Why hand – me – downs make the best toys

Oliver playing with Daddy's old train set.
Oliver playing with Daddy’s old train set.


There is something rather special about watching your children play with the toys you cherished as a child. It was something about becoming a parent that I was particularly looking forward to.


I guess hand me down toys have always been quite a big part of parenting within my family. I was passed on a number of toys from my Dad’s childhood and although I had more toys than most children could ever want for, the old hand me downs were always amongst my favourite.


I would spend hours upon hours playing with my Dad’s old farm set, complete with its dainty metal combine harvester, wooden barns and its assortment of farmyard animals. I would spend rainy days playing with his old metal cowboy and Indians toys and if I was really lucky we would set up his old train set.


Growing up, I was always made to look after my toys, whether they were hand me downs or not and so as the years passed by, they still remained good as new. So when the time came that I stopped playing with them they were put into storage and kept in the attic, where they then spent nearly two decades collecting dust. That is until it was my turn to have children and they came back down, ready for the next generation to play with them.


Recently my Dad came to visit and with him he brought a large amount of my old toys and a few books. Amongst these dusty books was one of my favourites, it was one that my Grandad would read to me before bed. This book was a collection of stories including Grimm’s Fairytales and the Arabian Nights, but my favourites were Aesop’s Fables. I eagerly wiped the dust off it, opened the pages and started reading them. It was like I was a little girl again and my Grandad was right there with me. So that night as we settled down to read Oliver his bedtime story, I opened the book again and read to Oliver the exact same stories my Grandad had read to me when I was growing up.


Mummy and Oliver playing with Mummy's old Duplo set.
Mummy and Oliver playing with Mummy’s old Duplo set.


Daddy and Oliver playing with Mummy's old Duplo zoo set.
Daddy and Oliver playing with Mummy’s old Duplo zoo set.


As Oliver has grown older and has become more capable of playing with things like Duplo, we decided to clean my old Duplo zoo set and give it to Oliver. As it turned out, Mr. C had the same Duplo set growing up too and so as we sat watching Oliver playing with all of the different animals, a huge wave of nostalgia washed over us and we couldn’t help but start playing with it too.


Mr. C then remembered he had an old Brio train set that him and his brother used to play with stored in his parent’s attic. Oliver has really started to like trains and is absolutely fascinated by Thomas the Tank Engine, so we decided to go and pick it up. As Mr. C set up the track, Oliver took a particular liking to one of the trains and was sat pushing it around the floor. As it turns out, the train that Oliver has taken a liking to used to be Mr. C’s favourite and so the pair of them spent the evening playing with the train set and fighting over sharing this one train.


The thing is, Oliver just like myself isn’t short of toys. In fact being the only grandchild on both sides of the family, he is actually slightly spoilt, yet his favourite toys are not the shiny new ones but the old ones that have been hidden away in storage for years, collecting dust, waiting for the next generation to play with them. Perhaps it is a case of old toys being the best toys or perhaps children can sense which toys have been most loved. Either way, myself and Mr. C are extremely happy that we get to spend time playing with our old favourite toys again and as Oliver grows older, he will be passed down toys that aren’t just from his parent’s childhood, but his grandparent’s childhood too, which I personally think is a rather special thing.


What do you think about handing down your old toys? Have your children been given any of your favourite toys from your childhood? I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, on Instagram or on Facebook.

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12 thoughts on “Why hand – me – downs make the best toys

  1. Ooh this makes me want to see if my parents have any of my old toys for Pickle to play with… but I fear anything of mine would have been passed on to my brothers and they would probably have trashed them! Ha ha. I’ll have to make sure I keep some of Pickle’s toys for a time in the future if he ever has any children of his own!

  2. We didn’t really have that many toys growing up same with my parents so apart from nice pair of shoes or books we didnt really have anything to be handed down but I do love the idea of it

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