I have many fond memories of the toys I grew up playing with as a child. I’ve never really grown out of being interested in toys, I’m often just as keen as the children to play and explore new toys together. Play is so important and the primary way in which the children are learning so I’m always happy to give the boys new play opportunities and introduce new materials and ideas to them. It’s not only new things that can spark their imagination though. Many of the toys and games that they love best have been around since I was small, and even for generations before that.

Why you should introduce your kids to the toys of your childhood

I often chat to the boys about the toys and games I used to play with my brothers and sister growing up. My eldest, Mr Z, who is 6 years old loves to hear about this. He’s very close to my twin sister (his favourite aunty) and he loves to hear tales of what we got up to as kids. These simple moments sharing family stories and reminiscing are great for strengthening family bonds, and also introducing a little bit of history (modern history – because I am not that old!!). It can help the children to feel that we understand them. Yes, I am the grown up parent and you are the child, but not so long ago I was a 6 year old playing with my ‘puppy in my pocket’ cards with my sister just like you play with your ‘top trumps.’

It helps children to connect the passage of time and be aware of the basic ‘circle of life’ – how children grow into adults, and have their own children and so it continues. Very young children are not always aware that the adults in their life were once children too. As they have only known them in their current form, they might find it hard to imagine! As children become older, hearing tales of their parents, aunties and uncles and other family members helps to strengthen their identity and sense of belonging in the family. They know who they are, and where they came from, who has gone before them. Sometimes young children find it hard to grasp the concept that their aunties and uncles are their parents brothers and sisters, and that their granny is actually their mum or dad’s mum. Sharing a few childhood tales can help to reinforce those concepts, and including stories about the favourite toys that you used to play with usually grabs their interest.

It’s so interesting to see how some things have changed so much since we were kids (the prevalence internet and mobile phones are probably the main things!) and yet other things and many aspects of play have stayed just the same.

Talking of childhood memories, John Lewis Insurance have just launched their ‘Your toy story’ campaign. 

Every Thursday for the next four weeks, a different retro toy will be featured on the John Lewis ‘What Matters‘ microsite. This week it’s the good old teddy bear, and what better choice is there to start the reminiscing. For many people their childhood teddy bear is their most beloved childhood toy and the one they always remember.

John Lewis Insurance wants to hear your special childhood toy memories, share them on Twitter. Also, why not keep up to date with John Lewis to see what retro toy they will be featuring next week!

Old Teddy Bear

I do have a beloved teddy from my childhood. It’s a Popple! I’m sure it’s familiar mainly to people born in the late 80s and others may have no idea what it is (these were made first only from 1986-1988.) I have kept some popples from my childhood and now they belong to my kids.

vintage retro popple I’ve shared about these Popples a couple of times, along with other toys we used to play with. Because I loved these so much as a child, it’s so lovely to see my children now being familiar with the Popples characters and snuggling up with these same plush toys.

They are multi purpose teddies, you can snuggle up with them and use them as a conventional soft toy or you can curl them up into a ball and then throw them around. I always found it a bit mean to turn the popple into a football though, while my brothers were always more keen to do that and give my popple a kick!

I had two main popples, one was the small slumber party Pancake popple, and the other one was a bigger “Baby Popple” – I had “Cribsy” and my sister had “Bibsy” – not that we called them by these names, we just made up our own and the baby popple used to change names several times a week since we always had a baby names fascination! I still have the very same “Cribsy” baby popple for my kids along with a larger Pancake popple (the one in the picture above is Pancake)

The smaller slumber party popple was carried around by me so much as a young child that the arm started to fall off, so sadly that one is no longer with me. I do remember it well though!

 What was your childhood teddy? I’m sure many of you have a tale to tell, so share it with me in the comments!

If you fancy some more nostalgia, you can also check out the old My Little Pony Baby Bonnet School of Dance toy advert I shared here. Let me know if any of you fellow children of the 80s and 90s also had these toys, or what your favourites where.

Image Source: Shutterstock (modified) This is a sponsored post which has been written in association with John Lewis Insurance

Introducing your kids to the toys of your childhood - the best retro toys of the 80s and 90s that we used to play with