Our Complex, Evolving Relationship with 'Dangerous' Toys and Games

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Jarts were a brand of lawn darts that were metal missiles with heavy shafts, pointed tips and aerodynamic plastic fins. This original set is featured in the Napa Valley Museum's exhibit, Dangerous Games: Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids. Jarts had sharp ends that injured and killed children.  (Courtesy of the Napa Valley Museum)

In a not-so-distant past, kids played with toys like Clackers that could shatter into sharp pieces, or lawn darts that caused serious injuries and deaths, or Suzy Homemaker dolls that reinforced gender stereotypes. “Dangerous Games: Treacherous Toys We Loved As Kids,” an exhibit at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, celebrates vintage toys and explores the physical and psychological harms some of them posed. We talk about the exhibit, why kids are drawn to dangerous toys and why they rouse so much nostalgia.
Did you play games or have toys as a kid that looking back, weren’t so safe? Are there toys you loved but would think twice before giving them to your kids? Share your memories at forum@kqed.org or leave a voicemail at 415-553-3300.


Chloe Veltman, reporter, KQED news

Julia Chen, board member and owner of The Playstore, a Berkeley-based online retailer of wooden toys; Fairplay, nonprofit organization committed to helping children thrive in an increasingly commercialized, screen-obsessed culture

Laura Rafaty, executive director, Napa Valley Museum Yountville