20 Things All ’60s Kids Remember

“1970’s easy bake oven 2013-09-17 19-40” by User:Rdmsf is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The 1960s were a time when the world changed a lot. New technology and big cultural changes happened. Even now, we still feel the effects of what happened back then. The ’60s left a strong impression on people who grew up then. Unlike Millennials and Gen-Z, who always had the internet, kids from the ’60s didn’t record their every mistake online. Here are 20 things all ’60s kids remember!

Watching The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show

“1970 The Beatles” by steeljam is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Crazy fandom for pop stars and celebrities didn’t start with Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. In the ’60s, kids had The Beatles. If you were a kid in 1964 and your family had a TV, you probably saw The Beatles’ first American appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers remember that debut with goosebumps and a sense of longing.

Enjoying a glass of Tang

IT’S…1959! Tang Breakfast Drink” by RetroLand U.S.A. is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Tang isn’t exactly mouthwatering. It’s a powdery orange stuff you mix with water, turning into a bright orange drink that’s very sweet. And health-wise, it’s not the best—it’s mostly sugar and fructose. But back in 1962, when astronaut John Glenn drank Tang during his historic trip around the globe, every kid wanted it in their diet, despite not being particularly concerned about health.

Playing with Barbie dolls

“vintage Barbie” by merwing✿little dear is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Even though the famous Barbie doll came out in 1959, it was the ’60s when every girl wanted one. She took style tips from supermodel Twiggy and eventually got bendable legs. Before long, Barbie became a big part of our culture. Recently, the Barbie movie was a huge hit—making $1.446 billion and becoming the top-grossing film of 2023.

Dancing along to American Bandstand

“American Bandstand” by Atomic Mutant Flea Circus is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Every kid in the ’60s couldn’t miss American Bandstand, hosted by “America’s oldest teenager” Dick Clark. It wasn’t just a show; it was a place where we found new music stars like Smokey Robinson, Sonny and Cher, Stevie Wonder, and Tina Turner. Plus, it introduced us to cool dance moves like the Loco-Motion and the Mashed Potato.

Keeping up with the home run race in baseball

“Duke Baseball Team, 1970” by Duke University Archives is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Baseball hit its peak of excitement in 1961 when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris of the New York Yankees were racing to break Babe Ruth’s home run record. On October 1st, during the final game of the season—Maris hit his 61st home run against the Boston Red Sox. The New York Times described the moment, saying the crowd erupted into cheers as Maris, briefly stunned at the plate, began his victory lap around the bases.

Watching TV on old-school big televisions

“Vintage Grundig TV” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today’s flat-screen TVs were beyond imagination for kids in the ’60s. Our TVs were massive, housed in bulky wooden boxes that could double as furniture. The top of a standard TV was big enough to host a Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four. If you ever needed to move a TV to another room, it was a job for a team of strong guys—you definitely didn’t do it alone.

Reflecting on past pregnancy habits

“The Original Sobranie Ready rubbed, Benson & Hedges Finest Smoking Mixture Ogden’s Tom Long Germain’s Plum Cake Mixture Tobacco tins 1970s” by sludgegulper is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Smoking and drinking during pregnancy was more common back then, and it might have affected you before you were even born. You might have sat on your mom’s lap or played under the table while she had a drink and a cigarette—even when she was pregnant with your sibling. Our moms didn’t mean any harm, but back then, people didn’t know how much these habits could hurt babies.

Remembering the old, unsafe car seats and seat belts

murdered out’ gangster car: 1970 Lincoln Continental” by 1970_Lincoln_Continental is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Car safety for kids back then was different from what we have now. Little kids often sat in the front without seatbelts—relying on Mom or Dad’s arm to stop them if they suddenly brake. Toddlers had flimsy car seats, and seat belts were just across the lap. Real safety regulations for car seats and seat belts didn’t come until the ’70s, and airbags didn’t become common until the ’80s.

Recalling childhood crib designs

“Baby Girl Circle Quilts and Vintage Crib” by peace.love.quilt is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the ’60s, doctors told moms it was okay for babies to sleep on their stomachs, but now we know it’s not safe. Also, cribs back then didn’t have many safety features like they do today. There were risky drop rails, slats wide enough for a baby’s head to get stuck, and places where little fingers could get trapped. Sadly, it took accidents involving babies to make manufacturers put more safety rules in place.

