For my sons 10th birthday party he had 8 or friends over. They were in the basement all day just causing a ruckus with the nerf guns and cardboard boxes building forts and whatnot. All day they kept begging me to come down and I told them not right now. About 1 hr before the party started i told them to get ready. I put on a vest and grabbed my two choice weapons I had pre stashed in my bedroom. Over the 7:1 surround sound I remotely started Immigrant Song by Lead Zeppelin. I then threw a LED strobe grenade as a distraction and flew down the stairs blasting away. I got 6 direct hits before they could land one dart on me. I ended up emptying on everyone before they could manage to coordinate and physically take me down.
It felt damn good I was still the big dog in the room.
Sling shots. For fun, you used green walnuts or china berries.
Serious participants used rocks. Squirrels were advised to stay in the trees. Poorer kids just threw the rocks.
Chemistry sets, complete with bottles of denatured alcohol for heating the test tubes.
Fireworks, back when you didn’t have to be any particular age to buy them. The cool dudes had M80’s and Black Cats in their pockets, along with boxes of strike-anywhere matches or maybe even refillable butane cigarette lighters. Sparklers were for the wimps or the little kids, just like cap pistols.
Occasionally, BB guns would appear, along with tin can targets.
Amazingly, none of my friends lost fingers or eyes.
Most lived to grow up and be twelve-year-olds.
I almost listed pocket knives. But they were more considered indispensable tools, rather than toys. They were just assumed to be EDC. Every grade school boy generally had one. (None of our teachers ever panicked.)
I frequently witnessed school yard fights. No one ever took out a pocket knife during one.
Disclaimer: The above is from the young masculine standpoint. Sorry. That’s what I was. Girls weren’t welcomed or even acknowledged until later.
@heartny I remember the smell of caps, but don’t recall ever making much note of it.
I did really like the smell of fireworks though. Especially at the big shows put on at 4th of July events & such. The big cloud of grey smoke drifting overhead, just like incense.
Back when I didn’t grok the term “allergies”.
I guess it was all gun powder, in different forms.
@heartny@phendrick I used to sit in a tree with my cap gun. And my favorite part of my chemistry set was the sulfur you could melt over the alcohol burner and pour over a penny for a cool mold. My parents were thrilled.
@phendrick We’re not far from retiring and moving; one of the + checks on where we move to is fireworks allowed and fireworks stores in the same county with real fireworks available. Not mandatory but a major positive.
When we were kids we used to go to fireworks stands in our neighborhood; things were somewhat restrictive there (safe and sane only) but we could still buy them ourselves, no parents required.
@phendrick I had a pocket knife 3rd and 4th grade, most people did and nobody thought it was unusual.
5th grade, we weren’t even allowed to have pencil sharpeners because the principal was terrified at the prospect of people taking the blades out and making toothbrush shanks. (This literally never happened even once, nor had anyone even thought about it until he banned everything.)
Betsy Wetsy, Patti Playpal, G.I. Joe (original), Jotto, Mille Bornes, Rack-o, Croquet, Colorforms, Mouse Trap Game, Spirograph, Venus Paradise Coloring Sets, Merlin electronic game, to name just a few not previously mentioned.
@blaineg@phendrick I assumed that’s what he meant, that’s why i admired the evilness of it! Lol… Of course, that would require them to open up the offer again, and that seems more & more unlikely with every 'thon.
@werehatrack the Erector Set was neat. Practical engineering toys (and real tools) back before everything was built from plastic. I’m not sure how much lead or other toxic materials may be in there, but they sure were fun.
@Kyeh for a while they had Polly Pocket (and Mighty Max for boys) where they shrunk everything down; the dollhouse playset was a diary-sized vertical flip-open hollow kind. While it was a nifty budget friendly idea, everything was incredibly tiny (smaller than Lego beings).
Duplos, simple squeeze water guns (not any of that pump or battery-powered stuff), G.I. Joe sets (the 3.75" ones), dirt (no one remembers playing with dirt any more), foam gliders and paper airplanes, slip-n-slides, Go-Bots (boy were those things fragile), and shaving cream (or the slightly more dangerous alternative: aerosol silly string)
Major Matt Mason toys.
Lead (yes lead) soldiers, with assorted field artillery that could launch tinker toy sticks at the enemy
Suction cup dart guns (without the silly orange caps).
Tonka excavation equipment; we built such wondrous canyons, rivers, tunnels through mountains of excavated dirt, and used Lego constructs for buildings and bridges. Until Dad got sick of the mud and sodded the side yard…
Cox .049 gas powered string controlled airplanes, and the contemporary Baja Bug racer
@bocoroth I was at a friend’s house and his kid was messing around with a super soaker in the kitchen. A few minutes later we heard a boom! in the kitchen, and found it completely coated in water: floor, walls, ceiling.
He’d swapped the pressure and water tanks, figuring the much larger water tank would give him much more pressure. Nice theory, ruined by an ugly fact: the pressure tank was far, far thicker than the water tank.
I’m not sure what was funnier, the water everywhere, or the stunned look on the kid’s face.