For a venerable toy company that has brought so much fun and hours of imaginative play to generations of children, Tonka didn’t start out making fun stuff.
As one website notes,
“Tonka Toys first began in 1946 as a partnership between three individuals who started Mound Metalcraft Incorporated. The company was located in an old three-story schoolhouse and began as a manufacturer of metal garden tools, such as rakes, hoes and shovels.”
Useful perhaps, but not much fun.
However, the three proprietors did have the foresight to buy the rights to some big, metal toys that had been designed by the building’s previous tenant. Today, Tonka is probably best known for their dump truck, but at first, they didn’t make a single one.
Instead, they really only made a steam shovel and a crane. But those were apparently quite popular since they sold over 37,000 of them in the first year alone. That was 1947, but the company didn’t change its name to Tonka Toy Company until 1956. And the ever-popular Mighty Steel Dump Truck was introduced in 1964.
This means that at least four generations of kids have had the fun of building with these trucks! And the fun continues today.
Our 4 Fundemonium Favorite Tonka Toys
At Fundemonium, we recognize that we all grew up with Tonka toys, along with numerous other now forgotten ones. But the Tonka trucks and vehicles of our childhoods are still with us and are still as much fun today as they were when we were kids.
With that in mind, we’ve provided a brief round-up of four of our favorite fun Tonka toys.
1. TONKA Metal Movers
These are great for small hands and indoor play!
The Tonka Metal Movers are miniature versions of the larger, classic Tonka vehicles, but are perfect for playtime in the house and on the floors. It’s a whole new way to play with all the perennial favorite Tonka vehicles! Parents will appreciate the no-mess play with Tonka Tough Dirt, a clean sand compound that mimics real dirt and can replicate rugged construction site conditions while encouraging hours of mini-adventures.
2. TONKA Bulldozer
One of the best parts of any construction adventure is clearing the way for everyone else.
And the Tonka Bulldozer is a classic, heavy-duty toy truck built for the toughest construction chores your child can muster! With a large, workable bulldozer blade, this robust vehicle is sure to clear anything in its path. Perfect for grading, clearing, and demolishing, the Tonka Bulldozer is an ideal addition to any child’s construction crew.
3. Steel TONKA Frontloader
Sometimes a tough construction chore requires a vehicle that can load dirt and haul it!
The Tonka Classic Steel Front Loader is built to take on any loading and hauling construction jobs! This massive black and yellow monster of a machine lets your child move the front loader up and down to load large quantities of dirt, rocks, or sand and then transport it all from one job site to another.
4. Steel TONKA Dump Truck
Any parent born after 1960 probably remembers their first Tonka toy. And it was most likely a steel Tonka dump truck.
Now, your little heavy equipment operator can enjoy playing with the Mighty Steel Dump Truck for hours on end. The Tonka Steel Classics Mighty Dump Truck is built for years of hauling! The sturdy, steel construction of this venerable vehicle means that it is always ready for the toughest hauling and dumping jobs. Simply move the bed up and down to trigger its awesome unloading action!
A Familiar Toy in a Changing World
While we know that generations of little boys have excavated, bulldozed, hauled, dumped, and paved untold tons of dirt and rocks for over 60 years with these trucks, they are enjoyed by little girls, as well.
Today, toddlers and youngsters continue to carve out imaginary roads and other structures with these tough, robust, and brightly colored toy trucks. And, even more recently, it’s especially comforting to know your children are safely occupied in the backyard or the sandbox at the park, playing in the outdoors instead of staring at a screen.
And because of their pedigree, Tonka toys retain value beyond the sentimental.
Some vintage Tonka toys can demand as much as $800 on sites such as eBay, for example. And, given the fact that many Tonka trucks from the 50s and 60s are still around and in solid shape, they provide an excellent “return on investment” for the conscientious toy-buying parent or grandparent.
At Fundemonium We Love Tonka!
Our Fundemoniacs have a special place in their hearts for Tonka toys. There’s something special about those rugged, yellow vehicles that stirs the young child in each of us.
You’ll love them, too, for their practically indestructible long lifespan and universal appeal among small children, both boys and girls. Explore our large selection of miniature Tonka construction and work vehicles, along with other types of toy cars, boats, planes, and other toys that go “Vroom!”
Fundemonium is more than a store – it’s a fun family experience, where families and friends can meet and play. Here you can find strategy board games and other indoor fun products along with toys, crafts, and hobby items.
Fundemonium is a safe and friendly place where adults and children of all ages can enjoy creative fun. In addition, we have a great selection of games, toys, arts and crafts, and hobby products for your entire family.
And you can be sure that our welcoming and knowledgeable staff makes it their business to help you have fun.
We always do our best to quickly respond to website inquiries about card games (and more!) or you can also find answers to your questions by calling us at (707) 540-0701.
Just give us a call during our business hours if you’d like to speak directly with one of our Fundemoniacs.