If you were a girl growing up in the 1960s, you experienced one of the most transformative decades in recent history. And from the toys to the fashion choices, they all defined that memorable period. So with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list that looks back at 20 things which got girls’ hearts racing at the time.
Wearing fur hats
Regardless of the season, hats are useful items of clothing that protect our heads from the elements. But they took on a rather distinctive look in the 1960s – especially for girls and women. Indeed, the fur hats of that era stood out for a couple of reasons.
Compared to a standard wool hat, the fur variants from that time were huge. In addition to that, each one was unique – ranging from the pillbox look to the Breton design. And if you were a ‘60s girl, there’s a decent chance that you had one of these eye-catching accessories in your wardrobe.
19. Rocking shift dresses
Alongside the fur hats, dresses in the 1960s were pretty unique, too. Thanks to their bright colors and eye-popping patterns, these intriguing garments became synonymous with the time period. However, one design in particular instantly comes to mind when discussing the trends of that era due to its incredible popularity.
Of course, we’re referring to shift dresses. After setting the fashion world alight in the 1920s, the design picked up steam again four decades later. The dresses are best-known for their novel fit, as they just hang down from the wearer’s upper body.
18. Riding banana bikes
For many of us, bikes played a significant role in our respective childhoods. Once we learned how to ride them, we could meet up with our friends without relying on our parents to drive us. And alongside that, bicycles kept us fit as well. Yet for girls of the 1960s, one bike stood out from the rest.
The banana bike first hit the market back in 1963. This unique design mirrored the appearance of a chopper motorbike – but that’s not the only reason why it gained popularity. Thanks to its size and cushioned seat, it could hold a couple of kids at a time. And girls took full advantage of those features during that period.
17. Owning a rocking horse
As children, toys provided us with an avenue to escape into our fantasies. From dolls to playsets, we each had our own preferences in that regard. But throughout the ‘60s, rocking horses were some of the most popular items on the toy market.
Rocking horses have actually been around for hundreds of years, but their popularity re-emerged in the 1960s. And outside of riding the real thing, this was a cool alternative for youngsters at home. So given the demand for the item, there’s a good chance you had one as a girl growing up during that decade.
16. Wearing capes
As we’ve already highlighted, the 1960s was an interesting time when it came to fashion. Along with the shift dresses and fur hats, girls also rocked other memorable items like go-go boots. And capes were a big thing during that period too – which might come as something of a surprise.
Capes haven’t really caught on in the last few decades, but the garment was a must-have item in the ‘60s thanks to some eye-catching designs. In truth, they were a nice alternative to long jackets. However, capes eventually made way for ponchos the following decade and the “fad” finally came to an end.
15. Playing the Mary Poppins board game
In addition to the fashion and the toys, the 1960s was also a golden period for movies. And one of the high points came in 1964 when Mary Poppins hit the big screen. This timeless classic stunned adults and children alike – as the film integrated live-action characters into complex animated sequences.
Meanwhile, a tie-in board game was released during that time and it became a family favorite. It gave them a chance to recapture some of the experience while moving across the playing surface and was a must-have for many young girls in the ‘60s.
14. Drinking Tang
When you’re parched, soft drinks like Coca-Cola or Sprite can be incredibly refreshing. But at one point in the 1960s, kids embraced another drink that hit the market. Unlike the aforementioned beverages, though, you needed to mix it up yourself – as it was sold in a powdery form.
Of course, we’re referring to Tang. The powder would transform a normal glass of water into a sweet orange beverage and youngsters loved it. On top of that, famed astronaut John Glenn was also said to be a fan of the drink – inspiring boys and girls everywhere to follow suit.
13. Wearing your cardigan back-to-front
If you’re not a fan of wearing bulky jackets, cardigans are a worthwhile alternative today. These knitted items first started to catch on throughout the 1920s and ‘30s, and they then enjoyed another resurgence in the 1950s. Meanwhile, men wore thicker garments than their female counterparts at the time – who opted for slimmer options.
Girls in the 1950s and ‘60s adopted a strange fashion trend; they decided to wear their cardigans back-to-front and did up the buttons behind them. It was an odd choice, but it’s one that many ladies looked to try out for themselves over those two decades.
12. Using big curlers
Alongside the fashion fads and toys, the 1960s boasted some memorable hairstyles as well. For women, one of the more popular looks was the bouffant – mirroring a few of the fur hats from that era. But to pull it off correctly, women needed to rely on a large set of tools.
For you see, big hair curlers played a significant role in creating the bouffant look. Although they might appear similar to discarded toilet rolls, these objects would add the required bounce and curl to a girl’s mane. And you’d have been hard-pressed to not find a set of curlers in a ‘60s household.
11. Playing the Patty Duke board game
Back in 1963 The Patty Duke Show made its debut on the small screen. The program went on to run for the next three years – with over 100 episodes hitting the airwaves until 1966. Due to its popularity with young girls, the sitcom then spawned the Patty Duke Game.
