As the holiday season approaches, those of us with children in our lives are likely finding ourselves searching for the toy that will bring the biggest smile to our kids’ faces on Christmas morning.
Whether that means scanning the shelves for the latest and greatest toy off the assembly line, or searching eBay for a classic that’s no longer available in stores, finding the right toy for Christmas is a rite of passage for every parent. In fact, some of us might be buying the same toys for our children that our parents bought for us decades ago.
If that’s you, then the toy you’re buying is probably on this list of the best-selling children’s toys of all time.
Cabbage Patch Kids
Created in the 1970s by a 21-year-old art student named Xavier Roberts, the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls are one of the most successful doll franchises of all time. The original dolls were hand-stitched, soft fabric sculptures that Roberts called “The Little People,” and which he sold – or “adopted” – at arts and crafts fairs.
The Cabbage Patch Kids were patented in 1978, and they hit the toy market in 1983. By their 30th anniversary, in 2003, more than 130 million Cabbage Patch Kids had been sold – and the number just keeps climbing.
The Barbie doll is, unsurprisingly, the best-selling toy of all time with over a billion dolls sold since she made her debut in 1959. With more than 180 careers, 40 nationalities, and hundreds, even thousands, of exclusive fashionable outfits, the Barbie doll has been a toy icon for millions of little girls for the past 50 years.
Part of the reason for this is Barbie’s adaptability. Mattel, the toy company that owns Barbie, has allowed the doll to evolve as times have changed, releasing Barbie Presidential candidates, Barbie business executives (starting in 1985, no less), and Barbie computer engineers.
Perhaps most notably, in 2016 Mattel introduced three new body types – tall, petite, and curvy – and added a variety of skin tones to better reflect the world that girls see around them.
The Easy-Bake Oven
This famous toy working oven has been beloved by children since 1963, when it was first introduced to the public.
The Easy-Bake Oven has sold more than 20 million units since its debut, and has appeared in several different incarnations throughout the decades. The first model featured a tiny stovetop in addition to the oven and used a regular incandescent light bulb for heat. Later models recalled the kitchen styles of the times: the 1971 Easy-Bake Oven was an avocado green and faux wood creation, while ones from the 1980s and ‘90s look more like microwave ovens than standard ovens.
And the Easy-Bake Oven of today is almost space-age in its design. It’s sleek, curvy, and now comes in two gender-neutral color schemes in addition to pink and purple: black and silver, and blue.
The creation of this incredibly popular toy was a lucky accident for its inventor James Wright . Wright was an inventor who worked at General Electric in New Haven, Conn. and discovered that combining boric acid with silicone oil created a putty with unusual properties. It’s a “liquid solid: If it’s dropped, it bounces, but if struck with a great deal of force, it shatters. Silly Putty also floats, and will even form a puddle if left alone for a long enough time.
The toy was originally sold in 1950 for $1, and that’s still what an egg of the stuff will cost you today. However, if you take into account the amount of Silly Putty you get, the price has doubled – original eggs contained 1 ounce of Silly Putty, while today’s contain just 0.5 ounces.
Creating a timeless toy requires a healthy mixture of talent, foresight, and plain old-fashioned luck – not to mention the product development experts to help you get your product off the ground. If you need help developing the next Silly Putty, contact us at Pivot!