When you think of kids toys these days, you'll most likely lean immediately to Nintendo DS, PSP's, Wii's, X-Box, or other electronic devices. Don't get me wrong, they're fun, and I'm sure some researcher out in research land has data that says it helps improve hand-eye coordination and focus, but somehow it lacks the innocence of childhood when you're gunning down zombies in a mayhem free-for-all. Back a few years ago, kids used to play with toys (in fact, kids have been playing with toys for thousands of years, that way they wouldn't drive their parents crazy), and some toys used to give the kids some much needed exercise so they wouldn't bounce off the walls in the house. When you think of some toys, you might think "boooorrriinng", but with a little persistence and a lot of practice, it's amazing what one can do. Here's a list of some toys that have been taken to the next level by some really talented people.

  • 1


    I was so proud of myself the first time I 'walked the dog' with my yo-yo. I then found out that 'around the world' was a great way to injure people and property without any real skill. The yo-yo was a great toy for people who didn't have much: of land to play on or friends to play with. It's not nearly as much fun playing football by yourself. With the yo-yo, this toy developed and cultured a generation of individualists. A group proud to say, I don't need friends, I can entertain myself with this great toy (eerily similar to our current trend with digital products). That's not actually a historical fact, but what is a fact is that this guy really knows how to sling a yo-yo, yo.

  • 2


    One not so familiar child's toy is the diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo. It kinda looks like two cups glued together, with a stick and a string tied between them. The cups aren't attached, so you can fling the diabolo up in the air. Some people thought the name came from the Italian word for devil 'diavolo', but was actually named by a French engineer Gustave Philipppart who got the name from dia and bolo, greek meaning across throw. Well, the skills and tricks have certainly developed over the years. I actually tried to use this one time and nearly knocked myself out. Somehow, kids make this look too easy.

  • 3

    Hula Hoop

    Who could've figured that a circle could be sooo entertaining. I've never been able to keep a hula hoop up for more than a few seconds, yet my children can hula till they pass out. Must be genetics, or the fact that I'm not nearly as smooth with the hip action as the rest of humanity. So imagine my surprise when I found out you could do more than one hoop. Having gained huge popularity in the 1950's as an exercise product, and now appears regularly among festival goers at 'Burning Man', 'Coachella' and more. When all you've got to play with is a plastic hoop, you tend to get creative with how you use it, like this person on 'America's Got Talent'.

  • 4

    Jump Rope

    As a kid, I never really liked the jump rope. I was (and still am) a very poor jumper. My vertical leap was not built for jump rope, basketball, high jump or any other thing that involves me leaving the ground. That being said, I've always like watching jump roping, from the single rope to double-dutch, and even competitive jump roping. About as simple as a toy can get (rope), it's a great way to keep moving and get that cardio workout my doctor keeps bugging me about.

  • 5

    Hacky Sack

    Back in high-school, I remember when the hacky sack craze hit Lafayette, and the time between classes was spent kicking around a little sack filled with…whatever hacky sacks were filled with. From twisted ankles to ripped pants (once, and I remember it clearly), hacky sacks were my only form of exercise outside of P.E.. We were just proud to be able to keep the sack from touching the ground for more than a minute, but some people clearly aren't satisfied with that skill level and have decided to push the limits of what the human body can do while kicking around the ole sack.