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12 Childhood Activities from the 70s That Are No Longer a Thing

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The 1970s were a time of bold fashion, groovy music, and a whole lot of social change. But while some aspects of the decade make us nostalgic, others are hard to fathom, particularly when considering the safety of the decade’s youngsters.

Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, so many of the things kids did in the 1970s were just the norm back then (before we had safety experts). And most kids wouldn’t trade those resilience-boosting activities for anything.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore those childhood experiences from the ’70s that just wouldn’t cut it in the modern world.

1. Bike Riding Without Helmets (or Supervision)

Boy riding a bike on the street, Without helmet.
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Freedom on two wheels! In the ’70s, kids hopped on bikes and roamed neighborhoods unsupervised for hours. Sadly, safety wasn’t the top priority, and there was awareness about the long-term effects of concussions.

Bike helmets? Nah! Today, we prioritize head protection and are more aware of the importance of adult supervision, especially for younger children.

2. Playing Lawn Darts (Yes, Actual Darts)

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This backyard game involved tossing giant, weighted darts with sharp metal tips. What could go wrong, right? Unsurprisingly, lawn darts were eventually banned due to numerous injuries.

These days, most modern backyard games err on the side of softer projectiles! For trendy sports like ax throwing today, kids aren’t typically allowed to join in the fun, and the sport is carried out in an environment set up to minimize the risk of injury.

3. Smoking Candy Cigarettes

Vintage of a child playing with his toys
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It seems bizarre now, but candy cigarettes were commonplace, letting kids mimic adult behavior. These days, we understand the dangers of smoking and wouldn’t dream of encouraging kids to play-act this unhealthy habit.

4. Riding in Cars Without Seatbelts

Cute little girl wear a seat belt, sleeping in a car, listening music
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Car safety in the ’70s was relaxed. Kids piled into cars with zero restraints. Thankfully, laws mandating seatbelts and car seats have significantly reduced injuries and fatalities on the road.

5. “Stranger Danger” Wasn’t on the Radar

A fireman teach the children about fire safety, putting a helmet on a child
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Kids were taught about fire safety or crossing the road, but the concept of “stranger danger” wasn’t as widespread.

Today, parents and educators are proactive in teaching kids about potential risks and how to stay safe. Sadly, the risk of child abduction is high these days, warranting an increased need for awareness.

6. Drinking From the Garden Hose

A young girl dinking a water fom a garden hose on hot summer day
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On a hot day, the cool blast of water from a hose was the ultimate refreshment. These days, we’re more aware of potential lead contamination in older hoses, so a chilled water bottle is the safer bet.

7. Playing with Creepy Crawlies

Boy playing with beetle
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Catching fireflies on summer nights was magical, but kids in the ’70s weren’t afraid to get up close with all kinds of bugs. While a healthy curiosity about nature is great, we’re now more cautious about potentially harmful insects or spiders.

8. Staying Out Until the Streetlights Came On

Kids running enjoying summer
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’70s summers meant long days playing outside, only ending when the streetlights flickered on, signaling it was time to go home. While some kids still have that freedom in safe neighborhoods, modern parents are generally more cautious and connected to their kids’ whereabouts.

9. Joke Products with Shocking Themes

Happy boy pranking with friends is putting a pink Vomiting on his hand sitting on the coach and playing.
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Remember those gag “X-ray Specs” promising to see-through clothes or fake vomit for elaborate pranks? ’70s humor had a juvenile edge that often focused on gross-out or surprise tactics. Today, we’re more sensitive and strive for genuinely funny jokes rather than mean-spirited ones (depending on the person, mostly anyway).

10. Casual Littering

Disposing of a used mask in the trash By leaving unhygienic There may be a spread of harmful germs and viruses. Healthcare concepts. black and white.
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Anti-littering campaigns existed (’70s kids might recall the “Crying Indian” commercial), but there was less social stigma about tossing trash. Thankfully, the environmental movement has made huge strides in raising awareness about the importance of caring for our planet.

11. DIY Chemistry Sets with ACTUAL Chemicals

Equipment of chemical laboratory on wooden table
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Some ’70s kids got elaborate chemistry sets that included substances you wouldn’t find in a school lab nowadays. Safety regulations, understandably, have become much stricter. While it might dampen some of the mad-scientist fun, it’s definitely for the best to avoid chemical burns, fires, or worse!

12. Getting Part-Time Jobs WAY Younger

Portrait of family with small children standing on farm, holding basket with eggs.
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Paper routes, babysitting gigs, helping at the family store or farm: it was much more common for even younger teens (or pre-teens) to earn some spending money. Nowadays, child labor laws are stricter, and schooling takes up more time, changing the trajectory of when most kids get serious about joining the workforce.

17 Insane Things That Were Acceptable for Children in the 1960s

black and white photo vintage kids on a slide
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Many of the behaviors that were deemed ordinary for children in the 1960s would be mortifying to people today. If parents from the ’60s were to raise their children in the same manner in today’s world, they might find social services knocking on their doors. As time progresses, so do parenting methods and the level of supervision and exposure provided to children.

17 Insane Things That Were Acceptable for Children in the 1960s

20 Things All 60s Kids Will Fondly Remember

An Image of Beatles Band Members
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We have come a long way from historical gems like Vinyl records and sidecars. The ’60s certainly left a lingering aroma in the minds of anyone who grew up in that era.  

20 Things All 60s Kids Will Fondly Remember

These 18 Toys Are Worth More Than Your House

A Vintage image of a Mother and her Daughter, Mother Giving a Doll to her daughter
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Have you ever heard of toys so lavish that their price tags could make your home seem less worthy? It’s beyond imagination that a toy could be worth so much. Yet, their demand, originality, and attention to detail make them valuable. Here are 18 classic toys that make playtime unexpectedly rich. 

These 18 Toys Are Worth More Than Your House


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