One of my favorite places to take Isabella (and one of her favorites too) is the Strong National Museum of Play. The museum is the second-largest children's museum in the country (the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest) and is a short 5-minute drive from my house.

My mother-in-law gave Isabella a membership for Christmas, so we take full advantage of it, and we've been going at least a few times a month.
The museum has a large Sesame Street exhibit, complete with Elmo's World, with which Isabella is obsessed.
Mr. Noodle = Massively Creepy. I think I've seen him on a child predator watch list.

There are two sandboxes filled with this completely not-found-in-nature silicone-like substance that Isabella is enamored with. If I could fill her own sandbox with the stuff, I would do so in a heartbeat. No dust and no mess.

They even have a grocery store, with real, working cash registers, which is modeled after the biggest and best grocery store in my area, Wegmans.

And they just opened a Berenstein Bears exhibit, which is really cool. Obviously, the little girl's a fan.

The Strong Museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame, where you can stroll among the Barbies, Mr. Potato Heads, and Lincoln Logs of your childhood. It's also where thousands of other play-related objects live now:

In 1964, girls had Six! Exciting! Career! Choices! This game, "What Shall I Be?: The Exciting Game of Career Girls," apparently allows girls to select from ballerina, flight attendant, teacher, supermodel, nurse, or what appears to be Cleopatra.
Thankfully, it is no longer 1964.

Cabbage Patch Kids were one of my favorite childhood playthings. I had three. My mom and grandma both to this day enjoy recounting the tale of their procurement of my first Cabbage Patch Kid. Picture this: Christmastime, 1983. My sister and I coveted the dolls like nobody's business. So did the rest of the free world. Stores couldn't keep them in stock. Parents were dismembering other parents in the aisles just to get their hands on one to take home to their precious peanuts. My grandma and my mom stood outside a local store in a snowstorm for five hours with several hundred other crazed adults anticipating the arrival of a new shipment of the dolls. Mamacita and grandma stampeded through the establishment the second the doors opened and were able to get their mitts on two dolls for me and my sister.
It was a Merry Christmas after all!

This game stole many, many hours of my tween and early teen years. During sleepovers at my best friend Jenny's house, we would spend our time playing Super Mario Brothers on her Nintendo 64, calling boys we liked and hanging up when they answered, and playing Girl Talk, which was basically answer Truth or Dare-like questions and perform stunts. Who says Catholic school girls don't know how to party?

And finally, Mod Hair Ken. I did not own a Mod Hair Ken doll, but in admiring his long and flowing mane of hair and his porn star mustache, I so wish that I had.

What's your favorite toy from your childhood?

12 Responses to “Play”

  1. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Dare I admit that I had EIGHT Cabbage Patch Dolls?? I even adopted a real one from Babyland General Hospital. Yeah - no one was obsessed as I was! My obsession solidified the fact that there was to be no other career for me besides SAHM!

    We may try to make it up to the museum again this summer. If so, we'll have to meet up!!

    Oh - and that miniature Wegmans rocks!! I can't get enough of the real Wegmans, I have to go crazy in the pretend one, too!  

  2. # Blogger Jesser

    That looks like so much fun! What a neat museum to have so close. We have a Children's Museum in Denver, but I don't think it's as large ... it does have a grocery store though and a neat area where you can "construct" things out of old cans and boxes and stuff. Tabby's a bit young for most of it, though they have a great area for the wee little ones with things to crawl on, etc. I really need to get her back there. Though sadly it's more of a 40 minute journey. :P  

  3. # Blogger Mom24

    It looks like so much fun! I am jealous--we have nothing like that in our area. We're three hours from Indianapolis though, so we will have to check that out this summer.

    BTW--I totally agree--Mr. Noodle is very creepy. Of course, I'm not a huge fan of Elmo either. My kids would absolutely love the grocery store, which cracks me up, because they HATE going to the grocery store! We love the Berenstain Bears too. Cedar Point used to have a great BB section, which they have since torn down for "camp Snoopy", *yawn*.

    Have a great day.  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    Of course we love that place too... and K loves going there with "his baby" Isabella!

    Coincidentally, my CP doll is on the couch right now. I was in college when my roomie braved the insanity to get her for me.

    My Barbies and my Mrs. Beasley were faves. (Malibu Barbies in my day) And my matchbox cars, which are now collectibles!!  

  5. # Blogger Andrew

    I wonder where she learned to go right for the baking aisle at Wegmans?

    Favorite toy ever: Legos.  

  6. # Anonymous Shannon

    The Fisher-Price playsets, in particular the barnyard set, complete with barn, fence, and all the animals. My favorite animal was the horse with movable legs.

    I also got a giant Barbie head for makeup and hair styling for Christmas 1976. I still remember the various green & blue eyeshadows that came with it. Ah, the '70s!  

  7. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    I had lots of favorites - my Cabbage Patch Kid Albert Bruno (he was left handed and had two teeth! and he wanted to be a ballerina when he grew up!) and My Little Ponies spring to mind. I also loved Barbies.
    I'm having a little contest at my blog. Please enter!  

  8. # Anonymous Amy

    I can't believe how uncrowded that kids' museum is. I'm jealous--the ones we've lived near are always packed, no matter what time/day we go.

    A friend of mine from the asthma cyberland just started an infertility blog, and I sent her your way. Hope she pops up here soon!  

  9. # Blogger Chas

    My first Cabbage Patch doll looked just like the one in the picture!

    Lisanne sent me to you, by the way. She must have realized that we have a few things in common. My daughter was born March 2006 thanks to IVF, and I'm now pregnant with twins as well.  

  10. # Blogger Damselfly

    Mr. Noodle and his brother, Mr. Noodle!

    What a fun museum. I wish there was a children's museum close to us. The closest is a half-hour away. With gas prices what they are .... eh....

    I don't remember a favorite toy. I had toys, but I liked making up stories and playing "make believe" with my friends more.  

  11. # Blogger sher

    Does an Easy Bake Oven ring a bell with anyone? Loved that thing. And, I was one of those girls who had a crush on horses. I wanted to be a horse and would prance around like Black Beauty. I had little toy horses that I collected and talked to. When I was older I often discovered that other girlfriends went through the same horse obsession when they were younger. By the way, never had a real horse.  

  12. # Blogger My Wombinations

    I too was the owner of three Cabbage Patch dolls. I teared up at the image of your family fighting to secure dolls for their baby girls. I love it.

    As for me, I have to be a cliche and say my faves were Barbies. But I had no clothes and no accessories, so I would imagine clothing for them and then they had little to take off for all the imaginary sex I made them have.  

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