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The nation's toy treasures from the past 50 years revealed

Argos  |  Press release

- A survey amongst parents reveals the top toys that have stood the test of time

- More than a fifth of parents have kept toy treasures from their own childhood to pass on to their kids

From teddy bears to train sets, toy boxes all over the UK are brimming with childhood memories that nod to a bygone era, as new research highlights the true value of our most loved toys.

Radio presenter and mum of one, Denise Van Outen has teamed up with the UK’s number one toy retailer Argos and children’s charity, Barnardo’s to mark the annual Argos Toy Exchange campaign. The project aims to raise money for the most vulnerable children across the UK.   With more than 70 per cent of parents donating unused toys to charity, the Toy Exchange is the perfect way to clear out old toys and make space whilst supporting a hugely worthwhile cause.

The study for the Argos Toy Exchange, reveals that 10 per cent of adults have kept toys from their childhood because they are a comfort to them, no matter whether their children like them or not.

Childhood classics Lego, Barbie and Monopoly are the favourites of the parents’ generation with more than a fifth of parents keeping much loved toys to pass on to their own children.  The study reveals the top 10 toys from the past 50 years:

1.         Lego

2.         Barbie

3.         Monopoly

4.         Action Man

5.         Scalextric

6.         Tiny Tears

7.         My Little Ponies

8.         Cabbage Patch Kids

9.         Subbuteo

10.       Sylvanian Families 

The current generation of children have on average 69 per cent more toys in their toy boxes than their parents did but, parents admit that their children only tend to play with less than half of the toys in their collection. 

So what happens to the forgotten toys? According to the study of more than 1,000 parents of school age children, just under a third store them in the loft, attic or garage, while a quarter leave them languishing at the bottom of the toy box or back of the cupboard.

Amy Whidburn, Head of Corporate Responsibility for Argos, said: “Last year’s Toy Exchange raised hundreds of thousands of pounds in toy donations.  

“As the UK’s leading toy retailer, we know the important role toys play in a child’s life especially at this time of the year.  By supporting the Toy Exchange Argos customers will be making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children across the UK.”

Argos customers are invited to drop off unwanted toys at Argos stores in return for a £5 voucher towards the cost of new toys (minimum £35 spend), to be redeemed at Argos by 24 December.

Donated toys are then passed onto Barnardo’s retail outlets where they are resold to raise funds for the charity.  The charity’s stores across the UK will also be accepting toys on behalf of Argos and distributing £5 vouchers to those who donate. 

Denise Van Outen, who is helping to launch this year’s campaign, said: “The Argos Toy Exchange is a fantastic initiative! Being a mum myself I know how important it is that children have toys, not only to enjoy but also to help them learn and develop. As we start to think about Christmas it is the perfect time to help those in need. I urge families across the UK to get out to their closest Argos store and donate their unwanted toys.”

Gerard Cousins, Barnardo's Director of Retail and Trading, said: “After the success of last year’s Toy Exchange, we are really excited about the potential that this year’s campaign holds and are delighted to be partnering with Argos again.  The initiative works well for us but its beauty lies in the fact that the concept is so simple.  All customers have to do to help the most disadvantaged children in society is donate their pre-loved toys”.

This year’s Argos Toy Exchange will also feature ‘blippable’ content in Argos’ Christmas gift guide, which launches Wednesday 16 October. Blippar uses image recognition technology and will offers smartphone and tablet users enhanced digital content, including an exclusive video with Denise Van Outen and a totaliser to track the number of donations.

For more information about the Toy Exchange, visit


For further information on the Argos Toy Exchange please contact the Surname & Surname team:

020 7260 2770

Research by Opinion Matters, carried out between: 28/08/13 and 04/09/13

Sample: 1068 parents of school-aged children (UK adults)

Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact the Argos team on 0845 120 4365 or email:

About Argos

Argos is a leading UK digital retailer, offering around 29,000 products through, its growing mobile channels, stores and over the telephone.

Argos continues to be the UK’s largest high street retailer online with 635 million website and app visits in the 12 months to February 2013.  Argos serves around 124 million customers a year through its network of around 735 stores.   

In the financial year to February 2013, Argos sales were £3.9 billion and it employed some 30,000 people across the business.

Argos is part of Home Retail Group, the UK’s leading home and general merchandise retailer. 

About Barnardo’s:
Barnardo’s works with more than 200,000 children, young people and their families each year.  Barnardo’s runs more than 900 services across the UK.

We believe in children and we believe every young person has a right to thrive. Our vision is to realise Thomas Barnardo’s dream of a world where no child is turned away from the help that they need.

We work to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and every year we help thousands of families to build a better future. But we cannot do it without you. Visit to find out how you can get involved and show you believe in children.


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