Mom Life

What Happened to the Cereal Box Toy?

I got a little tingle of nostalgia this morning when I noticed our box of Froot Loops proclaimed it had a Spider-Man figure inside. Now that sugary morning cereal has reentered my life, I’d been wondering when the toys went away. I still recall the days of choosing my breakfast cereal based on what awesome toy was inside, most likely advertised during my Saturday Morning Cartoons. And while we’re on that topic, I’m also not sure when the cartoons went away.

So when my son asked why Spider-Man was on the back of the box, I took a closer look. And by that I mean held the box at arm’s length so I could read the tiny writing. As soon as I saw words akin to “Free Toy Inside!,” visions of Wacky Wall Walkers danced in my head. I was a pro at removing toys from brand new cereal boxes because there was NO way I was waiting around to finish a whole box before I got my prize. It was a delicate maneuver that removes the toy yet leaves the box unmangled so as not to alert any parents I’d just jammed my grubby kid arm all up in our breakfast.

My technique involved sticking my arm down in the box at one end while tilting the box to move the cereal. I’d then work my way all the way around the four corners until locating and extracting the toy.

Today I took a different approach. Wizened by years of cereal eating, I just gently tugged the bag until it came out so I could easily spot the treasure nestled inside.

But there was no toy to be found! Then I looked inside the box and spotted a small plastic wrapped card. So this is what they consider a Toy Surprise these days:


A cardboard cutout of Spider-Man in his new stealth suit. Woohoo! I mean, come on! Where’s the bike spokes reflectors? or maybe a little Shrinkie Dink? I went through boxes and boxes of Apple Jacks just to feed my Wacky Wall Walker obsession. Are we supposed to buy cereal based on it’s actual ingredients now? The horror.

My son looked at cardboard Spider-Man and was not impressed. I was all like “You know, back when I was little, cereals came with fun toys…”

*sigh* I really miss the showmanship cereals used to have. It’s like they’re not even trying anymore πŸ™„

So what was your favorite cereal box toy?

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