The Cabbage Patch Kids are skate punks. Strawberry Shortcake is wearing fitted jeans. And your Monopoly game piece might be a Starbucks cup.
Some favorite toys from the 1980s have gotten 21st century updates as children who grew up playing with the iconic toys are having babies of their own. Boomer-era grandparents can also get nostalgic, with LEGOs designed for imaginary trips to Mars and an Etch A Sketch for the mobile phone.
The desire to share favorite playthings with a new generation may be driving a trend of classic toys resurging on the market, but “nostalgia will only get you so far,” said toy analyst Chris Byrne. “The brands have to keep revitalizing and revamping to be relevant to today’s kids.”
Here’s a look at some oldies-but-goodies that have been updated for the children of 2007:
Barbie, Mattel Inc.
1959: Named after inventor Ruth Handler’s daughter Barbara, Barbie was introduced to the nation as a teenage fashion model sporting a ponytail, black-and-white bathing suit and full line of fashion accessories.
2007: Barbie has exhausted more than 100 careers, from princess to astronaut, and is now available in the Barbie Girls line as more than just a doll. The Barbie Girl is also an MP3 player and a “key” to unlock exclusive online play features.
Cabbage Patch Kids, 4Kids Entertainment
1983: The ideal tag-along buddies, each doll was unique and came with its own birth certificate and backstory.
2007: The one-of-a kind dolls are hipper and have moved ahead in their interests. “A doll today might carry a skateboard, as opposed to skates,” said Al Khan, CEO of 4Kids Entertainment. Also available are Lil’ Sprouts, 4-inch dolls that come with playsets allowing them to attend parties or ride ponies, for example.
Care Bears, American Greetings
1981: A lovable troupe of rainbow-colored bears whose decorative bellies radiated the power of sharing and caring.
2007: The core values remain the same, but the gang has a few new members. The bears received a makeover after their relaunch in 2002, and their differentiation is moving beyond the belly badge. Increased distinctive features include bears of varying heights and accessories: Sunshine Bear has a cap and Share Bear has a purse, for example.
Etch A Sketch, Ohio Art Co.
1960: The simple screen with two knobs allowed budding artists take a gray line in the direction of their choosing. Invented by a French factory worker, it’s going strong 150 million pieces later.
2007: Color versions, a “plug-and-play” screen with a hand-held controller and screens in heart-shaped containers are a few of the newer incarnations of Etch A Sketch, which will also be coming out with in a mobile version for cell phones.