Britain’s lofts are filled with more than one billion treasured toys – including Barbie, LEGO and Hot Wheels.
A study of 2,000 adults revealed they each have an average of 20 toys and playthings stashed away, with 65 per cent planning to pass them down to their children or grandchildren.
Other popular items stored away also include Fisher Price telephones, Slinkys and Rubik’s Cubes. While favourites from the 1990s, like Gameboys and Etch-a-Sketch, can still be found in many homes.
It also found 57 per cent of those who have kept their treasured toys since they were a child have done so because they hold special memories for them.
And 59 per cent of these believe their children or grandchildren will get the same levels of enjoyment from them that they had in their youth.
The right foundation
The research was commissioned by Busy Bees to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its first nursery in 1983 and explore how toys and the way children play with them have changed throughout this period.
Marg Randles, co-founder of the early years childcare provider, said: “It is heart-warming to learn so many people have saved their precious childhood toys in order to pass them down through the generations.
“It really is a reminder that while toys may have changed over the years, the pleasure they provide and the important role they play in a child’s development remains the same.
“Over the last 40 years, there have been huge changes in toys and the patterns of play – from the characters and materials used, to the introduction of technology.”
The study also found 74 per cent of those who kept their collection feel it is precious to them, while 79 per cent said dusting them off from time to time makes them feel nostalgic.
And 13 per cent have even managed to preserve them in mint condition, with 43 per cent keeping them in a good state.
More than one in four (28 per cent) think they could be sitting on a goldmine with their playthings, estimating their collection to be worth an average of £300.
Learning through play
However, 47 per cent love their toys so much they have no intention of selling.
Thinking back to their childhoods, 38 per cent preferred the toys they could play with alongside their friends, while 37 per cent were drawn to those which sparked their imagination.
Half believe their traditional toys encouraged them to be more active, while 45 per cent felt like they stimulated cognitive development.
But two-thirds don’t think they make toys like they used to, and 59 per cent wish the ones they cherished were still being produced today.
It also emerged that, of the parents and grandparents polled, via OnePoll, they believe their little ones still get the most joy from the toys which they can use with their friends.
And 94 per cent think toys are an important part of their children’s and grandchildren’s upbringing.
Marg Randles added:
“No matter how drastically toys may have changed in the past 40 years, it’s the values of play that remain the same and that’s why so many parents and grandparents want to pass on the beloved toys from their childhood to share in their joy with future generations.”
Top 40 toys Brits have stashed away
- Hot Wheels
- G.I. Joe
- Suzy Homemaker
- Fisher Price telephone
- Rubik’s Cube
- Nerf Ball
- Fisher Price record player
- Sylvanian Family
- My Little Pony
- Etch A Sketch
- Fisher Price Little People
- Game Boy
- He-Man action figure
- Beanie Babies
- Troll Doll
- Mr. Potato Head
- Barbie’s Dream House
- Care Bear
- Tonka Truck
- Star Wars action figures
- Chatter Telephone
- Polly Pocket
- Cabbage Patch Kids
- Chatty Cathy
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures
- Easy-Bake Oven
- Flatsy Doll
- Teddy Ruxpin
- Speak & Spell
- See ‘n Say
- Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine