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The Sunshine Family
by Mattel

Read memories from others.

More memories from:    2003-2005   

This memory was added on: May 31, 2011

I pestered for two years to get the Sunshine Family. Being a boy in the early 70’s it was very difficult to talk my parents into a family of dolls. Finally, after two years they gave in – and in a BIG way.

For my 7th birthday I received the family, the house, and all the craft kits.

Then at Christmas, seeing that my head had not exploded from playing with “girl toys” they bought me the Craft Van. Later I got the farm. I was a farm kid- grew up on a dairy farm, and I was an artist from a very young age.

I went to university - Fine Arts major - and worked professionally as an artist and designer / sculptor for many years with toy and collectable companies – until all the design jobs in my area were shipped overseas.

At that point I set out on a very similar path to that of the Early Sunshine Family — selling my work at Art shows and galleries and traveling around the country to do it. I am always amazed at the comments made about the Sunshine Fun Family “selling out” or that Stephie “marred” her complexion by wearing make up.

Firstly - a lot of artists and homespun types wear make up – even John Denver wore foundation.

Secondly — I have no problem with them “selling out” if that’s what they did (LOL) – When is the last time someone who complained about these “dolls” selling out and moving to the “burbs” actually paid an artist a fair wage to produce something amazing for them.

Most artists need to put so many hours of work into one piece that they really don’t get paid much by comparison. Add to that table fees and show fees travel expenses web site expenses and the cost of materials and it can be very hard some months to even be able to afford a new hairstyle or a case of eye shadow. I am sure the Sunshine Family made the decision the worked best for their growing family and for the record I think Stephie looks GREAT in eye shadow---she probably always wanted it but just couldn’t afford it when she was traveling round trying to live off craft fair sales. LOL

Anyway, all that aside, it’s really FUN to come here and see so many wonderful experiences others have had with The Sunshine Family!

And for those interested in the artist side of things I will share with you that the Mattel Artist who sculpted the Sunshine Family was Martha Armstrong Hand.

Martha was a personal friend of mine when I was working in the toy industry as a sculptor and she confessed that the Sunshine Family were a project that was very close to her heart.

Tracey M

This memory was added on: April 18, 2010

I received the Sunshine Family Dolls for my 10th birthday in 1976. I love these dolls. My older sister had Barbie's but I never wanted to play with them. So we would play with all the dolls together in our own little world. We made clothes, furniture, and houses for them. I still have my dolls and even now that my daughter is 21 we still take them out with my daughter-in-law and play.


This memory was added on: March 11, 2010

I received the Sunshine Family and their camper truck for Christmas in 1975. They were my absolute favourite dolls ever (Barbie had nothing on them). I played for hours and hours with them. I eventually also acquired the grandparents and the curly red haired baby. Today I was in an antique store and stopped in my tracks, for there in front of me was baby Sweets! I purchased her of course. What a great memory from my childhood.


This memory was added on: November 7, 2009

Oh how I miss my Sunshine Family. I now have a daughter that is 3 and want so bad to have them back! I had almost every activity set you could get and I took such great care and pride in not loosing any of the pieces and now...they're gone. My Fathers new wife was cleaning out our old toys and to a yard sale they went. I'm crushed and heartbroken. I thought they were tucked safe inside a box in my Dad's attic. I had so many hours of fun with them. Yes, they were ahead of their time. A "green" family! I miss the dog and cat too. The two story house they shared and lived in. Glad to see that others out there shared the same joy I did!


Pam Simms

This memory was added on: August 18, 2009

Wow, my mom was a single parent too, I don't know how she managed it but I had/have all of these dolls and sets except the farm. I even have the 2 story pets house with all of the pieces. I have the house, the craft store, the craft wagon, the babys room, the surrey cycle, the extra babies, the clothes, kits, most in there boxes! My son wanted to see them and I got them out one day and he played with them. I loved them because they looked so cute and friendly, and happy.

Diana Hentz

This memory was added on: May 3, 2009

Well, over the years I have managed to save my dolls along with the Sunshine Family cat and dog. I let my nephew play with them and when I went to find them last year I discovered that my sister had donated them in a lot of miscellaneous toys. I was crushed. I'm searching mad for the cat for silly reasons. I now own a cat that looks just like the Sunshine Family Cat and when we go away for the weekend I would like the little toy to be with us so it's like my real cat is along with us. Silly? Yes, I know but I'm looking for the cat. Can anyone help me here? Does anyone have one that they would like to sell or give away?


Age 38

This memory was added on: November 30, 2008

I never had these dolls as a child, but my friends did. I liked them, though I thought Mom and Dad had youthful faces. The baby was really cute. I found the family (baby was dressed in a homemade outfit) at a flea market. Over the years, I've babysat many little girls, and a lot of them have really enjoyed playing w/ the Sunshine Family. Even today, a little girl named Niani, (age 5), whom I have not seen in months, asked to play w/ them first thing. She likes to use my Tonka Jeep and pretend that the go to the park, shopping, to the movies, and home to bed. These dolls are timeless.


This memory was added on: November 26, 2008

When I moved from my country to the US I had to leave all my toys behind. With deep sadness I had to let go of my Sunshine Family, their house, farm, pets, and nursery. It dawned on my to look these adorable dolls on line. When I saw the pictures of ‘my little family’ it completely took me back to my childhood bedroom where I kept all my toys. I am almost 40 years old, and seeing these pictures made me feel as an eight year old again. WOW!!! - I wish I could buy these dolls again and all the accessories.


This memory was added on: November 26, 2008

My memory was of my sister having the dolls when she was 11,she loved those dolls and we were living with my aunt at the time, we stayed downstairs in the basement, one cold winter night after it had just snowed yet again,my cousin had become angry with my sister and grabbing her dolls the whole family opened the small window and launched the whole family outside in the bitter cold. Well, she started crying and sobbing madly and it was so much, I ended up squeezing myself through that little window and out plunk right in that cold snow to rescue The Sunshine Family on a cold winters night.


This memory was added on: October 26, 2008

I recently unpacked all of my old dolls and found every member of the sunshine family including the mother, father , blond baby, grandparents ,red haired baby, and the black mother, father and baby. I have given them to my own 6 and 8 year old girls with the hope that they will have as many enjoyable hours as I did.


This memory was added on: March 10, 2008

The best part about this family is making furniture for them. My mother helped me make an ottoman out of an aerosol hairspray cap, stuffed with cotton, and some colorful material held with a rubber band over it. Great fun!


This memory was added on: February 8, 2008

I remember sitting on the floot next to my Dad who was trying to take a nap on the sofa and BEGGING for the Sunshine Family. When I finally got them, I played with them forever. I had the camper (cant remember its name) as well. I loved to take them on "trips" behind the table in the den and have them get all set up for their camp-out. Ive told my boys (ages 6 and 10) about how great the Sunshine Family was, and they sort of look at me like Im nuts!


This memory was added on: January 23, 2008

The Sunshine Fun Family was my absolute favorite childhood toy. I didn't have the accessories, etc., but I do remember making chairs out of toilet paper rolls and "borrowing" accessories from other toy groups. Whenever my dogs would maul the family members, I'd always beg for a new set. If Ebay had been around then, the Sunshines might not have had quints of the little baby boy. Now (at 37) I have re-collected the Sunshine Family, the Sunshine Fun Family, the Happy Family (the African American version), and the Happy Fun Family. I've even found the dog!


This memory was added on: October 14, 2007

My sisters are 10 and 7 years older than me and I'm the baby so of course, I had all of the greatest and latest of toys back. When they had to make cardboard houses for their troll dolls, My sunshine family who were my Barbie and Ken's next door neighbors and best friends were in the upper elite and living in another Barbie doll plastic house that I had! I spent every day that I could sitting in our (second) living room playing all my sister's 45's of the Cowsills, Archies, and everything else you could think of and did nothing but play house with my Sunshine Family and Barbie and Ken because in my world, everyone lived in harmony.

I usually stuck a cotton ball up the mother's dress because I wanted her to be pregnant again. My Sunshine Family had all the modern conveniences that Barbie could give them. They even borrowed Barbie's camper several times with the little pop out side and they took trips on Barbie's Airplane too because of course being the spoiled rotten baby, I had it all! Thanks Mattel for letting my mom listen to Charlie Rich, Dolly Parton, Tom Jones and every other 70's singer on her great big LP stereo console in peace while I played quietly.


This memory was added on: September 11, 2007

I actually never had the dolls, but I had the Sunshine Family paperdolls. My mom bought them for me at a garage sale, along with a Trixie Belden paperdoll set. I played with those for hours on end!

Austin, TX

This memory was added on: June 1, 2007

My younger sister had the Sunshine Family and I was so jealous. I remember their large, expressive eyes and how the baby felt when you squeezed her, which I am sure I did out of anger.

Thanks for the memories!


This memory was added on: May 26,2007

I remember asking Santa for the Sunshine Family when I was about 7 years old. I specifically remember my dad asking me what I wanted Santa to bring me and I was very certain I wanted the Sunshine Family. I remember waking up Christmas morning in 1977 and seeing the whole family laid out for me on our living room chair. It is one of my best toy memories of Christmas. I only wish I had kept them. My 4 year old little girl would love playing with the same dolls as mommy did.

J Roberts

This memory was added on: May 18,2007

My feminist mom wasn't a big Barbie fan, so I had the Sunshine Family. It was fun and all, but my neighbor kid had the Barbie Dream House and about 4,000 accessories. As much as I wanted to dig the eco-friendly Sunshine Family, their ottoman fashioned from a shaving cream can lid filled with cotton balls and covered with a peice of fabric--their milk carton kitchen table--their baby cradle made from an old match box--it all just seemed lame when compared to the three-story pink behometh complete with elevator and makeup vanity.

While I can now appreciate the Sunshine Family's attempts at sustainable living, at the time, I really, really wanted that Barbie.


This memory was added on: May 16,2007

I have no idea whatever happened to the parents, but I renamed the baby Thumbelina Sweets, and I used to take her EVERYWHERE with me!! She is in a number of family photos over a period of 2-3 years, because I refused to put her down. I took her to school with me in 4th grade, and one of my friends took to sewing little outfits for her. One day I lost Thumbelina outside during recess, and then that winter, another classmate, who had been iceskating on the sidewalk at recess (yes, the school allowed it back then!), found her staring up through the ice and chipped her out with the back of the skate!! Thumbelina Sweet's hair stuck straight up from then on, and no amount of headband-wearing or hair gel ever got it to lay flat again... Anyways, we had a border collie named Bandit who was extremely jealous of her; one day I placed her on the table and left the room for a minute, and when I returned, I found her being mauled to oblivion by him--when I finally managed to pry her from his jaws, her arms had both been amputated and were now little nubs!! She was never quite the same after that, and was eventually placed in my bureau drawer to retire. Yet, as I write this, she is here in front of me, with her freaky punked-out hair, stubby arms, inked-up face, scratched, murky blue eyes, wearing a little red handstitched dress with threaded star design on the front, tapered waist, and a single red button on the back, made with love by a 10-year-old girl so many years ago. And I wouldn't trade her for the world.


This memory was added on: March 26,2007

I'm not quite sure why we weren't allowed to play with Barbies, but I think I remember it having to do with their very large breasts and high heeled feet! So, we had the Sunshine family. My sisters and I played all summer long with them. We took them on roadtrips down by the creek in their Craft Vans (there was real mud caked in those tires, and in the soles of those little hiraches!) where the families built campfires, swam, sold belts and took care of their babies. Even though we had 3 or more families we kept the original names, so everyone's baby was called "Sweets". My cousins (all boys) played upstream with their GI Joes and would sometimes abduct some of the Steves (I think they somehow thought they were freeing the Steves from their craftsy fireside chats ?!) My sisters and I loved these families and they lived mostly in sweet harmony by themselves and later with the Happy Family, until the Southern Belle offshoot dolls were introduced. As you can imagine Pocohontas was able to assimulate into the rugged outdoor lifestyle fairly well, however the Southern Belle dolls (I can't remember their real names, but we called them all Nellie like from Little House on the Prairie) were all too uptight to adjust and became our antagonists. In the end the Sunshine families would always win whatever wilderness battle they had endured and lived happily ever after in our memories!!

In real life I found myself at Art School and then following the Dead. I wonder about the early influence of these hippy dolls?! My sisters are artists as well, with one teaching and the other working in public policy. I now have settled down with my own little baby (named Lily!), but I am still searching for Steve!

Angy Noell Teasley

This memory was added on: March 26,2007

I just had a great trip back to '75 reading these memories. I played OUTSIDE with my Sunshine Family and their camper. Used to put the baby in the little sleeping space above the cab of the truck. Not having saved any of these special toys, it's great to see the pictures on E-Bay.


This memory was added on: March 18,2007

Oh my, did this give me a flash back! I loved the Sunshine family!


This memory was added on: March 8,2007

I was trying to remember the family and googled it and learned it was the Sunshine Family. I still have the coloring book - in a plastic sleeve. I had the family and probably still have them somewhere. I used to pretend it was the Stephenses from Bewitched (Darren, Samantha and Tabitha) because the color of the hair. That was my favorite show. I don't remember if I had any other toys related to the Sunshine family.


This memory was added on: March 5,2007

My Mom gave me the sunshine family as an alternative to Barbie,I fell in love with them immediately! The best part for me was the creative crafts booklet that came with them. I remember making a table out of the bottom of a milk carton and gluing fabric to it. They really expanded my imagination and I worked for hours on creating a home for them out of recycled materials from around the house. All my friends played with Barbie & her fancy stuff, but for the first time I didn't feel left out, instead I felt special to be the only one I new to own the SSF!


This memory was added on: February 23,2007

I can't even begin to explain how important these dolls were to me. Baby sweets was my favorite, but, I renamed her Rosie. She was contstantly with me for about three years. She knew everything about me. She was in numerous pictures with me...we went to school together...trips...the tub...everywhere. My brother would hide her from me to tease me...I hated that. When I went away to school my younger sister got a hold of her and cut off her hair to be Barbies baby. I was devastated! I still have Rosie today at the age of 37. I now have a three year old daughter who I almost named Rosie. I let her play with her sometime ago and when I wasn't watching she chewed on her head and popped her eye out...devastated again! I keep Rosie up on a shelf in my daughters room now, where she will be loved and cherished forever. I love you Rosie.