The Patty Duke game was fairly simple: the participants just needed to pair up certain cards while they moved across the board. In the end, it mirrored the popularity of the show itself and was considered to be one of the most sought-after board games throughout the 1960s.
10. Using an Easy-Bake Oven
For some children, the thought of becoming an adult is incredibly exciting – as they can then engage in more activities around the house. Back in the 1960s, though, kids were given the opportunity to jump ahead a few years following the release of a new toy. And the product in question was called the Easy-Bake Oven.
The Easy-Bake Oven first hit the shelves in 1963 and it offered youngsters the chance to cook certain food. From cakes to cookies, the toy included recipes that put them to the test. And according to the National Easy-Bake Oven website, 23 million units have been purchased since the oven came out all those years ago.
9. Owning miniature doll houses
During a young girl’s childhood years, she’ll probably harbor a number of different toys in her room to help pass the time. But some of those items might be a little more fragile than others. And miniature doll houses would certainly come under that category due to their smaller size.
These toys have been around for thousands of years and go all the way back to ancient Egypt. Yet miniature doll houses were particularly popular throughout the 1960s. And it’s suggested that the low cost of the toy played a big role in that surge of sales.
8. Playing with an Etch A Sketch
In the distant past, kids could only showcase their artistic talents in a couple of different ways at home. They would either draw something on a piece of paper or be given a paintbrush and a canvas. But, as we’re about to find out, that eventually changed in the 1950s.
When the decade was coming to a close, the original Etch A Sketch made its first appearance at the International Toy Fair in Germany. The Ohio Art Company then purchased the rights to the product and started to sell them in 1960 – creating a new generation of artists.
7. Buying Chatty Cathy dolls
Unlike many other toys, dolls rarely need to be assembled before a child can play with them. In turn, kids can quickly dive into their playtime without waiting around. The Chatty Cathy doll was no different in that regard, but it did have a unique feature that made it stand out from the crowd.
As the name suggests, Chatty Cathy was a talking doll, and it first hit the toy market in 1960. The sound was generated by a string at the back and the toy recited several expressions. Thanks to that, girls scrambled to grab one for themselves and they became the second most sought-after doll of the decade.
6. Wearing string-tie headbands
If you were a ‘60s girl in middle school, you and your pals might remember this accessory. To help keep long hair under control, string-tie headbands were the perfect tool for the job. They usually came in packs of ten – with each string measuring over 40 inches in length.
The individual strings were also different colors and gave you plenty to choose from. In fact, some girls were known to implement more than one string into their hair if they fancied a change in appearance. And however you used them, these headbands were staples of the decade.
5. Playing Mystery Date
As we’ve already established, the 1960s spawned some memorable board games that girls of all ages could enjoy. But few of those efforts reached the iconic heights of Mystery Date. This classic game first hit toy stores in 1965 and it put players in the shoes of a woman who was getting ready to go out.
Each participant needed to earn three cards on the board that would give them a completed outfit. Then, they had to rely on a spinner that showed what their mystery date looked like – with the “dud” being the worst option. And the game was so popular it was released three more times over the next 40 years.
4. Drinking Metrecal diet shakes
Before the days of SlimFast and Medifast, people had to rely on a different brand of weight-loss products to shed some pounds. But in 1959 a company named Metrecal hit the supermarket shelves, and it aimed to fill that particular void.
Much like with Tang, you mixed Metrecal products into a glass of water and created a shake of sorts. Normally, it was advised for consumers to drink four of these beverages every day. And despite its questionable taste, the brand remained popular until the mid-1960s when it began to tail off.
3. Watching American Bandstand
In 1952 American Bandstand hit the small screen for the first time. This program invited musical artists to perform in front of a teenage audience in a television studio – with Dick Clark fronting proceedings after 1956. The show was a huge hit, but the ‘60s arguably marked its most successful stretch.
Stars including Sonny and Cher, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder all performed on the show during that decade. And if that wasn’t enough, the young audience at home learned about the “Mashed Potato” and the “Loco-Motion” dances over those years, too. The program eventually concluded in 1989 – close to 40 years on from its debut.
2. Buying Liddle Kiddle toys
Given the number of toys that were on the market in the 1960s, new products needed a unique selling point to stand out. And the Liddle Kiddle dolls certainly did that. People were first given a glimpse of these small figures at the New York Toy Fair in 1966.
The Liddle Kiddle toys were released to the public a short time later. Measuring in at around three inches in height, these dolls quickly caught the attention of little girls everywhere. And other brands tried to make similar figures due to the product’s popularity.
1. Playing with Barbie dolls
As we highlighted earlier, you’ll find plenty of different toys in a little girl’s bedroom. However, among all of those items, there’s sure to be at least one Barbie doll hiding in there. These figurines have been a mainstay on the market for over 60 years – with the first one hitting the shelves in 1959.
Following Barbie’s debut, the dolls really started to pick up steam throughout the 1960s. Alongside that, the toys were also dressed up in trendy new outfits and given flexible legs during that period. And while the brand has grown much bigger since then, the ‘60s youngsters certainly played a role in its rise.