that is not some kind of old cell phone.
But kids now are just not interested in having something beyond their computer or phone keep their secrets. They can records, type or even blog their life story to their heart's content, so why have a dedicated recorder for your diary?
25 Mr. Bucket
Childhood was a simpler time for all of us wasn't it? All you needed to have fun was an annoying singing bucket that you put colored balls into as it wondered around. Though this was simple and sometimes frustrating, it got kids to play and laugh for hours. Now kids almost need large electronic screens to be entertained at all. Which requires no friends, just hours of sitting alone at home. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. Even though this game is still for sale today, it is nowhere near as popular to the kids today as it was for us.
Apparently, these were meant to used to play a game. Who knew? Not many of us apparently, since few of us kids ever seemed to do anything but collect them for fun. Originally, you were meant to play for the Pogs themselves, losing the ones you played with. Though after reading the rules, I remember playing the game as a kid, but with coins instead and the winner keeping the money. If you used to play the game it was actually pretty fun, but don't expect many kids today to know what one of these is or how to play the game. To be fair, we didn't really know what they were for either...
This is another strange toy from the 90s, it was basically Play-Doh if it was made of slime and a lot messier. The problem was that Play-Doh cleans up easy when forgotten about since it hardens, crumbles, and vacuums up.
Gak... does not clean up well at all.
If you owned Gak then you remember your parents screaming at you over this mess of a toy that you left lying around. Especially if it got into the carpet or couch. Most kids now will just see it as another slimy toy from the 90s. What was our deal with slime anyway?
22 "Snacktime" Cabbage Patch Kids
Let be honest, something like this would not fly today and it is all because of this toy. This was a Cabbage Patch kid with a robotic mouth that was meant to eat plastic food. There was a sensor that when pressed started a motor that continuously pulled plastic food items into the doll. But these plastic food items are not the only thing this doll would try to eat, anything from fingers to hair could be pulled into the doll, causing quite a scare. There are even some reports of injuries caused by the toy, but mostly girls getting an unwanted haircut to be freed from their new doll.
21 Earthquake Tower Playset
Let's think about the honest terror of an earthquake bringing down a skyscraper. Sure as kids this may be like playing Jenga single player, but any adult watching will see the little plastic humans falling out of the tower to their doom.
They are going to instantly be worried about their child laughing as the figures fall.
Sure, you are meant to be the hero of the day and save the people in the tower, but as a kid, you are going to just want to watch it all fall down.
20 Zap It
Today, we are a little more hesitant to give children semi-realistic guns without them being orange, see-through, or at least orange on the tip of the barrel. If you look at this picture, the older versions were all black and slightly bigger. So to have a toy that looks a lot like an Uzi, with water or ink refills that look a lot like an Uzi magazine and also can shoot red ink? It just would not fly today, which is why the later versions were slightly smaller and orange. But come on, the disappearing ink is pretty cool!
19 The Zulu Blowgun
So ignoring the blatant bias that the advertisements for these toys held, you have to consider that blow darts are dangerous. This was not the suction cup "dart" we know today, these were sharp needles that you shot out of a tube. The problem here is kids wanted to quickly inhale as they see in cartoons and movies.
Used incorrectly, someone could do real damage with this.
Not to mention if you give a child a projectile they are going to shoot it at things they are not supposed to... like pets or siblings. Be honest, we all did it.
18 Lawn Darts
This is a toy that is created today, so what is the big deal? The big difference is back in the day the "darts" used to have sharp knife-like metal tips on them, unlike the plastic ones sold today. Sure the game was to throw them away from yourself and at a target a few feet away but this did not stop kids from injuring themselves and others. It just goes to show you that you can not trust children with sharp objects. Something is going to end up broken or someone is going to end up crying.
17 Wham-O Air Blaster
If you had one of these things or one of the many spin-off toys that came after it, they were awesome. The idea is a bag inside the gun would force air quickly towards the barrel and propel a puff of air across the room. Of course, there is almost nothing that seems this fun that is also totally safe. This toy was pulled from the market after realizing that kids would fire the air at their friends' ears or their own at point blank range. This could easily cause hearing damage to the child on the receiving end.
16 Creepy Crawlers: Thing Maker
The Thing Maker was made to be the "boy version" of the Easy Bake Oven. Much like many other "baking" toys of its time, the "oven" used would actually get upwards of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. So any child who was even just a little bit impatient to get their new plastic bug would find themselves with burns. A mistake that you might only make once, but for some, third-degree burns and children do not mix. Go figure. Most newer versions of both the baking toys and the creature makers cook at much lower temperatures or actually do not cook at all, but rather just set in the mold over time.
15 The Wham-O Wheelie Bar
Yes, another "safe" Wham-O product. This one was meant to be attached to the back of your bicycle and allow you to lean back into the perfect wheelie effortlessly.
So assuming you attached it correctly in the first place, you just HAVE to outdo your friends right?
Well doing much else beyond the wheelie proved to be very dangerous. To be fair the orginal commercial showed kids standing on their seats as the wheelie-ing bike road down the street, so you can not blame kids for doing dangerous tricks while they rode.
14 The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab
Oh man, the 50s were a different time. As the "Atomic Age" hit full swing there was not much that the public knew about nuclear energy beyond its danger. So what better way to teach them then to give your kids real samples of uranium to play with. Yes, they were really irradiated ore samples. Thank the stars that these did not sell well since they could have left children exposed to harmful radiation. Even though you were encouraged not to take the "samples" out of their jars, you were able to do so... with minimal effort on your part. Really! They just twisted open.