This memory was added on: February 23,2007

I wanted Barbie so badly but my mother hated Barbie so instead she got me the Sunshine family. I hated them at first but ended up liking them. My mom did buy me the Barbie beach camper but of course I had to play with the Sunshine family in it. Man I wish I still had those dolls!


This memory was added on: February 20,2007

My sister and I have the entire set of "The Sunshine Family" and yes, Carol 1972 the brown dog and cat belong to them. The "Grandpa Sunshine" as we call him looks exactly like my uncle! Those dolls bring back more memories than Barbies because there was only a select few....but what good memories they are! We now let our daughter's play with them and they enjoy them just like we did.


This memory was added on: February 19,2007

I'm 39 years old, and my mom just told me people are buying and selling Stephen, Stephie and Sweets dolls on ebay. I looked them up and sure enough, they are collector's items! I had those dolls when I was little. here's the weird thing. Believe it or not, we are the REAL family the dolls were based on. Yes, my dad, Steve, had a brother-in-law who was an executive at Mattel in the 1970s. My parents, Stephen and Stephie, moved the family to SF, CA in the early 1970s, driving across the country in VW van. They were avant garde hipsters, and they were into new-age stuff just like you see in the toy sets. Stephen and Stephie turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. The rest is history!


This memory was added on: February 14,2007

The Sunshine Family is the best! I had them when I was little and now have purchased mint sets. I wish I still had the exact set that I had when I was little. I got them for Christmas probably in 1976 or 1977.


This memory was added on: February 8,2007

I had never heard of the Sunshine Family until I received Steve & Stephie with a Daisy doll I bought - my aunty remembers them though! I find them quite gorgeous and have added a page with pics of my small selection on my website. www.mydaisydoll.20m.com Look for the page titled 'mattel'. Also if you get a pop up when visiting the site, click on cancel and then click on your 'back' button. Hope you like my pics - I hope to add more. I've got the gardening set coming in the mail tomorrow. TARNS :) (New Zealand)


This memory was added on: February 3,2007

My sister and I each had the Sunshine Family! We played for hours and hours. We saved up and bought the four-wheeled bicycle to share. Malibu Barbie, in her olympic gymnast leotard, and Holly Hobbie "played" nicely with the Family. The only family member to survive younger siblings and lots of nieces is the baby in it's yellow sleeper and the baby bed/bottle. Thanks for the memories. Too bad we had to grow up, and too bad dolls like that aren't played with or available anymore. I look at the "Bratz" dolls and just cringe, thinking my infant daughter would wish for a doll like that as much as I had wished for my sunshine family.


This memory was added on: January 31,2007

I remember getting the family set and the house which came with a cool rocking chair. There were also instructions on how to make your own sofa out of a milk carton which we did. I loved the smell of them brand new and I loved the little baby best!


This memory was added on: January 30,2007

I loved my Sunshine Family so much, like, as much as I loved my Raggedy Ann. I thought they were neat because they were so NOT Barbies. I guess I was a different kind of girl then, and was happy to have something different than Barbie. I'm still kind of different and don't usually go with the mainstream. So my mom must have seen that trait and nurtured it with my Sunshine Family.

I loved the house, the baby, and especially the gardening tools that I could pretend to make the mom use. She was so sweet, just like my mom was to me.


This memory was added on: January 21,2007

It is so much fun to read these posts...what I see most is the memories we all seem to have of using our imaginations to turn a STYROFOAM Big Mac box (okay, I know, I am dating myself here!) into a lovely arm chair and ottoman for Steve and Stefie! I think we were just about the last generation that enjoyed the true innocence of childhood. Yes, they were shorter than "Barbie", and yes, Steve's leg seemed to fall off very easily, and YES, once the head came off Stefie never looked the same, but that we didn't notice until we were reminded 20 years later!


This memory was added on: January 7,2007

Oh the Sunshine Family, my favorite.. I loved the baby most (I couldn't remember her name until I read these posts and then it all came back to me). I think I received the family and house/camper for Christmas 1975. Maybe I remember these so well, because I found them hidden before Christmas and played with them, but when I put them back I left everybody in the camper! oops.. Needless to say I got caught. I love thinking back to those days, I just don't think kids really enjoy their toys like we did back then. I no longer have these toys, but I always think about them.


This memory was added on: January 4,2007

I just about remember these dolls but was told that I used to guard them with my life from my sister. I wish I still had them. I do have a brown dog and a cat that my mom says was a part of this family. I'm not sure though. Maybe someone out there knows???


This memory was added on: January 4,2007

Oh my gosh, memories! I am 38 years old and turning to sites like this is such a wonderful gift to me as I lost alot from my childhood and have nothing to remember it by, so finding photos of toys I had, and hearing others talk about how they enjoyed these things makes me smile. I do recall this family, I always thought the father was.....creepy? Thanks for this site, love it!!


