Special Report

The Top Toys When Millennials Were Kids

Every holiday season ushers in a new wave of trending toys. From action figures and dolls to the newest gaming system, one of these coveted gifts can make a child’s whole year as soon as the wrapping paper hits the floor. (These are 21 of the most popular gifts of the century.)

While the ability to purchase gifts online may make holiday shopping a breeze these days, parents in the ‘80s and early ‘90s sometimes went to great lengths to get their children a popular toy. Long Black Friday lines, fights over the last box on the shelf, and riotous crowds sometimes accompanied the holiday fever for the hottest items.

To compile a list of 17 of the most popular toys when millennials – those born between 1980 and 1996 – were kids, 24/7 Tempo consulted the archives of companies such as Hasbro; data curated by The Strong National Museum of Play; encyclopedia sources such as Britannica; and media outlets including Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, Time, Good Housekeeping, and Smithsonian. 24/7 Tempo exercised editorial discretion in making the final selection where appropriate. 

Click here to see the top toys when millennials were kids

While many of these toys are still in production or widely available today, some were only produced for a range of years in the ‘80s or ‘90s. Many have gone through multiple production runs and upgrades. A few, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, accompanied a television series release. Others, including the Talk Boy, were based on a character or product from a hit movie. (Here are the best movies you’ll remember if you grew up in the ‘90s.)

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