16 Odd Things Kids Did in the ’60s That Would Stun Us Today

Baby boomers grew up in a completely different environment, with a stark contrast between the parenting of the ’60s and today. Kids in the 60s enjoyed more freedom and a safer environment, and parenting methods were vastly distinct.

Unlike today’s screen-bound children, they lived life to its fullest. Reflecting on those activities reveals how much childhood has changed over the past decades. While some things might seem dangerous and outdated now, they were completely normal in the 60’s.

Playing Outside Until Dark

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Playing outside until late was not an issue back then. The neighborhoods were safe, and there was less concern about stranger danger. Kids spent most of their free time outdoors, from dawn until dusk, returning home by dinner or after sunset. Parents were less worried because the era had a safer and well-connected community.

Riding in Cars Without Seatbelts

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Seatbelt laws were enacted in the late 60’s, so kids often enjoyed car rides without safety measures. They even sat in the front seat or on their parents’ lap, which would be a nightmare for today’s safety-conscious parents.


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Back then, hitchhiking was a completely normal and economical way to travel from one place to another. Kids often caught rides from kind-hearted strangers to explore new places. It was seen as an adventurous and fun way to travel. Safety was not a big concern due to the lower crime rates and the greater sense of trust that was prevalent at the time.

No Worries About Online Safety

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Boomers were born in an era where online safety was no concern because the internet did not exist during their childhood. The concept of cyberbullying, digital threats, identity theft and exposure to unsuitable material was unheard of. Parents didn’t need to supervise their children or worry about online safety. Their safety concern was more about physical space than the virtual one.

Drinking Water From A Hose

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Water quality was generally better at that time compared to today. It was very common for kids to quench their thrust with a water hose instead of running inside the house for the filtered bottle.

Today, parents do not allow this due to concerns about water quality, but in the’60s, it was a perfectly acceptable and normal way for children to stay hydrated.

Cooling Off With Fire Hydrants

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In the 60s, cooling off with fire hydrants was a common way to beat the summer heat. Neighborhood kids would gather around open hydrants, turning them into makeshift water parks.

This cherished activity provided a fun and communal way to stay cool on the hot days and create lasting summertime memories.

Playing With Toy Guns

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Modern parents are often concerned about the impact of playing with toy guns on their children, but it was a common pastime for baby boomers. They played imaginative games like wars or cops and robbers, joyfully flaunting their toy guns.

These toys were seen as harmless fun, fostering creativity and social interaction rather than being viewed as a negative influence.

Summer Part-time Jobs

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Opting for jobs during summer break or after school was common for the boomer generation. These jobs gave them a sense of responsibility, financial independence, and many crucial life lessons at an early age. They helped cultivate a strong work ethic and prepared them for the demands and expectations of adult life. Today, strict labour laws and a greater focus on academics make summer jobs less prevalent among today’s youth.

No Participation Trophies

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In the boomer generation, there was no concept of a participation trophy. Competitions were about winners and losers, and trophies were awarded based on achievement rather than mere participation. The practice of awarding participation trophies was introduced later to celebrate the journey as well as the result.

Homemade Halloween Costume

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For baby boomers, making Halloween costumes at home was a fun and creative activity. They would use materials available around the house, crafting scary costumes from bedsheets, cardboard boxes, and painted white bags. This tradition fostered creativity, resourcefulness, and DIY culture among children, making Halloween more special and memorable.

Going to the School Alone

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Boomers often made their way to school without parental supervision. Neighborhoods were considered safe, and children had more freedom to navigate their surroundings independently. This fostered a sense of responsibility and self-reliance, as kids learned to manage without supervision or digital devices.

Watching TV Without Parental Control

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Unlike today, boomers could watch TV without parental control. With limited channels on TV, and generally appropriate content, kids could enjoy their favorite shows for hours without supervision. They were free to explore the different programs without restrictions. In contrast to today, when all sort of contents are readily available to watch, parental control is incredibly necessary.

Smoking in Public Space

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In the 60s, smoking was not considered as harmful and unhealthy as it is today. People were less aware of its detrimental health impacts, making it widely acceptable to smoke in public spaces. Boomers could smoke in restaurants, offices, and airplanes without any restrictions. This cultural norm is widely unaccepted today, with strict limits now in public places to protect health.

No Sunscreen on Vacations

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Sunscreen was not popular during the boomer generation. Kids would go on vacation and play on the beach for hours under the sun without applying any sunscreen. The danger of UV rays was not well known, and pollution levels were lower, making this a normal part of their life. The modern generation is more aware of these dangers, with a higher risk of skin disease or cancer.

Unsafe Crib

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Crib designs in the baby boomers’ era were vastly different from today and would not meet modern safety standards. Features like wide slats, decorative cutouts, and drop-side mechanism posed risks and offered minimal protection. In contrast, modern cribs are designed with strict guidelines to ensure utmost safety.

Trampoline without Safety Net

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Kids in the 60s would spend hours jumping on trampolines without any safety nets, which would cause a mini heart attack for today’s parents. However, back then, parents were less stringent and not overly concerned about occasional injuries, making trampolines a beloved source of outdoor fun and excitement.

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