This memory was added on: January 2,2007

I was not allowed to have Barbie, so I had the Sunshine Family. My family, though, had a daughter and a baby son. I had the farm with a chicken that laid eggs. They drove around in their arts and crafts van and sold their wares. I think (and hope) my mom still has them somewhere!


This memory was added on: December 31,2006

I remember begging and begging for the Sunshine Family ~ I especially remember adoring the little baby the most. He even had a teeny white flannel nappie..I regret letting them go to my nieces as they ruined them, but I still remember the hours of fun I had playing with them. I got the craft shop/camper one year for Christmas and remember one of my parents trying to put it all together and getting really frustrated!! Too bad they don't come out with retro toys every now and then for we adult children! I'm sure people would go crazy for them.


This memory was added on: December 30,2006

I remember I recieved the Sunshine Family on the Christmas of 1976- I absolutley LOOOOOOVED IT! (I was 5)


This memory was added on: December 30,2006

Oh I can't beleive what memories this brings back for me! I swear I thought I was the only onw who ever had them. I'd forgotten their names, but reading the posts I remember they are steve and steffie. Seeing the picture of the original dolls just made my day! I know I have the Steve around somewhere. Now was it my imagination or were they shorter than the reg barbie dolls?


This memory was added on: December 28,2006

I just celebrated Christmas with my parents, and they gave me a huge box full of my Sunshine Family toys from a million years ago! I played with these things for hours and hours as a kid. I have the Craft Van, the Baby's Room and some kind of house. In addition to the parents, I have the Grandparents and two babies! The funniest part is that all the little things that I made to go with them, are still in the boxes - matchbox dressers, pots made from clay, and ottomans from hairspray cap. Now my kids are SURE I was a freaky child!


This memory was added on: December 27,2006

I remember getting the Sunshine Family, their house, truck w/piggyback shack, pets w/house, new redhaired baby, clothes sets, babycare set, family of 4, country store, baby nursery, coloring books and paper dolls. I LOVED those dolls! Especially, the first set with only one child; as an only child that was somehow significant to me. I didn't play with the second set nearly as much, and I used the redhaired baby as a baby for Barbie, NOT the Sunshine family. As an adult collector I want the farm. I didn't remember there being a farm until I saw it on ebay. It would make a perfect addtion to my Sunshine World! Did anybody else trade clothes with Skipper & Steffie? Poor Steve had such a limted wardrobe. And I hated the boots, cause they were hard to get off; Steve wore Ken shoes, even if they were a little big, at least he had more to choose from then.


This memory was added on: December 21,2006

I received my Sunshine Family with the house that folded up. I still have the whole set. I'm 39 now and to know that other children loved this set as much as I do have a place to reminisce.


This memory was added on: December 19,2006

I loved the sunshine family I had the house and everything that went with them. I would not let anyone touch my susnhine family, especially the baby. My mom got them for me for my birthday. She picked me up from school and gave me the best gift in the whole world!!! My sunshine Family. I wish I still had them.


This memory was added on: December 19,2006

I haven't thought about these dolls in a long time! I googled "The Sunshine Family" after they somehow came up in a conversation with my Mom. I still have the original Steffie, an original Steve with one leg, the Grandparents, and the second Steve/Steffie set with the little girl and baby boy. They are all in my parents' garage. (I think!) The second Steffie's head came off one time and I was able to put it back on, but she never looked the same again. Her cheeks were puffed out and she had no neck. LOL! I loved those dolls and the house! I never knew there were so many other accessories, but I was only about 5 when I got that first set. I'm going to visit my parents next week, maybe I'll hunt around in the garage for my old doll box! I know my parents would love for me to take it home! LOL!


This memory was added on: December 18,2006

omg, these were great dolls, i had alot of barbies, but these are the ones i always played with!


This memory was added on: December 17,2006

I had the Steve and Stepanine and baby sweets, my sister Vicy had the grandparents. Hours and hours and hours of creative play. We made houses and cars and had huge dramitc story lines. Then my youngest sister, Libby, wanted to get in the fun. She asked Santa and my parents for the black Sunshine Family. Eveyone looked high and low for years for that family. Year after year. No one ever found it. (Living in semi-rural Minnesota in the 1970's probably had something to do with that.) We finally decided this family was a figment of her imigination and it became a sort of family joke....Well, I found it on EBAY this weekend! I can't beleive it! They are real!!! I cannot wait to give it to her this Christmas (she is 32 years old). It will be proof that we love her so much that we never gave up!! :)


This memory was added on: December 14,2006

I wasn't allowed to have barbies, instead I had the sunshine family. I loved the little boy with the blond bowl cut. I was looking through family photos one day and realized my son looked just like the sunshine son at about age 2. I just have to get one to show my son.


This memory was added on: December 10,2006

I wanted Barbie... With a hip 1970's mom, the closest I ever got was the sunshine family. I guess they were pretty cool.


