Toy Evolution

By Kaya Diebes

Throughout the last 50 years the definition of a toy has changed dramatically. More recently, it’s gone from a skateboard to a hoverboard. Exploring the most popular toys from the past five decades begins to show the major jumps between the people’s favorite toys.


Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch, released in 2017, is a very popular hybrid game console that you can carry around with you or set it up at home and play with family and friends. It has all the classic Nintendo games and more. There’s Mario Kart, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, ect.  This high tech game console is at the top of quite a few Christmas lists.


Not far behind the release of the Nintendo Switch was the release of the Hoverboard in 2015. This new and high tech invention is a two-wheeled, electric, portable device, sometimes known as a balancing scooter. This invention quickly became an internet craze with 40,000 boards coming into the U.S. per day by the end of 2015. The hoverboards grew more and more popular as many famous celebrities began to buy and post about these items on social media.

Zhu Zhu Pets


Released in 2009, the Zhu Zhu Pets were a big hit among kids younger or in middle school. The Zhu Zhu Pets were constantly sold out throughout a variety of stores the year they were released. Zhu Zhu Pets are artificial hamsters that have quite a few advantages. The hamsters coo and scoot around unpredically and move throughout whatever obstacle course you’ve set up for them.


Nintendo Wii

The Nintendo Wii, released in 2006, was a top hit, anticipated to sell six million units before its 2007 fiscal year. The Wii was one of the originals. The Wii allowed users to enter the game world and experience activities like never before. The Wii is a game console that allows you to play Mario Kart, Wii Sports, Mario Bros, ect. One of the main reasons that the Wii console sold so many units was because of the attractiveness to ages of all kinds.

XBox 360


The XBox 360, released in 2005, was a factor in contributing to the development of the Nintendo Wii seeing as how the Wii uses some XBox software. The XBox 360 had sold ten million units by 2008 and was the leader in current-generation home console sales until June 2008, when it was surpassed by the Wii. Similar to the Wii, the XBox 360 lets the users dive into the gaming world.


Tickle Me Elmo

The Tickle Me Elmo doll, released in July of 1996, was a very popular toy among little kids. The doll was quickly sold out by the time Thanksgiving rolled around. The creator of the doll took his inspiration from little kids laughing and tickling each other in the park. The style of the doll switched many times before landing in the creator’s hands.


Pokémon, released in 1996, are creatures of all shapes and sizes that live in the wild alongside humans. Pokémon debuted in Japan as an electronic game series from Nintendo. Pokémon continues to be popular as a new movie, POKÉMON Detective Pikachu, releasing in 2019.



Transformers were released in the early 1990s and were a big hit. The Transformers were one of the longest running and most popular franchises for both Hasbro and Takara. The Transformers started out with a cartoon tv show in 1984.

Game Boy

Released in 1989, the Game Boy sold 40,000 units on its first day. The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld game console which was developed and manufactured by Nintendo.



The skateboard first showed up in California in the 1950s but became more popular as new designs were released in the 70s. Californians first got the idea of skateboards when they wanted to surf the streets. Skateboards started out as a wooden box or board and roller skate wheels on the bottom.

Mattel Electronic Football

This handheld device, released in September of 1977 was a top hit with an affordable price that allowed its users to play a simulated game of football. In a way, this was the start to the invention of the Game Boy and later, the iPhone apps.

The style of toys has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. From the the Game Boy to the iPhone, the technological advancements are evident throughout your favorite toys. Lark Toys toy store, located in 63604 170th ave, Kellogg, MN 55945, does an excellent job of displaying all toys, old and new. Lark Toys displays an antique collection of toys in display cases and storefronts.