Five Retro Toys for Exam-Time Joy

Sarah Howden 6 June 2014

After Inception reinvented the spinning top as the new edgy accessory, the message was clear: retro toys aren’t just for children. Whether you wish to create an enigmatic cliff-hanger that will infuriate millions of cinema-goers, or simply let go of the exam stress, indulge in a blast from the past with these forgotten wonders (#memories). 

For those last few of you with exams left, don't worry, we've got your back.


Play doh

The musty smell. The way it manages to seep like sand into every available orifice; under your fingernails, behind your ear, in the pockets of your old coats. A tabula rasa of fluorescent pink possibilities.

What happiness looks like                                                   Credit: Rachel Jackson



The definition of simple pleasures. Cast your mind back to that rush of joy when you made it glide seamlessly, like a swan skating across a lake, or scissors through a piece of wrapping paper. These fabulous creatures have unfortunately spawned some less fun friends (see 'yo-yo-dieting') but don’t let that put you off.



Yes, it’s irritatingly small and makes you feel like you have clumsy giant hands. Yes, treading on it is almost unbearable agony, made worse by the laughter of ignorant friends who think this is basically the same as breaking your leg tripping over a teddy bear. But these coloured blocks are the gateway to a world of dreams that in reality is slipping further and further away with every past paper. These little plastic friends can never let you down.

Your new best friend                                                   Credit: Dan Goodwin


Hungry Hippos

Like a secret harbour for all your deepest and darkest food fantasies. Those tiny plastic balls are melting chocolate soufflés, doughnuts bursting with jam, peaches ripened in the sun. Play this game on a sloped surface for a guaranteed winning streak.



Do you remember when your teacher gave you an egg and asked you to look after it for a week to teach you what parenting is like? Probably not, because this is something that only happens in teen fiction. But for most of us, tamagotchies were the less eggy equivalent. Like a baby, but smaller and harder to kill.

For those pushing onwards to the final days, good luck, godspeed, and we'll see you on the other side!
Just don't be too hard on yourselves.