13 Splash Off Water Rockets
Many people make water rockets at home. Whether for science fairs, competitions or just for fun. So a water-powered rocket would almost have to be safer then something shot into the sky using black powder... right? Well not really, according to the official recall, this brand caused "more than $1 Trillion in damages and injuries annually." Sadly, even the homemade ones tend to be even safer than these. That is really saying something if your factory made toys are more dangerous then liter soda bottles pressurized with water. Not to mention somehow more dangerous than an actual firework!
12 The Austin Magic Pistol
We all have had fun with Nerf guns, but this one takes the cake. The "Magic Pistol" was a ping-pong ball shooting "space" gun that used calcium carbide and water to propel a ping-pong ball at shockingly high speeds. For any of you wondering how this works, calcium carbide hydrolyzes on contact with water and violently creates pressure. To put it bluntly, this reaction was a small explosion, similar to how a real gun works. If you take a moment and think of why pistols are not made of plastic, you might discover that plastic tends to break or explode under large amounts of pressure, which is what the Austin Magic Pistol tended to do. Don't play with volatile chemicals kids.
11 Jibba Jabbers
Ok, whoever thought this was a good idea was crazy. These dolls with long necks were meant to be played with by shaking the toy by the neck. Much like Homer Simpson does to his son Bart when he is mad at him. Even making cartoon-like noises while being shaken. Well, this brought up concerns that kids might play with their younger siblings or friends in the same way. Needless to say, that can be very dangerous. However, the toy was very popular as a stress reliever for adults, though the same argument can be made for them as well.
10 The Bat Masterson Derringer Belt Gun
Yes, this is actually a toy sold in the 50s. Though a good picture was impossible to find, the one we found will give you a good idea. It was meant to be a funny joke item you could surprise your friends with by firing a cap gun from your buckle hands-free, cowboy style. Though old cap guns were a little more explosive then the ones we have today. Not to mention they were known for going off with the friction of you moving around. Which sounds like a bad day for your buckle region while also scaring yourself silly.
So as a kid, you may have seen others hurt themselves with jump ropes when they began to tire or if they were a klutz. But why stop there? Why not make a jump rope that ties a large plastic ball to your leg that you have to spin and jump over?
It is really the perfect combination of a jump rope and a throwing bola.
Often times it would catch your other leg and trip you if you were not careful. While being a decent way to get your exercise, it was also a good way to end up covered in bandages.
You might have been too young for this one but one look at the picture and chances are you have seen them. They are two plastic or acrylic balls attached to a string with a ring to hold on to that allows you to "clack" them together. These are not too dangerous on their own, but after a while all kids get adventurous. When getting too vigorous with the motion these things could really hurt someone. The hard balls at each end have been notorious for connecting with children's heads in these situations. Not to mention breaking things around the house.
7 Aqua Dots
Aqua Dots are still around today as crafting sets using small colored beads that fused together when applying water to them. So what is so dangerous about that? Back in the day, the coating of the beads that allowed them to stick was toxic. So that would be mostly harmless unless kids ate one right? Well, kids are kids and they can not be trusted with not eating beads. Not to mention getting a toxic material on your hands as a child was just as dangerous for obvious reasons. It did not really matter how the material was ingested, it would find a way.
6 Snap Bracelets
Growing up these things are all over every school grounds. The spring-loaded metal bands were a sensation, but who could have guessed that kids would find a way to harm others with them? Since they were made of metal, slapping others with them could leave bruises and if the coating was worn, the thin sheets of metal could leave cuts. So if you ever wondered why from one year to the next they just seemed to disappear, that is why. These are making a bit of a comeback today and they are mostly made of plastic under tension instead of metal. Who knew a bracelet could be so dangerous!?
5 Magic Grow Capsules
These little things just scream a bad idea. They were pill-like water soluble capsules that had compressed animals inside of them made of sponge. When taking a bath or playing in water they would "magically grow" from the capsule.
The problem is that too many of them "magically" grew in children's stomachs.
You would think as long as a child did not swallow them they would be fine. But the problems did not end there, the plastic coating would often remain in the water and could be swallowed by playing kids. Like we said, at the end of the day, they were a bad idea.
4 Aqua Leisure Baby Boats
So parents or future parents, please remember, if your baby is in deep water please watch them at all times. That being said, the Aqua Leisure Baby Boat was made for parents to allow their young children to kick around in the water. The problem here is the manufacturer knew that the support system used to keep the babies out of the water was not as secure as one might hope. They did what a lot of big companies do and sold the product anyway. This lead to some parents' surprise when their child would fall through the bottom of the raft and into the water. Thankfully they were forced to fix the design after a civil lawsuit.
3 Marvel Shape Shifters: The Punisher
When you think of The Punisher you might think of guns, which is fair enough. The Marvel Shape Shifter's line gave us a little more then we bargained for however with their Punisher figure. His transformation leaves a large cannon-type weapon in a less than ideal place.
Who thought this was a good idea?
To make things worse is upon buying the model you might not realize that this is what he becomes. There are many toys like this that allow a transformation that turns the chest itself into the cannon, but to have the cannon like this is a bit much.
2 The 1966 Batman Squirt gun
Well, looking at it you might laugh at its unfortunate shape. Toy makers seem to always overlook some of these ridiculous designs. They must not have considered what this toy looked like as a finished product. But no matter what the reason, we are sure to see tons more facepalm worthy toys in the future. All that said, it was probably fun to play with!
1 The Harry Potter Nimbus 2000
So what is wrong with this one you may ask? Well, it is simply a wizarding broomstick that is meant to be used between the legs, presumably to pretend you are flying or playing Quitich. However, parents were a little more than annoyed to realize the broomstick vibrates — like, too much. This caused quite an uproar to say the least.