Those toy manufacturers aren't daft, are they? They know there's not a parent alive who doesn't think that their kids have too many toys, and that those they do have make too much mess. And they know we're all a bit strapped for cash right now.
But the world of commerce must keep moving, so the toy business has learned to connect with parents where it matters - in our emotions and memories.
This is why there will always be a market for classic toys - the stuff we loved when we were kids; the stuff we wanted but our parents wouldn't let us have.
Let's take a look at how some classic toys have been updated to keep us interested in 2009:
- Skateboards They never really went away did they? My mum wouldn't let me have one when I was a kid in case I broke my arm. My daughter got one for her 9th birthday and still has both arms intact - this of course means I was right all along.
- Connect 4 So simple, how could you ever improve it? Well, duh, by making it inflatable of course! Currently on sale and less than half price here at Toys R Us, this, as shown on the right, would make a great garden toy or party activity.
- Star Wars and Doctor Who figures Dads born in the 1970's will go misty eyed at just the thought of these, and need very little encouragement to buy them. I know kids who've got the full set of figures, despite having never seen the films or TV shows.
- Lego Another one that never went away. The colours of the bricks have been updated somewhat, so they look a bit prettier than they used to. Apparently the word Lego is an amalgamation of the Danish leg godt, meaning play well. File that information away for your next pub quiz.
- Action Man
He's the dude, isn't he? The acceptable face of warfare in play. Everybody's brother used to have one of these, and everybody's sister used to make it go on dates in his jeep with Barbie. He's now got a rival in the shape of the new H.M. Armed Forces figures, with their authentic Navy, Army and RAF uniforms.
- Girl's World I never used to understand why my parents found this decapitated head so creepy - come on, what's not to love mum and dad? Now I do. I won't be investing in this one.
What were the classic toys when you were a kid? What do you wish would come back?