At-Home Trivia Game: 13 Fun Facts About Barbie & More Nostalgic Toys

This Barbie Is a Blog Post

Hi, Ken! With the summer blockbuster Barbie movie a smash hit, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some good, old-fashioned nostalgia. And of course, you know we love making Trivia Games. So whether you wore pink to see Barbie in theaters, you had a favorite toy growing up, or you’re bemused by the whole thing, see how many of these fun facts about toys you can figure out!

Nostalgic Toy Trivia

Barbie trivia doll

1. The invention of Ruth Handler and toy designer Jack Ryan, Barbie debuted on March 9, 1959. Available as a blonde or brunette, the original Barbie doll wore a black-and-white zebra-striped swimsuit and topknot ponytail. Ruth’s final direct work on Barbie came in 1971, when Mattel made a major change to Barbie’s appearance. What was it?

A. They gave her real human hair.
B. They painted her eyeballs to look forward instead of giving side eye.
C. They curved her feet and put her in high heels for the first time.
D. They made her a life-sized 5 feet 9 inches tall.

B. They painted her eyeballs to look forward instead of giving side eye.

Barbie spent the first 12 years of her life always looking off to one side.

2. In 1943, American Naval Engineer Richard T. James knocked something off his desk and watched it walk down from a stack of books to a tabletop to the floor, where it landed upright. In 1945, his accidental invention was the hottest toy in town. What was it called?

A. Log
B. Weeble Wobbles
C. Slinky
D. Gak

C. Slinky

James had been developing springs to support and stabilize sensitive instruments on Navy ships in rough seas.

3. In 2021, 21-year-old Max Park set a world record by playing with what toy for 3.13 seconds?

B. Rubik’s Cube
C. Air hockey
D. Magic eight ball

B. Rubik’s Cube

Park needed only 3.13 seconds to solve a Rubik’s Cube, the famous toy invented in 1974 by Ernő Rubik.

Atomic energy lab

4. Oppenheimer, a film about the Manhattan Project’s development of the first atomic bomb, is the other hit movie of the summer (hence the “Barbenheimer” craze). In the 1950s, Manhattan Project director General Leslie Groves (played by Matt Damon in the film) helped develop an unusual toy set: the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. Which of the following did it include?

A. Working Geiger counter
B. Comic book featuring Dagwood from the comic strip Blondie
C. Radioactive uranium
D. All of the above

D. All of the above

Complete with not one but four radioactive samples of uranium, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab has been called one of the 10 most dangerous toys of all time.

5. Speaking of potentially dangerous toys, what 54-piece game was based on one its inventor played at home, with stuff bought from a sawmill in Ghana?

A. Lincoln Logs
B. Operation
C. Jenga
D. Uno

C. Jenga

First released in 1983, Jenga gets it name from “kujenga,” a Swahili word that means “to build.”

6. Ready for more Barbie? Which ONE of the following is NOT a real doll released in the Barbie line of toys?

A. Babysitter Barbie with a book accessory titled “Don’t Eat!”
B. Ken’s hippie friend, Allen, with an anti–Vietnam War chest tattoo
C. Barbie’s pregnant friend, Midge, complete with removable baby
D. Growing Up Skipper with a twist-action arm that enlarged her breasts

B. Ken’s hippie friend, Allen

Yes, all three other dolls were real things! Pregnant Midge and Growing Up Skipper even appear in the Barbie movie.

7. In 1992, a scientist released 29,000 “animals” in the Pacific Ocean to track currents. These “animals” spread all over the world, with some traveling 17,000 miles and others taking 15 years to reach land. What were they?

A. Toy penguins
B. Pound Puppies
C. Wind-up sharks
D. Rubber duckies

D. Rubber duckies

8. When it was released in the ’60s, a now-classic game was derided by critics as “sex in a box.” Initial sales were slow, but its popularity soared after Johnny Carson played it with Eva Gabor on The Tonight Show. What is the game?

A. Twister
B. Charades
C. Pictionary
D. Cards Against Humanity

A. Twister

9. Now available in countless forms, from sports equipment to weapons, what brand of toys was originally advertised, in part, with the line, “You can’t hurt babies or old people”?

A. Care Bears
B. Super Soaker
C. Nerf
D. Hula hoops

C. Nerf

The full tagline for the original Nerf ball was, “Throw it indoors; you can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies or old people.”

Mr. Potato Head

10. In 1952, Playskool’s iconic Mr. Potato Head earned what first among toys?

A. The first toy with a mustache
B. The first toy advertised on TV
C. The first fully edible toy
D. The first toy in space

B. The first toy advertised on TV

The original Mr. Potato Head, pictured above, consisted of parts you could stick onto any fruit or vegetable. So he was partially edible, anyway.

11. What fad toy was banned from the Pentagon in 1999 over fears that it might record classified information?

A. Furby
B. Tamagotchi
C. Tickle Me Elmo
D. Barbie’s pregnant friend, Midge

A. Furby

The popular, if creepy, ’90s toy could speak pre-recorded lines but had no recording equipment whatsoever.

12. Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia, is the only place to witness the live “birth,” every hour, of what popular children’s toy?

A. Bratz
B. Beanie Babies
C. Cabbage Patch Kids
D. Garbage Pail Kids

C. Cabbage Patch Kids

Visitors to Babyland will also see thousands of other Cabbage Patch Kids throughout its various exhibits.

13. And finally, in 1991, what was the top-selling car in the United States?

A. Mazda Miata
B. Ford Taurus
C. Honda Accord
D. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

D. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

This is a quiz about toys, after all! In 1991, Little Tikes sold roughly 500,000 Cozy Coupes, the red plastic car with the yellow roof. The two best-selling actual cars, the Accord and the Taurus, sold about 400,000 and 300,000, respectively.

Find More Fun

For a more challenging experience, join one of our outdoor scavenger hunts all over the country, from New York City’s Central Park to the Santa Monica Pier. Or try your hand at one of our many virtual trivia games. Our games are available to private groups of any size at just about any time, and most of our virtual games can also be played in-person.


Image credits: Lead image by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash; Barbie doll photo by Sandra Gabriel on Unsplash; Atomic Energy Lab by Brstein – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0; Mr. Potato Head in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons;