On the rare occasion I watch television commercials these days, one of my favorite ad campaigns are the commercials for Fisher-Price toys featuring John Goodman, “Let’s Be Kids.”
It gives me the happy cries every time I see it. I have so many great memories of playing with Fisher-Price toys as a kid. Some I owned while others I played with at school or at a friend’s house. Here are my ten favorites:
1. Happy Apple
Happy Apple was at my Grandma and Grandpa Flieger’s house. It was a red apple with a happy face painted on it and there was a bell or something inside that made it ring. I remember the surface being very smooth and glossy, so it must have been plastic.
I played with it every Sunday when we went over to my grandparents’ house for dinner.
2. The Corn Popper
We had one of these. I think ours may have had a blue plastic handle and I liked to play with it as a vacuum cleaner. I loved hearing the balls inside the plastic case make the popping sound.
3. Three Men in a Tub
If you remember the nursery rhyme, you know what kinds of characters you’ll find in here: the Butcher, the Baker, and the Candlestick Maker. This was a bathtub toy, so it ended up getting moldy and eventually had to be discarded, but it was a lot of fun to play with while it was new and fresh.
We had the yellow one that played “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”. It was an instrumental version and it was very tinny, but I couldn’t sleep without hearing it at least once before bed.
5. Medical Kit
Even though I work in healthcare (on the clerical side), I’m rather squeamish, but this was a fun set. The foam in the stethoscope made kind of a weird microphone effect so we would talk into it with the earpieces in our ears. I remember the little yellow hammer getting taken away at times for over enthusiastic smacks to people’s knees to test their reflexes.
6. School Bus
This was a pull along toy. There was a bus driver with students and also a black and white dog. We thought absolutely nothing of the fact that a dog was riding a school bus with children.
7. See and Say (The Farmer Says)
These are still made, but they’re different now because the child presses down on a lever to find out the cow says “Moo”. Back then, we pulled a string to make the arrow go around but at some point in the late 1980’s or 1990’s, there were concerns about children potentially choking themselves with the string, so Fisher-Price changed it to the lever on the current model.
8. Cash Register
If you were going to play store, there were some critical items. First, you needed a cart to put your play (or imaginary food) in and maybe even for a doll to ride. Next, you needed a cash register and for a lot of kids, that cash register was the Fisher-Price version.
You also needed someone else to play the shopkeeper. It was difficult to be both the shopper and the person ringing up the merchandise, so if you were an only or oldest, your best bet for finding this gem was someone with at least one sibling over the age of two.
The same Christmas I received Cherry Cuddler, my brother received the Fisher-Price Airplane. It came with a pilot, some passengers, and little plastic luggage. We went to the airport fairly often in those days because our dad traveled often for work and we loved watching out the window while the planes took off.
This was a fairly simple toy with a base and a bunch of brightly colored rings of different sizes that just happened to be shaped like donuts. We could learn colors, size, and soothe our aching little gums all at the same time.
The amazing thing about these toys are the memories of the people who were around to play with us. Sometimes we played with siblings, other times we were with older or younger cousins or neighbors. Every now and then, the adults would play with us too.