Time of our lives: What were the toys you just could not Lego?

If you were lucky enough to get toys and games for Christmas, you'll probably remember the ones that became firm favourites '“ played with time and again until you finally outgrew them.
Woolworths in King Street, South Shields, pictured in 1968.Woolworths in King Street, South Shields, pictured in 1968.
Woolworths in King Street, South Shields, pictured in 1968.

Today’s big picture was taken outside the Woolworths store in King Street, South Shields, in 1968, a shop where many of our festive presents would have been bought.

And the 60s marked the appearance of a whole host of best-selling toys, many of which are still on the shelves today.

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Christmas lights adorning the towns King Street in 1983.Christmas lights adorning the towns King Street in 1983.
Christmas lights adorning the towns King Street in 1983.

The beginning of the decade saw Lego debut at the Brighton Toy Fair while Space Hoppers went on sale for the first time.

A year later, it was Scalextric that was topping many a youngster’s Christmas list, though Ken, a partner for Barbie, was another “must have” toy.

Mind you, Barbie didn’t have it all her way, for 1963 saw the arrival in the UK of “the doll you love to dress”, namely Sindy.

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Were you a Barbie or Sindy girl?

Dolls of a different kind had little ones and pop memorabilia collectors in a twist 12 months later, with the introduction of the Beatles Fab Four dolls. Did you have one?

Or what about the James Bond Aston Martin car which became the first ever Toy of the Year in 1965? There was a silver and a gold version, perhaps you’ve still got yours?

That same year saw the appearance of two other iconic toys, Spirograph and the Tonka Mighty Dump truck.

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World Cup year, 1966, saw something of a retail revolution, with the first doll for boys being released in the UK – Action Man.

For some reason, when given the choice, I plumped for his rival, Tommy Gun (although he soon got blown away by Action Man).

Another doll to make her debut that year was Tiny Tears, while a board game that is still tieing people in knots also went on sale for the first time, it was Twister.

A game for all the family, it (like so many other toys from the 60) have endured, despite the passing years.

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Others that are still being bought today include Mousetrap, launched in 1962, Etch-a-Sketch and KerPlunk, launched in 1967, and Hot Wheels cars and track system, from two years later.

There have been loads more memorable toys, some simple, some complicated, with the best being the ones that make you smile when you think about the happy times you had playing with them.

If times were good, and boys and girls were equally so, you might get one “big” present, say a bike or a Subbuteo or a train set or a dolls house, along with a few smaller toys and games.

Alongside these, there would a selection box or a chocolate Santa. For the traditionalists, Christmas morning would also see the presence of a stocking (one of dad’s old socks) stuffed with a selection of nuts, chocolate money and an apple and orange to eat after the turkey and stuffing.

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But it was the toys that really made the memories. What were your favourites?