This memory was added on: December 4,2006

I can't believe how many people love these dolls besides myself! Something made me go on Ebay and look, I think it was the new Holly Hobbie craze and how my sister had that, I had the Sunshine Family with the nursery set and the bike. I remember making furniture out of the strawberry container and Kleenex box. I was showing my 11-year old daughter them as I loved them so much and they are such a delightful memory. Well she wants some for Christmas, I think everybody else and their mom wants a set too, going for gold on Ebay.But I'm happy she would rather have them than the Bratz dolls. I say bring back the old toys, The Sunshine Family, The Little Professor Calculator that I loved so much, The Sesame Street Fisher Price Little People set, Real rag dolls, I had one that was purple and white checked with pink yarn hair and my mom said she had a heck of a time getting one, it was a sign of things to come like Cabbage Patch dolls. Did anyone have one of those?


This memory was added on: December 1,2006

These dolls freaked me out. Someone gave them to me when I was a little kid. I beheaded them and hid them so I didn't have to see them anymore. OK, that sounds creepy ... but I'm normal, I swear.

Cara Worth

This memory was added on: December 1,2006

They just don't make great toys like this anymore! Oh the way we used our imaginations! I had the family with the Camper Van and the river raft set. Hours of fun! Jill 1972


This memory was added on: November 22,2006

Oh how I loved these dolls. I have been thinking about these dolls a lot lately since I have been trying to Christmas shop for my three year old daughter. How vulger these modern dolls are!

I received the original family and house for the Christmas of 1975. What a great gift! I recieved all the other items (farm, bikes, pets etc) for all major holidays and birthdays for the next several years. I tried to make all the crafts that came with the craft books too. My favorite was the hippy camper and the baby nursery.

I am so thankful that my mother kept this wonderful set. I cannot wait until my daughter can play with them!


This memory was added on: November 11,2006

I am so happy I stumbled onto this site!! The Sunshine Family was my favorite! I was just looking for doll house furniture for my 2-yr-old daughter, when I suddenly remembered all the times I played with the Sunshine Family. My friend, Lynne, and I would play for hours...we loved pretending the mom was pregnant (our own moms sewed maternity clothes and panchos for our dolls!)...the grandparents were so sweet...Lynne had the pets and pet house (I was always jealous)...my younger sister had the truck and craft/pottery wheel house, and I had the farm and the nursery set...I still have it, actually, and the 3-person set as well as the 4-person set. I remember saving the containers from cherry tomatoes to make playpens for the babies...this is so much fun to remember! Thanks for the reminiscence...

Kristina Hill

This memory was added on: November 10,2006

OMG..this is way too funny...i had the whole family but some how only ended up with the baby sweets..i have always carried her around with me.lol my friend came across the family with other items that I purchased from e-bay..what great great memories it has brought back..


This memory was added on: November 9,2006

I remember when the sunshine family first came out. I fell in love with these dolls. I don't remember what year it was when I first recieved one but I had to have one every year. White or black I didn't care I wanted those dolls. I wish they were still out

This memory was added on: October 23,2006

My younger sister and I both had the Sunshine Family. We recieved it from Santa Christmas 1975-76 (not exactly sure). We would spend hours playing with this little family pretending, and wishing to be older to have a family like this. My sister and i are now much older and do have sunshine families of our own.

This memory was added on: October 4,2006

I, too had the basic sunshine family set. Mine was given to me with the hippie camper van for Christmas. I would spend hours playing with that stuff! I was five and had them still until I was eleven. I would tie a rope around the "sun roof" of the camper and pull it behind my bike when I'd go play dolls at my friends houses! Thank you Uncle Ed for the coolest toy set I ever got! Barbie didn't hold a candle to Steve and Steph!

Julie Ann

This memory was added on: September 16,2006

I had the basic family of four set and the farm set. I LOVED the cow!!! My parents kept the chicken until they moved about a year ago. My now 6 year old daughter played with it. This was such a fun set!!!


This memory was added on: September 9,2006

How cute was the baby! I made her a playpen out of a green plastic stawberry container from the market. I made lots of stuff for the family out of shoe boxes, etc. I always thought that would be the perfect family. Unfortunately the parents went missing one day. Evidently, my older sister found that if you squeezed their heads the eyes would shoot out. While doing this she must have lost the eyes. I knew nothing of this whole event so I tore the room apart looking for them. They had been shoved under the hope chest but to my horro they were now both eyeless. My sister denied doing it for years. Thank God she spared the baby (which I still have- in my "Liddle Kiddles" cas)


This memory was added on: August 19,2006

1974... Sitting on the front porch with my Sunshine Family Camping Crafts Set. These were the only 'dolls' I would play with... Considering I was a certified 'tom-boy' normally found climbing trees and catching lizards. Thanks for this message board. I enjoyed reading the other memories!

