Skip to main content

Are Toys All You Need to Make a Childhood Awesome?

"If you remember this, then your childhood was awesome." How toys shouldn't be what we focus on when we talk about our childhoods.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Amy Guest Blogging Mama

Our guest post today is from Amy Ramsay. Amy is a mother and military spouse in Georgia. She is active in her community and tries to remember that it's okay to be imperfect.

I enjoy a good internet meme as much as the next person, but there’s one that makes me glower at the screen every time it hits my feed. I’m sure you’ve seen it – a picture of an old cartoon, vintage toy, or discontinued junk food with the caption, “If you remember this then your childhood was awesome.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand the intent. Hey everybody, look at these colorful images and advertisements that bring back warm fuzzies! The pictures can spur happy reminiscing. Yay. It's the caption that bothers me. Words mean things, and these words imply a whole lot of garbage wrapped up in the nostalgia.

One of the many faulty messages behind this statement is, “Stuff makes people happy.” Parents, remember how much you wanted Dunkaroos when you were kids? How you begged for them when your parents took you to the grocery store? Remember how disappointed you were when they said, “No”? Well, if you want happy children then buy them every piece of junk their whimsy calls for. These are the memories they’ll look back on with fondness.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Further, the caption implies, if you don’t remember this then your childhood wasn’t awesome. I think we’ve all been those kids who felt left out at least once because it seemed like everyone had that awesome thing except us. Maybe it was a Tamagachi or Pogs. For me it was the Skip-it. But when I look back on my childhood I don’t think, “If only I had it then life would have been complete.” It’s irritating that the meme-maker assumes something so trivial could make or break a childhood.

skip it toys

The reality is that TV, toys, and junk food are all fun in moderation, but they’re not even the icing on the cake of young life. They’re, I don’t know, … maybe a couple of sprinkles on top? Childhood can and should be an enchanting and fulfilling experience without those superficial extras.

What actually makes a childhood awesome is the exhaustive work of devoted parents and guardians. - Those who do everything in their power to give their children consistent love, security, and encouragement with reasonable boundaries and consequences. Children thrive in an environment where their basic needs are met, and where they feel safe and loved. Being exposed to Earthworm Jim or Gak has nothing to do with it. This ill-conceived meme diminishes the magnitude of the loving service parents and guardians tirelessly perform.

The worst part, however, can take a very personal tone. I get extremely offended someone out there is asserting I had an awesome childhood because I remember Wonderball, or Tom and Jerry. Whoever made this stupid meme has no idea the type of childhood I had. What if I had been abused and neglected? What if I couldn’t remember a single time in my childhood where I actually felt safe, because I could never tell which version of my parents would be coming home? The message being sent to those who come from dysfunctional families is that because you remember Johnny Bravo, or Slap bracelets, all your pain from the past is void.

Words. Mean. Things.


mess in child's room

Toys Could Be One of Your Best Parenting Decisions

Understanding the effects that toys have on your child’s development is extremely beneficial since you’ll be able to understand how your child, as an individual, understands the world around them as well as the best kind of toys that will benefit them the most.

Holiday Gift List on Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug

2013 Holiday Gift List: Toys, Toys, Toys!

Toys. Your house is about to be filled with more of them. We've rounded up a few ideas that you might like just as much as them. Choose wisely!


Childhood, No Return

His mom set up an account for him with strict parental controls, but Noah somehow forgot the password. He made a new account instead. No parental controls. He’s been meaning to tell his mom.


Where Have All the Children Gone?

Well, they're contained in structured, adult-led, indoor activities.


Why Free Play is Disappearing in our Culture

Despite these benefits, natural, free play—the kind most of us had as kids—is rapidly disappearing

love your children

6 Things Every Mom Needs to Remember

My oldest child is heading to college this fall. That translates in mom talk to, “Friends beware. Spontaneous ugly cries may occur.” It also means I’ve gotten a little bit (okay… a lot bit) sentimental.

Sunni Clutching Baby Toy

My Top Baby Toys of All Time

Take it from experienced babies, these are the true toy classics that every baby loves.


When Toys Turn Deadly

I know this is a freak accident, but I can't help it, what is WITH giving even toy GUNS to children?