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June 19, 2010 2:35 PM   Subscribe

I want to give my boyfriend a throwback to his childhood for his birthday. Any cool toys you can think of that would make it the perfect day?

I'm already getting him these foam rockets and a huge pack of fun dip. Does anyone have any other ideas for cheap, fun toys (or candy) I can get him?

posted by pyrom to Shopping (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
how old's your boyfriend? where did he grow up?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:36 PM on June 19, 2010

How old is he now? When was he born? (same question, really.)

This will help us choose what kind of toy he might remember fondly.
posted by Netzapper at 2:37 PM on June 19, 2010

Response by poster: Ahh! That might be a crucial detal :). He's from Wisconsin, and is turning 20.
posted by pyrom at 2:40 PM on June 19, 2010

posted by punchtothehead at 2:43 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

A tandem big wheel and a picnic of lunchables and juice boxes.
posted by boo_radley at 2:46 PM on June 19, 2010

Slip N' Slide!
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:47 PM on June 19, 2010

Lego? For example, a Lego star wars toy.
posted by rpn at 2:47 PM on June 19, 2010

Or, make him a treasure hunt map with small "memory lane"toys at each clue, and a more sophisticated present at the end (dinner, an xbox, baseball game, etc.)
posted by boo_radley at 2:49 PM on June 19, 2010

I don't know a thing about Wisconsin, but I'm 20 and a bit, so:

Pokemon (cards, toys, etc)
Those mini skateboards you play with your fingers (Tech Decks? Is that what they were called?)
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:49 PM on June 19, 2010

Oh! Beanie Babies!!!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 2:50 PM on June 19, 2010

I'm a bit older than him, but...
Fruit Rollups, CapriSun, Tomagotchi, Super Soakers
posted by knile at 3:18 PM on June 19, 2010

Silly putty (make sure to also get a newspaper to use it on!)
Koosh ball
Zube tube
Wind-up cars
Yo-yo (if he knows how to use it)
Paddle ball
Icky poo

Blow pops
Pixy stix
Cadbury creme eggs

(I'm 29 and grew up in Wisconsin, if it matters.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:30 PM on June 19, 2010

Hulk Hands! Okay, maybe they aren't a throwback to childhood, but MAN they are cool.
posted by emkelley at 3:37 PM on June 19, 2010

RC car
those little remote control helicopters
the caps you put in toy guns, but instead you smash them with rocks
posted by maloon at 3:42 PM on June 19, 2010

Holy shit, yes! Dunkaroos! And you can get them from Amazon! What an awesome idea, i_am_a_fiesta!
posted by Osrinith at 3:47 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

balsa wood airplane
parachute guys
army men
pop rocks
gob stoppers
posted by maloon at 3:48 PM on June 19, 2010

Pokemon, Mario, Kirby or other Nintendo memorabilia, something related to his favorite Nickelodeon show, light up sneakers, legos.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 3:48 PM on June 19, 2010

pop rocks

This. I mean ... these.
posted by Jaltcoh at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2010

Cartoons from the late 90's playing constantly on TV.
posted by mreleganza at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2010

I have girls and we're from TX, but they are 20...

Anything from Power Ranger, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
You know Toy Story 3 just came out this weekend - you could have a marathon 1,2,3 night.

And everything else already mentioned.
posted by CathyG at 4:20 PM on June 19, 2010

Isn't 20 a bit soon for a throwback?

Anyhow, how about a Nintendo 64 and a few good games? Same goes for a Dreamcast or something.
posted by codswallop at 4:25 PM on June 19, 2010

The N64, at least, can be picked up for 20 bucks at a thrift store.
posted by codswallop at 4:26 PM on June 19, 2010

Christ, at 16 I started to feel ultra-short-term nostalgia. You're never too young to feel old.

I would recommend kiddie food - Push Pops, Pop Tarts, other things with 'pop' in the title.
posted by mippy at 4:41 PM on June 19, 2010

Maybe this is too OT, but is there a party attached to this birthday as well? I've had several bowling birthdays since adulthood, a laser tag party, and would have a pool party if my parents had planned me as a summer baby instead of January. You could go to an authentic Chuck E Choose or arcarde, or go grown-up for something like Dave 'n' Busters. I recently attended a digital photo scavenger hunt, which reminded me that I hadn't been on one since I was a little kid. Tie the goals into his childhood, like "a car from the year 1990", "somebody from boyfriend's home town", "someone who shares his birthday (must have ID").

What TV shows did he like as a kid? There must be DVDs, action figures, and video games related. Maybe a new lunch box? (It turns out that adults can use them for many things, not just lunch.)
posted by knile at 4:48 PM on June 19, 2010

He's basically my sister's age.

He was 10, 10 years ago, in 2000. Ten is about the age at which I started to have toys that I still feel nostalgia for. But, ten years ago... that's maybe not long enough for a good head of nostalgia to develop.

I mean, PlayStation and N64 were the game systems of his early childhood. The XBox and GameCube were released when he was 11. Halo? Maybe Super Smash Brothers? These titles aren't yet retro, they're just previous generations of franchises that have advanced considerably and have upcoming releases.

My vote would be for a GameBoy. I'd go for one of the later-model GameBoy Color versions. Then, maybe a gift certificate to your locally owned used game shop (these usually have better prices than, say, GameStop). You can get a lot of good (common) GameBoy games for $40.

I like the Pokemon suggestion. My little brother and sister were deep into that shit. Get the GameBoy version, and maybe some cards. Although, honestly, getting enough cards to play the game, at this point, would be a pain in the ass. You'll also be doing a lot of tracking shit down, since it's not going to be nostalgic if it isn't old, early edition stuff that he recognizes.

Don't insult the man with pogs. Those were for geezers before he was old enough to care.
posted by Netzapper at 4:56 PM on June 19, 2010

Ring Pops, Sock'em Boppers, Lunchables, Ninja Turtles pajamas, Power Rangers action figures
posted by cheerwine at 4:56 PM on June 19, 2010

Flying kites is fun at any age. There's something exhilarating about putting something in the air and keeping it there. Kites aren't expensive and can be found everywhere.

You can even make your own if you really want to stick to a budget.

They also make great wall decorations when they aren't in use.
posted by Alison at 4:57 PM on June 19, 2010

Do you know what video games he liked to play? Can you get a clip of the music? There is something primal about suddenly hearing the music to a game you haven't played in 10 yrs. It really brings you back in time. And I'm no gamer.

Also: people HALF MY AGE are doing retro? Oh hell.
posted by selfmedicating at 5:42 PM on June 19, 2010

action figures: Transformers. Dragon Ball Z. Jurassic Park.

And not a toy, but maybe watch movies he remembers: Toy Story, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Muppet Treasure Island, etc.

Also, Toy Story 3 just came out, so if he watched the original two growing up, going to see it might be a fun addition to your gift.
posted by bluestocking at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2010

Magic cards? Too young?

posted by radioamy at 9:09 PM on June 19, 2010

See if you can find some episodes of shows like Kenan and Kel or Boy Meets World to watch, or play in the background.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:56 PM on June 19, 2010

How long have you been together? Have you met his mom or any siblings? If so, ask them. If not (and if it's appropriate in this stage of your relationship), this might be a great chance to introduce yourself to someone in his family and make a good impression.

Also, her input would be wayyy more specific than anything we could come up with.
posted by hermitosis at 12:13 AM on June 20, 2010

Have you met his mom or any siblings? If so, ask them.

Or his dad...

Anyway, what did you end up getting him?
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:54 PM on June 23, 2010

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