10 Totally Awesome Toys For Girls Of The 80s

Guest Post By: Nancy at Graphic Novelty²

The 80’s… a time of great nostalgia for some of us, and great envy for others, as clearly the 80’s was the best time to be a child. Rob has shared posts in which he shares toys he still pines for, and after the Green Onion shared his top ten list, I noticed they had something in common- they were incredibly boy-centric. What about all the amazing toys that girls wanted? I am here to correct that gap. This list covers what a rad (and slightly dorky) 80’s girl coveted.

1. Spirographs


Spirographs was a geometric drawing set that consisted of several plastic gears and interlocking shapes that had edges that would connect and move it along, as to create geometric shapes on the underlying paper. As the gears rotated, unique and colorful shapes would take shape as you used several different colored pens to move the shapes within each other.

2. Fashion Plates


Similar in theme to the Spirographes, this set came with plastic pieces that you could mix and match to create fashionable ensembles. You would lift the lid, slide the pieces in and place paper over them. Then you would take a special crayon to rub over it, so the pictures would emerge. Then you would use colored pencils to refine the look. Much care was added to create precise designs that were the envy of your friends.

3. Star Wars Figurines

Star Wars figurines.jpg

Only for boys? I beg to differ. I had Leia, Luke, Han, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Yoda plus a few others. While I might not have had many figurines, and no extra ships or action sets, I more than made up for it in my imagination. Always partial to Luke, a second Leia of mine was renamed Princess Nancy, and there often was less battles and more romantic adventures for the two of them.

4. Cabbage Patch Dolls


While I never owned one, my younger sister was desperate for one. My Mom was able to track down one for her at the height of their popularity. At the time each doll was unique, with its own name and birth certificate. I personally thought the squished faces were ugly, but obviously thousands of other youth disagreed with me.

5. The Heart Family

Heart Family.jpg

For those girls like myself who enjoyed playing with Barbies, but thought the Malibu blonde was vapid, the Heart Family offered a sensible Barbie alternative. Packaged together the brunette mother, handsome father and adorable twin toddlers were more appealing to those of us that were more practical. Who needs a Corvette, when a Volkswagen Cabriolet was available?

6. Easy Bake Oven

Easy Bake Oven.png

A working toy oven that bakes cakes- how I coveted this. My best friend had one, but we ran through the cake mixes that came with it, and her parents weren’t too keen on buying her endless extra cake mixes so we could sit around and eat all day.

7. Rainbow Bright

Rainbow Bright.jpg

This brightly attired doll was a tie in to the animated cartoon that was a must see Saturday mornings. Nowadays kids can watch practically any cartoon at any time of the day, but back in the day, we had to wait until Saturday morning to get our fix. Rainbow Bright and her friends Twink and Starlite helped make the world a brighter place by replacing dark with color. These soft plush toys were a big hit with the younger set.

8. My Little Ponies

My Little Pony

They were colorful and cute! Plus you could comb the magical pony’s manes and braid them. Having them all lined up on your windowsill was a way of showing off all the ones you had. Curses to my friends who showed off their larger collections!

9. Care Bears

Care Bears.jpg

Stuffed animals bears, each with a different color and picture on its belly. This too matched with a TV show, with different bears representing different feelings or personalities. They had magical powers and the different symbols on their bellies could help solve problems. Depending on your mood, your bear just might be the perfect pal to cheer you up.

10. Sunfire Books

Sunfire Books.jpeg

Ok, this is not a toy, but this series of books was better than toys to me in my adolescence. This set of 32 books was historical fiction at its finest. The main character was always a sixteen year old young woman at a pivotal time in America’s history that had to pick between two men who loved her. OMG, who would she pick??? I read every book in this collection from the library over and over again. Knowing this, is it a surprise to find out I met my future husband when I was 16?

