Despite what people say about no one who was there actually remembering those years, the 1960s are one of the most distinctive decades in living memory. The music and culture that was created in the 60s is still with us today, and many of us who grew up during the 60s have fond memories of the toys we played with, the programmes we watched on TV, and the sweets we spent our pocket money on.
But which do you remember? Time to reminisce…
Jump to: Toys, TV & Film, Music or Sweets & Treats
Toys and Games
Many of the classic toys and games that children are still playing with today were first created in the 1960s, and we found plenty of ways to fill our time without all the gadgets that are around now.
- Etch a Sketch
The Etch a Sketch was one of the most wanted toys for Christmas 1960 and many of us spent hours trying to create masterpieces with those two fiddly dials.
Lego in the 60s required a lot more imagination than it does today. We didn't get detailed instructions and film characters. We just got coloured blocks that could be anything we wanted them to be.
A lot of the engineers and mechanics of today started out with Meccano, but many of the rest of us also spent hours constructing intricate structures and machines on the kitchen table.
- Action Man
Action Man was the British version of America's G.I.Joe. In the 1960s his adventures were all about the Second World War, which was still very present in people's memories.
- Barbie and Ken
Barbie's boyfriend Ken first appeared in the 1960s, and in 1963 we also got introduced to Sindy, the British alternative to Barbie.
Twister, invented in 1966, gave many of us the chance to knock over our little brothers and sisters, but it could also provide a way to get closer to our crushes.
- Corgi Aston Martin DB5
The dream car for many of us during the 60s was Corgi's version of the Aston Martin DB5 driven by James Bond. It even had a working ejector seat.
Cars that actually drove around the track amazed us in the 60s, and Scalextrics are still being driven around many living rooms today.
- Space Hoppers
The bright orange space hopper landed for the first time in 1969 and despite its rather creepy face, it was soon hopping through streets and gardens all around the UK.
- Raleigh Chopper
The laid back Chopper came to the UK in 1968, giving younger kids of the 60s the chance to feel just as cool as our older siblings on their scooters.
Mousetrap took a long time to set up and it usually needed a helping hand to get the cage down at the end of the game, but we always hoped it would work as well as it did on the adverts.
Airfix models kept many of us hard at work in our bedrooms in the 1960s, building our own fleets of planes and cars.
- Gonks and Trolls
Collecting the little fuzzy gonks or big-haired troll dolls became an obsession for many of us in the 60s, and even inspired a surreal film called Gonks Go Beat in 1965.
Spirograph got a lot of us drawing in circles when it was introduced in 1965 and it even seemed to inspire a lot of the patterns seen in the fashions of the late 60s.
- Portable Radios
The chance to play your own music and share it with your friends was a dream come true for teens of the 60s when portable radios became available.
TV and Film
Some amazing films were produced in the 60s, but what we were watching on TV was just as exciting. We were lucky enough to get a third channel, BBC2, during this decade, and we started getting programmes that were actually made for people our age.
- Doctor Who
The Doctor Who who first appeared in black and white in 1963 was very different from his latest incarnation, but he is still the best version to those of us who hid behind the sofa to watch him.
- Ready, Steady, Go!
Friday evenings wouldn't have been the same without RSG! It featured all the top artists, including the Beatles, the Kinks and Sandie Shaw, but the best thing about it was that it was presented by teenagers for teenagers.
- Alfie (1966)
Many of us liked to think our lives in the 60s were as complicated and carefree as Alfie's. It probably wasn't.
- James Bond
The 60s gave us our first James Bond, Sean Connery, in some of the best Bond films: Dr No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967).
- Kes (1969)
Kes was a heartbreaking story about growing up that resonated with many of us who were going through the same experience in the 60s, even if we didn't all get our own pet kestrels.
- The Avengers
The Avengers TV series gave us some of the most memorable female characters of the 60s, alongside the traditional bowler-hatted John Steed.
- If… (1968)
If was one of the most unique films of the 60s, and for those of us who were enduring our own school days it was surprisingly cathartic to see the pupils revolting.
- Star Trek
The original Star Trek is one of the most memorable TV series of the 60s, and for those of us whose imaginations were grasped by the space race it really seemed like a glimpse into the future.
- Z Cars
Z Cars was unusual in its time for being a grittier type of police drama, but for those of us growing up in the 60s it was mainly a chance to watch some exciting action that wasn't set in London or America.
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E
Growing up in the 1960s, we heard a lot about the Cold War, so the Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn't always seem so far-fetched. Many of our fountain pens became communicators when we were running round playing spies.
- The Great Escape
One of the classic films of the 60s, the Great Escape made us all feel like we could be as cool as Steve McQueen.
- Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy
The series that gave us Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name was one of the best Spaghetti westerns. A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), were gritty but spectacular.
- The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone gave a lot of us nightmares in the 1960s, but it is the title sequence and music that is most memorable.
- The Italian Job (1969)
Michael Caine, minis driving stolen gold around Italy, and a literal cliff-hanger at the end- this was a film that had everything.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
Surreal, unique and hilarious, Monty Python first came to our screens in 1969, with some faces that we'd seen before in the children's comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set.
The music of the 60s took the Rock and Roll of the 50s and revolutionised the airwaves, with some of the best rock, pop and folk songs of all times.
