Retro gifts for children

Retro gift ideas

It’s time go down memory lane with a retro gift guide. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Melanie from Dejlige Days. I met Melanie at a Craftenhagen event and have been following her blog, where she shares what delights her about Danish life and living in Copenhagen. Melanie has a knack for finding the most unusual and interesting things and sure enough, she has a fun, retro themed children’s gift guide for us today.  


I was delighted to be asked to put together a gift guide by Sarita. As I am British, my first thought was an English themed gift guide.  I started thinking about gifts or celebrations that would be unique to the UK, but as I did so, my mind wandered to my favourite gifts and toys as a child. So that is what this guide is all about. I had great fun reminiscing with my mum about my old toys and showing my son pictures online.

As a child in the early 80s, my favourite presents now seem very retro. Yet many still exist in modern versions, while you can get hold of others  (if you are lucky) via eBay or Etsy.

Retro gift #1Betsey Clark

Retro gift guide for children

So first of all, my favourite doll. I had no interest in dolls until this strange doll with painted on hair was given to me by a great aunt. Thereafter Betsey Clark or simply Betsey to me, went everywhere with me at the weekends. My mum knitted her beautiful clothes and I was devoted to her, despite the jokes about her appearance. She is perhaps the antithesis of all those beautiful dolls out there and I still have her. I later found out that she is somewhat famous in America and still sometimes available on eBay.

Retro gift #2: Fashion Plates and Fashion Wheel

Retro gift guide for children

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Sticking with the girly theme was Fashion Plates and also Fashion Wheel. I wonder if anyone else has such fond memories of becoming a mini fashion designer using these amazing toys. You mixed and matched boards featuring different elements of outfits, rubbed over them with a special crayon to create pictures to colour in. I am delighted that the next generation of budding fashionistas can enjoy the modern version of this. You can find it the modern Fashion Wheel here

Retro gift #3: Spirograph

Retro gift guide for children

Continuing on the artistic theme is the Spirograph, another toy available even today in many more versions. I am not sure who enjoyed this more – my mum or me. I got this one Christmas from Father Christmas at a children’s party and I wondered why my gift was so great compared to everyone else’s — I expect my mum knows the answer. You can find the Spirograph here.

 Retro gift #4: Little Professor

Retro gift ideas

Maths was my bête noire when I was under ten but, the Little Professor certainly helped me to get better at arithmetic. I loved ‘playing’ this game and attempting to get a big 10 out of 10 on the screen. You can buy it here.

Retro gift #5: Board Games

Every Christmas it was a tradition that I would get a new board game which would be played with for the whole year and beyond. Favourites included Cludeo, Game of Dracula and Kerplunk. You can find the modern versions of these games here and here.

Retro gift ideas

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Finally, to show that the things you loved as a child later become what you enjoy being and doing as an adult (and perhaps showing the geekiness starts at an early age) here are my best ever presents as a child – a portable typewriter to write my newsletters about saving the planet (age 8), a Polaroid camera to capture exciting moments (age 9), a globe to explore the world (probably around age 7). 

Retro gift ideas

Image via

Retro gift ideas

Image via

 You can see more of what I loved as a child on my Pinterest board, Nostalgic Love.

Thanks Melanie for this wonderful retro gift guide! Won’t it be fun to gift your children these cool retro gifts? It’s like taking a trip back to your childhood. I’d love to hear what your personal favourites are — what retro gift would you like to get your children, nieces or nephews? 






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