Five of the best toys of the 50s

The 1950s saw a huge increase in the number of toys available for both boys and girls. After the end of World War II, supply and demand increased, and a much bigger variety became available. Here is our top pick of the best toys from the 1950s.

Hula Hoop

This toy has been around for centuries, but it has become a sought-after toy in recent decades. The ‘modern’ hula hoop was invented in America the late 1950s and was hugely popular with both children and adults. 

The re-invention triggered a worldwide craze and saw 25 million plastic hula hoops being sold in under four months! Although things calmed down by the 1980s, the hula hooping trend has recently had another revival – is it time to dig your vintage one out of the attic and enjoy this particular toy from your childhood?

Army Men

These plastic, green men may have regained fame with your grandchildren after the popularity of Toy Story, but the little soldiers have been around for far longer. Initially made of metal, they shifted to plastic in the 1950s and remained a hugely popular toy choice for children.

Although Cowboys & Indians was a popular game to play around this time, there was still a fondness for the modern war figures. These cheap toys were practically disposable, so their popularity remained strong among children of most ages. In the years following the Second World War, they were seen as a failsafe toy for many families.


This was another popular option in the 1950s and maintained its place as a fashionable toy for decades afterwards. 1951 saw the View-Master parent company, Sawyers, gain the licencing rights for Walt Disney Studios. Naturally, this was a popular element for children who were fascinated with the Disney company and the magic of it. 

Reels were released of Disneyland, as well as of the popular Disney characters that had become household names of their own. The reels featured everything from scenic imagery, to television shows and with around 1.5 billion copies of reels made, the View-Master certainly had an impact over the decades. While the design changed over the years, the basic structure remained the same, meaning every reel would work in every model!


This iconic board game made its name in the 1950s and it’s thought that around half of all British homes now has a Scrabble set. The game, originally called Criss-Crosswords, started out with slightly different rules and has since had four rule edits. 

Legend has it that the president of Macy’s played the game on holiday and, upon his returen, was shocked to find his store did not stock it. He placed a huge order and the rest is, as they say, history. Scrabble has now sold around 150 million sets worldwide and continues to be a popular choice with families everywhere.


Although this game has been around for well over a century, the 1950s was when it peaked. The university students at the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge wanted to devise a sport that they could play to represent the university and thus the modern Tiddlywinks game was born.

It may be a seemingly simple game involving the flicking of disks into a pot, but Tiddlywinks garnered a huge reputation throughout the 1950s, with Prince Philip becoming involved, having been challenged to defend his honour by the Cambridge University Tiddlywinks Club. 

These are just a few of our favourite toys of the 1950s, but what are yours? Have you got a particular favourite that you think we should include? Let us know over on Twitter @ChurchillRL or on our Facebook page