- The Beatles
Beatlemania was one of the defining trends of the 1960s, whether you were part of the screaming crowds or enjoying arguments over who was better, the Beatles or the Stones.
- The Rolling Stones
The Stones were the other big British band of the 60s. Songs like Satisfaction and Paint it Black bring back memories of teenage hopes and heartbreak for many of us.
- Respect- Aretha Franklin (1967)
One of the catchiest songs to sing along to, Respect was a great confidence booster from one of the most amazing voices of the 60s.
- Like a Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan (1965)
Dylan was a poet of the 60s, and this is one of his most memorable songs. It is also one that gets better with age and experience.
- With a Little Help from My Friends- Joe Cocker (1969)
Friendships are the most important thing when you are young, so this song about depending on them was deeply significant for many 1960s teens.
- The Monkees
The Monkees started out as a TV band but actually managed to outsell the Beatles and Stones combined at some points in the decade.
- Itchycoo Park- Small Faces (1967)
A psychedelic song that we loved as kids because of the reference to missing school where they teach the words of fools.
- Stand by Me- Ben E. King (1961)
When this song turned up in the 80s film of the same name, it brought back fond memories of childhood friendship for many of us kids of the 60s.
- Sunny Afternoon- The Kinks (1966)
The Kinks had some great hits in the 60s, but one of the fondest memories for anyone who was enjoying their long summer holidays during this decade must be Sunny Afternoon.
- The House of the Rising Sun- The Animals (1964)
The distinctively 60s sound is enough to take you back to your teenage years, when this was the first four minute song to get to the top of the UK charts.
- Space Oddity- David Bowie (1969)
Released just before the moon landing, this was a song that heralded the changes coming in the next decade. Glam rock was coming.
- Good Vibrations- The Beach Boys (1966)
The Beach Boys made us long for the life of a Californian surfer when we were stuck in school in the grey UK, but Good Vibrations could make even the dullest day seem a little brighter.
- Puppet on a String- Sandie Shaw (1967)
Puppet on a String is one of the chirpiest songs of the 60s, but it also brings back memories of the days when the UK actually managed to win the Eurovision song contest.
- All Along the Watchtower- Jimi Hendrix (1968)
Many of us loves the original by Bob Dylan, but Hendrix's version released just six months later must be one of the greatest songs of all time.
- My Generation- The Who (1965)
The song that expressed how we felt about our 60s generation, and which we know is still ours even when the new generations take it as their own anthem.
The 1960s was a great time to be a kid, particularly when you had pocket money to spend at the sweet shop. It was also a decade that saw many changes to the way we eat, with the first Chinese and Indian takeaways opening and foreign dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese appearing on our plates at home.
- Penny Sweets
Bags of penny sweets like gobstoppers, black jacks and pear drops, were a big part of childhood in the 60s, and you could actually get several sweets for each penny back in the day.
At 3d a pack, Spangles were a bargain as long as you didn't accidentally buy the Old English Flavours that included Aniseed, Liquorice and Treacle instead of the fruity ones.
- Sherbet Fountain
There were two ways to eat a Sherbet Fountain: by biting the end off the liquorice stick and sucking the sherbet up, or by licking the stick and sipping it into the pouch.
- Fry's Five Centres
Five centres was great as long as you liked all the sections or had a sibling who preferred the ones you hated. The 4d chocolate cream bar had orange, coffee, lime, blackcurrant and raspberry fillings.
- Kia Ora
Kia Ora orange squash was the taste of childhood for many of us 60s kids. You used to be able to buy it at the cinema for 6d.
- Fizz Wiz
Fizz Wiz Popping Candy was one of those sweets your parents thought would ruin your teeth, but that didn't stop us tipping whole packets of sherbet onto our tongues.
You can still buy a Snickers today, but those of us who were there in the 60s know that it's really just a Marathon bar with a new name.
- Lucky Numbers
Each of the chewy sweets in the box had its own number on the wrapper, but this wasn't always enough to convince parents they were really educational.
- Mint Cracknel
The bright green centres looked like glass, and crunched like it too, but the chocolate covered bar was delicious and only cost 6d.
The adverts made it look really trendy and sophisticated, but the chocolate and caramel covered wafer was just as tasty for kids in the suburbs.
- Smith's Crisps
Smith's came in greaseproof paper bags with a generous serving of salt twisted up in blue paper, and they were the only crisps we knew until ready salted and flavoured crisps began to be sold in the 60s.
- Bubble Gum Cards
Bubble Gum wasn't just about sweets in the 60s. It used to come with collectible cards that meant you had to keep coming back for more.
- Spanish Gold
Spanish Gold was just coconut strips dusted in cocoa, but it was meant to look like loose tobacco.
- Block Ice Cream
A lot of ice cream vans in the 60s served blocks of ice cream sandwiched between two wafers. They usually cost about 6d, and they were worth it as long as the ice cream didn't escape.
- 5 Boys Milk Chocolate
We had plenty of chocolate bars to choose from in the 1960s, including the newly introduced Galaxy, but 5 Boys is the most memorable. The bar showed the five stages of Fry's chocolate, beginning with Desperation and ending with Realisation.