Janet Roller

This memory was added on: August 5,2006

I got these dolls for Christmas when I was 9 years old. From the time I got them, Barbie became nothing but a Nanny to the family. I had the tricycle/surry type "vehicle" that would carry the whole family-I remember it being bright green, but I guess on those outings, Barbie stayed behind to clean their house or something, 'cause she was too tall to fit! I'm almost 38 now, and these dolls, (grandparents too) are still at my parent's house, even though my parents are now retired and living in Florida. The dolls have evaded many moving sales, and remain a very favorite piece of my childhood.


This memory was added on: August 1,2006

The sunshine family was my favorite dolls to play with. I feel sad, that my little girls don't get to enjoy the imaginary play as I did as a child. The sunshine family had a role of moral family values, a clean play. Grandma and Grandpa was my favorite.


This memory was added on: July 20,2006

I really wasn't into Barbie either. But, when the Sunshine family came along I thought I was in heaven. We didn't have much money so, when we went to the fast food restaurants like McDonalds my mom would save the "Big Mac" and "Quarter Pounder with Cheese" containers for me and I would make all my Sunshine Family furniture out of them. I think they were styrofom back then so they were easy to make things out of!!!!!

Thanks for the memories!!!!!!!!!!!!


This memory was added on: July 18,2006

When I was a little girl in the 70's I was a tom boy. I didn't really like playing with barbies all that much. I was given several and hardly ever touched them. Then, I got the Sunshine Family!!! I loved them. Even my friends that were boys would play with them with me. I had some of the accesories and the pets. For every christmas and birthday, I asked for more accessories.


This memory was added on: July 17,2006

my sisters and I all LOVED the sunshine family and we all wanted to grow up and marry Steve and look just like Stephanie. I do remember that not only did the chicken lay eggs that looked like tic-tacs but you could fill the cow's udder with water and then "milk" it--how weird was that?? My sister Jen and I shared a bedroom growing up and late at night we would say to eachother "what are your sunshines doing right now?" and we would make up stories about what they might be doing (I am sure they were in the basement sleeping!!) but it was so funny. Now at ages 36 & 37 every now and then to make her laugh I'll say "what are your sunshines doing?" and she will crack up!


This memory was added on: June 11,2006

Me and my sister's favorite dollhouse (okay; only dollhouse. Wasn't it a geodome or something?


This memory was added on: June 8,2006

I had totally forgotten about the Sunshine Family until today. What a joy this has been to walk down memory lane! I wish for 1 hour I could be transported back in time to 1972. I would be playing in my room with my Baby Tender Love, Crissy Doll and Sunshine Family toys while the Partridge Family was playing on my record player, after all I was going to grow up and marry David Casidy. Life was so sweet then for a little pig tailed girl with freckles. My only worry was to get my parents to let me stay up to watch Mary Tyler More. Thanks for the memories!

This memory was added on: June 3,2006

Hi, When I was 9 years old,I got the Sunshine and the Happy Family for Christmas gift. One year later I got the Sunshine House and the Grandparents.Until today I kept my families. But I lost the Babies and the furniture. 2 years ago I bought the babies once more and the grandparents of the Happy Family. I enjoy them after all the years, like I did when I was a child. My families are now sitting on a shall. Sometimes I still play with them. Now I am looking for Mattel Spangled Doll (Native American girl). I think it would fit beautifully to the the families. But in Germany it is difficult to get one...

Little Morella
little morella@aol.com

This memory was added on: May 30,2006

Oh how I LOVED the Sunshine Family. I had the originals. In 1978 my family went to Mexico to visit my grandmother and I took my Sunshine Family with me to play with in the car (14 hours a day for 7 days to get to the very southern tip of Mexico). I never got bored. My grandmother saw how much I loved them so she crocheted slippers for every member of the family including booties for the baby. Her hands were incredibly crippled from arthritis so that the fingers folded down on top of each other. I can't imagine how torturous it was to make those booties. But I loved those dolls and she loved me. I had very little Spanish and she had no English but I knew how much she loved me every time I touched those booties. I no longer have the dolls but I still have the slippers.

Nora Pozos

This memory was added on: May 18,2006

OMG-what fun is this site-this was my favorite doll family-my mom built me a doll house and a country store just for them-I had the orignal family, the newer dressed fmaily, the family of four (it looked like my family unit as I had a baby red head brother) I had the folding house, craft store, hippie truck wagon thing, farm (didn't the chicken lay eggs??) Grandma and Grandpa and somehow I recall gettinga nusery set with twins-red headed girls?? yes, I pulled the eyes out too....weird, but fun! So 70's!! I have one more memory to share-I recall being about 8 or 9, watching As The World Turns when my mom was all into that show, and a character named Kim was knocked unconscious during a tornado, the drama of it was culminated as a "mock" tornado demolished my Sunshine family house...wow, have to go to ebay now-my three daughters would never believe it...


This memory was added on: May 16,2006

I had forgotten the name of these dolls and had to google until I found it. I had the family, but didn't have the pets or accessories. I do remember that I played with them much more than my Barbies. The best part was when someone gave me their coloring books, so I had a script for my dolls. I am going to look at my grandma's to see if they are still there. Maybe I'll try to find some on Ebay, too.

