Fifty Years of the Worst Toys Ever Made…

Worst Toys from the 1950s to Today

Every parent (and child) learns not every toy is a winner. Plenty are boring, pointless, terrifying or just downright dangerous. To memorialize the long post-Christmas lines in every customer service section, here’s a list of the 10 worst toys since the 50s.

The Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab

Only available from 1950 to 1951, this proto-DIY kit had everything a budding nuclear engineer could want…including radioactive uranium ore. Let me say that again. It included radioactive uranium ore. To be fair, we didn’t possess a whole lot of knowledge on the long-term dangers of radiation…but that’s not what killed this toy anyway. The $50.00 price tag did (roughly $500 today).

Lawn Darts (Or Jarts)

Like many of you, I played with these as a kid and loved them. When my parents took them away, I huffed and puffed because they were a blast! Then, a few years ago, I did five minutes of research. From 1980 to 1988, long after US consumer laws forced warning labels on the toys, over 6,000 people were sent to emergency rooms for injuries caused by lawn darts. Half of those were kids under 10. Too hefty a price for fun.

Powermite Mini Tools from Ideal

As a woodworker, I believe I am qualified in making the following official statement concerning 1969’s line of Powermite Mini Tools: Holy [censored], that’s stupid-dangerous. These working tools plugged directly into their cases, which held two D batteries. Technically, these tools were designed only to cut through thin sheets of balsa wood, but it doesn’t take much force to saw off the end of a finger either. There are no benefits in full-scale woodworking these tiny terrible tools could impart that would make them worth the risk.

Kenner’s Daddy Saddle

It hurts my lumbar region to just look at this 1965 monstrosity. I have two toddlers myself, and I know this would be an instant hit: hours of fun for them, hours of horrendous torture for me. I’d be buying Icy Hot by the case. Like a toy drum kit, this is one of those toys you get and regret ten minutes later. The Daddy Saddle toy is still manufactured and somewhat popular today…However, to honor all parents out there, I will not provide a link.

Inflatable Titanic Backyard Slide

In April of 1912, the RMS Titanic sank in the frigid waters of the Atlantic, claiming the lives of 1500 men, women and children. What better way to honor their memory than relive the travesty with a backyard slide at your next birthday party? Need I explain why this is an offensive tumor of a toy? It would be the equivalent of attending a BBQ fifty years from now and seeing an inflatable, collapsing Twin Towers slide (Man, just TYPING that sentence gave me shivers!).

2018’s Play-Doh’s Poop Troop

Inspired by your phone’s emojis and guaranteed to confuse any toddler, Play-Doh’s Poop Troop is a new toy for 2018 and has been selling surprisingly well. Personally, I think 85% of those purchases are ironic, to make for a more interesting Christmas morning. This kit includes 12 cans of Play-Doh (10 full-sized and 2 small cans), which actually makes it a good deal…if I didn’t want to ruin the last two years of potty training for my kids. Uh, pass.

You & Me’s Tub & Toot Baby Doll

In 2014, the Tub & Toot doll hit the toy market and…didn’t sell all that well for two reasons. First, other than making its small bathtub into a stinky jacuzzi, it didn’t do much else. The second reason, I imagine, is the danger posed by encouraging kids to “toot” in the tub. Nine out of ten times it’s 80% cute and 20% gross…but one out of ten times the child miscalculates, you get to relive the Baby Ruth scene from Caddyshack. That’s a dangerous game, my friend.

The E.T Finger Light

It came out in 1982. You should know this unfortunately-designed toy is so legendary among toy collectors that it sells for hundreds on eBay today. And that’s all I’m saying about it. Next…

Sherwood Forest Toy from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was a dark and violent movie; it’s surprising that Kenner even considered a kids’ toy line. That is not why this line gained notoriety. Consumers noticed the similarities between this Sherwood Forest play set and the Ewok Village play set from years earlier. They were virtually identical. Eventually, researchers discovered that, in an effort to save money, Kenner simply reused the Ewok Village design and repackaged it. Not cool.

“Musical Jolly Chimp”

In Toy Story 3, its red-rimmed eyes stared endlessly at television monitors, never blinking and never sleeping. In Stephen King’s 1980 short story “The Monkey” its clattering cymbals murdered. With its bulging eyes and bared teeth, this chimp will always be the worst toy ever made, for ever and ever. Beneath its fur lies the—Wait. I…I don’t want to talk about it. Not again.