Lessons from Classic Kids Toys

What Classic Toys Taught Us (Without Our Knowing)

By Paul Asay

We know the routine. After weeks of breathless anticipation, the fabled morning arrives and the children scamper to the Christmas tree with all the enthusiasm of tween girls at a Robert Pattinson sighting. They open up the toy of their dreams--the toy they've been pleading for since June--and then spend the rest of the morning playing with...the carton it came in.

Since 1998, the National Toy Hall of Fame has honored our most sacred hallmarks of childhood—toys we treasured as children, fondly remember as adults, and perhaps even taught us something about life along the way. We can't go through all 44 that have been honored there, of course. But here's a sampling of 10 of the most fun, most sneakily inspirational presents to ever grace a holiday celebration. Box not included.

Paul Asay is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Christianity Today, and Beliefnet.