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The Changes to Kids Electronic Toys over the last 50 years

The advancements in toys throughout the decades have continued to amaze kids and adults alike. One of the best types of toys are the electronic ones. These not only entertain kids for hours on end, but they can also be quite entertaining for many grown-ups as well. In addition to the fun and excitement you can have with hula hoops, Barbie dolls and other traditional toys, you can enjoy electronic alternatives like video games, remote-controlled cars and many others.

Lionel Train Company

One of the first electric toys was created by Joshua Lionel Cowen. If the name sounds familiar, you might recognize the Lionel Train Company. His first electric train was not created as a toy at first, but its popularity made consumers want to own it for themselves. Originally, the electric train was created in 1901 as an eye-catching display for the window in a prominent New York retail store. When he first created it, it was called the Electric Express and it ran on batteries. It was also during a time when the general public was still astounded by the railroad industry. Now, over a century later, over 50 million Lionel Train sets have been sold worldwide and it still continues to be one of the most popular products among hobbyists and kids today.


In the early 1970s, Nolan Bushnell created a product that would change the leisure time of teens and young adults for decades. He created the first home video games that people could play on their personal television set. Nolan Bushnell created the game Pong which was based on his previous versions of video table tennis that he marketed to arcades a few years earlier. In 1974, the Atari game system achieved great popularity as being the system that carried Pong. The game, which involved two opposing paddles trying to hit a ball, was highly addictive for video gamers. It was also the precursor to many more games to come.

Magnavox Odyssey / Atari gaming system

Before Atari, the Magnavox Odyssey provided gaming solutions that predated video games that could be played on a television. The Odyssey video gaming system was created by Ralph Baer in 1966 and consisted of a gaming unit with pre-made screens. People who wanted to play the Odyssey system had to place the screen overtop the television screen because this created the gaming visuals. Hand controls were used to move the figures in the game. Eventually, though, the Magnavox Odyssey was greatly overshadowed by the Atari gaming system and production soon ceased.

Eectronic stuffed animals

During the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, electronic toys made their way into dolls and stuffed animals. Teddy Ruxpin was one of the more popular electronic dolls throughout this era. This was a cute teddy bear-like doll that was approximately one foot tall and furry. The novelty of Teddy Ruxpin was that there was a cassette tape inserted into its back and the lips would move as the cassette tape was played. It appeared as if he was speaking. Other advancements were made in other dolls. The My Buddy doll was innovative because it spoke and the legs also moved to make it appear as if it was walking. In recent years, more advancements have been made to make dolls appear much more lifelike. .

Remote-controlled cars

Remote-controlled cars are another great innovation in the electronic toy industry. Though cars one of the first vehicles that could be controlled by remote, the toy companies eventually created boats and airplanes that could be controlled with a remote. Throughout the 1960s, these toys continued to be improved upon by electronics companies all over the world. As they become more technologically advanced, they also began to sell more units. The remote control technology uses transmitters and receivers to control the movements of the vehicles. Currently, you can find remote-controlled vehicles as complicated or as simple as you would like. You can also find more expensive models that are designed for competition and racing. These toys are also popular among hobbyists and adults who can afford to spend a few extra dollars on the more expensive models for fun and excitement.

The Pace of Change

The advancements in children’s toys continues even today. Just when you think they cannot think of something else, the toy companies think of entirely new ideas or improve upon existing ideas that amaze kids and adults. Fortunately, they will continue to create new products that will appeal to parents just as much as they appeal to their kids.