Like the nursery rhyme says: "Five, six, pick up sticks / Seven, eight, lay them straight." What better way to pass the time while Mom cooked Christmas dinner?
Nowadays, they're made of plastic, but the only tops that made it into our stocking were solid wood.
Kansas entrepreneur Don Duncan bought out the Flores Yo-yo Corp. in 1929 and the rest is history. We loved the weight of the fiberglass Imperial in our stocking. And of course, if it wasn't a Duncan, it wasn't a yo-yo.
Barrel of Monkeys
"Dump monkeys onto table. Pick up one monkey by an arm. Hook other arm through a second monkey's arm. Continue making a chain. Your turn is over when a monkey is dropped." Any questions?
Something tells us there aren't many parents stuffing these explosive devices into their kids' stockings these days. How lucky we were.
Balsa Wood Glider
You could even fly one indoors without breaking a thing.
Get your mind out of the gutter. It's a toy. And what better way to put your kid sister under arrest?
It sure could suck up mom's bobby pins in a hurry.
They're right, it is fun! But a lot harder than it looks.
Magic 8 Ball
"Signs point to yes." At some point, one of these fortune-telling toys made its way into our stocking. "You may rely on it."
Never mind the candy pellets. It was really all about the dispensers. From Mickey Mouse to Casper the Friendly Ghost, they showed up in our stockings year after year.
The reason they invented a flight of stairs. Are we right?
Our first electric toy gave us a feeling of power. So what if just ripping open the wrapping paper was quicker?
Good old Wham-O. We're guessing they came in four-packs because the "amazing Zectron" made the balls prone to bouncing out of sight.
Chinese Finger Trap
We called them Chinese handcuffs. Surprisingly effective!
Compared to the top, this was pretty grown-up. It even kept its balance while spinning in the palm of our hand.
Originally called "knucklebones," the game dates back to the Ancient Greece, where it was played with the sheep bones. For us, the metal jacks were way cooler than the plastic ones.
Just one complaint: We could have used more of it. With so many comic strips to transfer out of Dad's newspaper, there was never quite enough this stuff around.
One of the biggest toy fads of the '60s, they were irresistibly cute and were supposed to bring good luck.
You had to have a View-Master to appreciate the 3-D images in these thin cardboard discs. But then who didn't have a View-Master?
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Illustrator Bob Staake injects the literature of our childhood with a shot of humor into the jugular