Tuesday, July 13, 2010
When you’re one of the big names in kid and infant toys, it’s pretty much up to you to make whatever products you please. A parking garage? A hospital? Sure! Why not? Kids will love it. What kind of kid didn’t grow up wanting to be a parking attendant or graveyard shift night nurse? It’s up to you as the idea people to make these dreams a playtime reality.
Fisher Price is the name behind countless well-known products such as Power Wheels and ViewMaster, but perhaps none as generically memorable as their innumerable well-populated toy sets. Whether through simulating annual medical checkups or churning out make-believe grocery store transactions on our semi-functional cash registers, Fisher Price made the mundane possible. While before we’d have to make do pretending our dollhouses were full service airports, with the endless options from Fisher Price we had the power to make that dream a highly detailed reality.
The company offered endless variations of playsets; to create a comprehensive list of 80s and 90s kits would take pages and pages. To spare you the computer screen eye strain, I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my personal favorites. If you don’t see your favorites, the comment section is yours for the reminiscing. Go nuts.
You’d think the real little people of the world would band together and protest this sad, round mockery of their existence, but apparently the comparison must not bother them much. Little People were introduced in the 30s in wood form and gradually adapted into the obese little roly polys we know today. They may not be the best healthy body type role models for children, but they’re certainly fun to race-roll down a hill.
When I think of settings that would make attractive children’s playsets, hospitals tend not to rank especially high on the list. Stretchers and wheelchairs are fun, sure, but it’s not always the most uplifting play environment. Some versions of the set even came with a dentist chair. Really, what kind of kid doesn’t love the dentist? It’s a failsafe feature.
Ah, provdingapplicable career skills. It’s always good to have a toy that doubles as on-the-job training for a low-paying career path. We may not have all aspired to be doctors and lawyers as children, but darn it, we could make accurate change.
This is truly one of the most puzzling. What was the Fisher Price corporate creative room meeting like for this one? I’d like to imagine their staff was just driving around, writing down everything they passed, and turning them into mass-produced toys. “Parking meter! City park! Fire station! Cash store! The possibilities are endless!”
Why should you have all of your fun at school when you can continue sitting quietly at your simulated school desk at home? Really, the excitement never ends. Whether it’s writing with chalk or arranging word builders, Fisher Price really knew how to strike a budding nerd’s fancy.
We all know how children love to direct air traffic and send the bomb sniffing dogs on suspicious flyers. With the Fisher Price airport, we as kids had our very own opportunity to simulate the tedious day-to-day action of air travel. The taking off and landing part could certainly be exciting, but all of that paging people with red courtesy phones could get a bit boring.
Finally, the Fisher Price toy set for the ambitious child. From the stethoscope to the fake shot injector, the FP Medical Kit captured all of the things we as children hated about the doctor’s office and allowed us to impose these experiences on our unsuspecting friends. Most of them got the picture after the fortieth knee-jerk reflex test with that little plastic gavel, but it didn’t diminish our sense of fun at forcing them to sit still and wait patiently for their blood pressure reading.