Most people I know love babysitting grandchildren at least once in awhile. Saturday night I was scheduled to babysit my three adorable grandbabies, so I gathered up a couple of my daughter’s old toys to take to their home for entertainment. I chose her Etch A Sketch and the game Twister. They both became instant hits with the grandkids.
Of course, the two older children (ages three and nearly five) fought over the Etch A Sketch. I set a timer so they could both have their time exploring how it worked. I guess fearing the game would not be working when her time came, the oldest, Jovie, asked me where the batteries go. She didn’t quite understand the concept of it not needing batteries or a plug to make it work. Both kids were fascinated by the fact that they could draw with it and then erase what they drew by shaking it. Oh, the simple things in life!
The biggest thrill, at least for Jovie and I, was playing Twister. She knows her colors and she had a great time learning which was her right and left hand and foot. The boys liked the spinner. I even took a turn on the plastic mat. Of course the first two or three color/hand/foot combinations left me spread clear across it. I held on for as long as I could but the boys decided to climb on my back, so we all collapsed in a pile of laughs! Even the little guy (14 months) mimicked his big sister and placed his hands and feet on the brightly colored dots. The game was a hit! In this fast paced world of electronic games which make all sorts of noises and have flashy lights, it was nice to see some of the classic old games still entertain my young grandchildren.
A little history on these two old-time favorites from my childhood, as well as my daughter’s:
The Etch A Sketch patent called it a “tracing device.” Wikipedia states that the “toy was invented in the late 1950s by André Cassagnes, an electrician with Lincrusta Co, who named the toy L’Ecran Magique (The Magic Screen).” It “was introduced near the peak of the Baby Boom on July 12, 1960 for $2.99. It went on to sell 600,000 units that year and is one of the best known toys of that era. In 1998, it was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century.“
“Sex in a Box,” or Twister, was designed and developed by Charles F. Foley and Neil Rabens in the 1960’s. According to Wikipedia, “Mr. Foley had this idea for utilizing people as a part of the game idea, ‘a party game’ and Mr. Rabens went into his office and came back with an idea utilizing a mat with colors on it allowing people to interact with each other in a game situation…. Mr. Foley saw the idea and developed the concept for having the colored dots line up in rows and with a spinner created the idea for calling out players hands and feet to the colored dots called out from the spinner thus creating a tangled up situation between two people and the one that falls first loses. Patent and trademark rights were “for what was originally called Pretzel.” In 1966 the product idea was presented to Milton Bradley who “embraced the idea for the Pretzel game but re-named the game Twister. Twister became a success when actress Eva Gabor played it with Johnny Carson on television’s The Tonight Show on May 3, 1966. However, in its success, Twister was also controversial. Milton Bradley, was accused by its competitors of selling ‘sex in a box.’ That accusation was probably because Twister was the first popular American game to use human bodies as playing pieces. In 1967 Twister was named the ‘Game of the Year.'”
I’d love for you to share your stories of playing classic games, either in your youth or more recently, in the comment section below. And if you’d like to buy one of these games to play with your grandchildren, you can pick one up at The Arc, Goodwill or a Habitat for Humanity store pretty inexpensively. Keep playing and making memories.