Classic Toys Continue to Delight and Entertain

by Ann Douglas

You won't catch Stevanne Auerbach lining up to buy this season's latest and supposedly greatest new toys. She'd rather invest in "classic toys" that have earned a place in the hearts and toy boxes of children.

According to Auerbach -- an author and syndicated columnist who is better known as "Dr. Toy" -- classic toys are toys that have been proven over time to be safe, consistently popular, well-designed, and practical, and that offer good value for the money . "These toys are enduring, 'child-powered,' and fun," she stresses. "They have entertained and enriched the lives of children and adults for years."

Auerbach's most recent book -- published in conjunction with U.S. department store giant FAO Schwarz -- is entitled Toys For A Lifetime: Enhancing Childhood Through Play (New York: Universe Publishing, $38.75). In her book, Auerbach highlights some of the best "classic toys" for children of various ages. Here are just a few of her picks:

For babies:

  • Manhattan Toys Skwish (a collapsible baby toy that is decorated with bright colors, sliding beads, and a jingling bell)
  • Fisher Price Stacking Rings (five brightly-colored rings on a stack)

For toddlers:

  • Tinkertoys (a construction set that was originally made out of wood, but that is now made out of plastic)
  • Silly Putty (a moldable substance that stretches, bounces, and lifts images off the printed page)
  • Slinky (a metal or plastic toy that can climb down a set of stairs and perform other seemingly wondrous feats!)

For preschoolers

  • Etch-A-Sketch (a drawing toy that has been dubbed "the world's first laptop"!)
  • Spirograph (a drawing toy that allows children to use a series of plastic circles and gears to create geometric shapes and patterns)
  • Candyland (a 50-year-old board game that encourages co-operative rather than competitive play)
  • Mr. Potato Head (a plastic face-making set that was first introduced in 1952)

For school-aged children

  • Scrabble (a word-building game that is suitable for both children and adults)
  • Pictionary (a classic board game that combines creativity and competition)

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site,

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