While I was lucky enough to own a few of these above items, these toys and books are very symbolic of an 80’s childhood. But another nostalgic fact of my childhood, was that my toys were secondary to my outdoor adventures with friends. My peers and I are among the last generation of kids that spent their days outside with no parental oversight. We biked, ran around, built tree forts and were in and out of friend’s houses all day. Times have changed-now that we are parents, can you imagine not knowing where your kids are all day? So, in addition to my toys, perhaps that carefree time period is what I am truly nostalgic for.

10 Toys

[Rob’s Note: Nancy (from Graphic Novelty² ) has been a great supporter and friendly commenter to My Side of the Laundry Room from almost the beginning. One issue she always had was my very male-centric toy lists from my childhood (let me point out I did do this very girl-centric list a while ago, lol), so when she said she wanted to do a list of some of her favorite toys from her childhood I felt truly honored. Nancy and her blogging partner in crime Kathleen write some amazingly awesome reviews of graphic novels, comic books, and general geek lit. Please head over to their site and check it out. Thank you Nancy for sharing some of your childhood memories with us!]


  1. I enjoyed contributing a post to your wonderful blog! Nostalgia and memory are fascinating- what we remember and look back at fondly can be so fluid. There are times I have reread a book or rewatched a movie from my youth and it ruined it for me. Sometimes it is best keeping childhood associations pure, and not muddying up the nostalgia factor by looking at it from an adult’s view.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. I have lost more happiness than I can count by going backwards sometimes. But it is worth it because when you find the gems that have aged well or can be scene in a new way you gain a happiness that allows you to feel like a kid again. It’s priceless. And sometimes you don’t care if it wasn’t as good now, you still love it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent selection Nancy. Was good to see the fashion plates again because I remember now my younger female cousins having these and me helping them out to make designs. They also had Cabbage Patch dolls and my aunt and uncle went to some lengths to get them these ugly things one Christmas lol. Good you added books, why not? I had Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and the Famous Five which were devoured regularly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Luke needed a partner and his sister Leia paired off with Han…this way I could indulge my rather innocent crush on Luke. God knows there weren’t any other female Star Wars figurines at the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. SPIROGRAPH! Yes, I remember! I had that and loved it! I think I even had different versions of it. I was born in the late 80’s but was given lots of toys from my older cousins.. I had the Rainbow Bright as well, although I never watched the cartoon. I also got a colourful horse or unicorn together with her. Loved it! They were some of the first toys I had.

    I had a few of the little ponies but wasn’t really into them.

    Love your post! Now I remember all the pretty toys I had hahaha. I remember I was really into Polly Pocket^^

    Liked by 2 people

  4. While we lived in a suburban neighborhood, we did have a little section of woods behind our house and a small stream trickling down the way too. My brother and I would go play out there for hours, on our own. There WAS a freedom in the 80’s that’s unthinkable now. I remember my brother and I pretending to be Ninja Turtles in this big storm drain that opened up at the end of our road and crawling around through the pipes and tunnels to look up through the grates at the street we lived on. Mom and Dad weren’t the most pleased when they found out about this game years later :). Still, we survived! But you’re right – those days are long gone, sadly.

    Also, (and this rant always makes me feel old) having to WAIT for TV was so much better! I liked that Saturday mornings were exciting because of cartoons or Friday was exciting because of TGIF or Thursday was great because of ‘Seinfeld.’ I think it made TV watching far more communal as opposed to having to say, “Hey, are you watching this?! What episode are you on?! Oh, I’m only [fill in the blank]. No spoilers!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Every generation thinks theirs is the best! I was in my 20’s the first time I started to complain that things for kids then were easier than when I was a child. Back in my day….

      Liked by 2 people

      • I remember watching New Year’s Rockin’ Eve back in January (because I am CLEARLY a partier who does New Years Eve RIGHT) and realizing, for the first time in my life, I didn’t know the majority of the performers…and I was totally cool with that reality :). Kids these days, you know?

        Liked by 2 people

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