Riding banana bikes around the neighborhood

“Boys hanging out & banana seat bicycle 1975 B&W Slide” by Whiskeygonebad is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Introduced by Schwinn in 1963, the banana bike was the ultimate ride for kids back then. With its tall handlebars, it looked just like a chopper motorcycle, making it the envy of every kid on the block. Kids loved it because of the comfy padded seat and its ability to carry more than one rider. While BMX and mountain bikes eventually became popular, Baby Boomers still believe nothing beats the nostalgia of riding a banana bike.

Styling in go-go boots

“Andrea’s Go-Go boots” by partymonstrrrr is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Low-heeled, mid-calf boots came out in 1964—but it wasn’t until Nancy Sinatra’s song “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” in 1966 that go-go boots became very popular among girls. Everyone wanted them because they were so stylish and perfect for showing off some attitude. After all, how could you properly “walk all over” your cheating ex without a pair of these cool boots?

Baking treats with an Easy-Bake Oven

“Premier model Easy Bake oven” by Bradross63 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

For kids eager to take charge of their own cooking, the Easy-Bake Oven was a dream come true. Released by Kenner Products in 1963, this iconic toy came with recipes for baking cookies, cakes, and more. The National Easy-Bake Oven Day website revealed that over 23 million Easy-Bake Ovens have been sold to date—making it a beloved childhood classic for many.

Being fascinated by space exploration

“space” by fleskw is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Meeting JFK’s goal from the beginning of the decade, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the moon. It was a historic moment when Apollo 11 touched down in July 1969. Folks who kept up with world events will never forget the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to reach this big milestone in space exploration.

Walking to school alone

“Caboolture State High School, Science Block, May 1970” by Queensland State Archives is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

In the 60s, kids as young as first graders often walked to and from school alone once they knew the route. Sometimes, you’d go with a sibling or a neighbor to have company, but parents weren’t too worried about safety. They trusted the neighborhood. And if you took your time getting home, no problem—you could always stop for a snack along the way.

Visiting friends’ houses without supervision

“Kids in art studio at Bumbershoot, 1970s” by Seattle Municipal Archives is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Back in the ’60s, setting up a playdate didn’t require a ton of planning or safety checks. You’d just tell Mom where you were going and head off to your friend’s house—either walking or biking there. Your closest pals usually lived nearby, so you didn’t need to schedule a visit. You’d just show up, spend time together, and sometimes even stick around for dinner.

Chewing sugary bubble gum

“Chewing on a stick of gum” by A Train is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Sugary gum and candy were a big part of growing up in the ’60s. Making huge bubbles that popped over your nose was a favorite pastime, and sometimes, we even had contests to see who could blow the biggest one. Gum wasn’t allowed at school, but we’d sneak it in any way. If you shared your stash with other kids—you could make some lifelong friends.

Experiencing tough school discipline

“Classroom 1970’s” by St. Mary’s Digital Archives is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In Catholic schools back then, discipline often involved some pretty tough methods. Getting your knuckles smacked with a ruler for talking out of turn, roughhousing, or forgetting your homework was pretty common. Another punishment was getting pulled out of class by your ear. Nowadays, these punishments would probably lead to angry parents at the principal’s office—but back then, they were just how things were done.

Indulging in nostalgic food favorites

“Peanut butter and jelly sandwich” by Matias-Garabedian is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Those commercials showing how to make a fluffernutter sandwich made it seem like the most fun thing ever. And it wasn’t just fun—it was delicious, too. Who wouldn’t love a sandwich packed with peanut butter and loads of marshmallow fluff? As grown-ups, we might look back at these childhood meals with a mix of nostalgia and shock.

Playing with the classic Etch A Sketch

“Etch-a-sketch Portrait” by Welshdan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Originally named L’Ecran Magique and created by a French technician—Etch A Sketch didn’t do well when it was first shown at a toy fair in the ’50s. But when an Ohio company bought the idea for just $25,000, this magical drawing toy became a hit among ’60s kids. It used static charge to move aluminum powder and plastic beads, providing endless entertainment for children everywhere.

Creating tie-dye masterpieces

“Tie-dye cake batter” by moonlightbulb is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In the ’60s, tie-dying was the go-to weekend craft project for kids and adults. Spending hours figuring out the perfect placement of rubber bands on a scrunched-up T-shirt was all part of the fun, aiming for those vibrant psychedelic designs. The end result? A fashion statement that made you feel like you belonged in Janis Joplin’s band.