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!


This memory was added on: May 9,2006

I used to love pulling the eyes out too - I remember being fascinated by them! Isn't it funny what we did as kids?!


This memory was added on: April 30,2006

I was never really all that keen on Barbie...but oh the Sunshine Family were the best!

I had everybody...the origianl family, the grandparents, the black family, the family with the little girl and baby...even an indian, and I think a pioneer too. And they all lived and worked together in my little world, regardless of race...or time period!

Many many hours were spent dreaming up things for them to do when they went camping in the RV.

It really didn't occur to me until much MUCH later that they lived a bit of the alternative lifestyle... I mean living out of an RV? throwing pottery? farming organic produce? wearing the long flowery dresses and sandles? My god! My dolls were a commune!

I blame them now for my own bohemian hippie artist lifestyle!

My favorite memory is popping out the eyes and changing the eye color among the dolls. I don't know why that was so fun.

Recently, I discovered a naked Sunhine Family doll in my paren't house...with one blue eye and one brown eye.

Thanks for all the memories!


This memory was added on: April 29,2006

Just because someone asked - in the first editions the baby, Sweets or Hon (depending on race), was a girl. In the later edition, the ones that included a little girl doll and a baby, the little girl was Sweets or Hon grown up and the baby was now a brother.


This memory was added on: April 29,2006

I used to play and play with my Sunshine family! I loved the suggestions for making new things out of other things. The bathroom cleaner cap "Chair", the tissue box "bed"! Their eyes all fell out, too. I had the camper, the family, the pets and the grandparents. They were my favorite toys of alllll time!


This memory was added on: April 27,2006

my sister and i used to play with the sunshine family together, we had the first ones, not the ones when steve had a perm and stephie had blue eye shadow (what was mattel thinking?) we were facinated with the chicken that laid eggs, where are the good back to the earth toys now? when steves eye popped out it was such a tragedy, my mom, an ever frugal child of the 40's wouldnt just go get another, she "doctored" him up with brown magic marker. poor steve, we never felt the same about him after that.

southern girl

This memory was added on: April 22,2006

I remeber having all the craft sets with this, and matching clothes for mommys and daughters. I loved making egg crates in to everything from lamps to baby swings. This was a toy that sparked the immagination.


This memory was added on: April 18,2006

My babysitter bought me my Sunshine family. What fun times I had. Thanks for the memories!


This memory was added on: April 17,2006

We were very poor so I had only one Barbie and the the basic Sunshine family set (I still have the baby). I played with them more. Then I got the little folding house and a truck they sold vegetables out of. I remember one the mom's eyes popped out and I never found it... but I still played with her. She was "disabled" but I still loved her. My mom eventually got rid of all my toys but I managed to hide the baby so I still have it.

Janice Baker

This memory was added on: March 28,2006

Oh yeah... I had forgotten that I had these dolls!

Coming from Berkeley, California – a child of the 70's, I remember going to "Birdy's Toy Store" and choosing the Sunshine Family dolls. Of course, I had to get the Black family and the White family because this is what MY family looked like – a house full of bi-racial daughters (7!). Anyway, I clearly remember the Black guy's shiny, loosely curled fro (or was it a perm??) and his primary colored polyester muscle-shirt. I also remember that all of the dolls were kind of "ugly" compared to my flawless, anorexic Barbies, but I sure loved 'em.

Anyway, good memories. Never had the pets or the Sunshine 4-bedroom house (just saw one on EBAY).

Thanks for the memories...



This memory was added on: March 25,2006

I spent many hours playing with the Sunshine Family. I had the house, the camper/van and the dog and cat. I can remember exchanging their heads to make a cog and dat. Very fun. These were the "hippie" dolls living naturally with the farm and making their crafts to sell in their craft store. Then in the 80's when everything was about money and prestige, they became the "yuppy" Heart Family. Very sad...


This memory was added on: March 23,2006

I loved my Sunshine Family, but hadn't thought about them years. Now I have an 18 month old son that is the spitting image of Sweet Pea and all the memories came flooding back!!


This memory was added on: March 6,2006



This memory was added on: March 4,2006

My Mom gave me my 1st Sunshine Family after a trip to the Doctor and I fell in love with them. I was a little guy who had only had G.I. Joes b-4 them and Steve and Stephie quickly became friends with the G.I. Joe guys and vice Versa. My favorite accessory was the "piggy-back shack!" The Sunshine Family lived in my bed side night stand for years. I will sometimes see them at flea markets and it always brings back good memories! Keith

Keith Crowe

This memory was added on: March 3,2006

Great website thanks for the memories... I was watching tv and "Does your mother know that your out" was on in the background..(Abba) That started it! I just started googling old toys... reading the websites. The sunshine family was a wonderful part of my life and I enjoyed playing with them as well as my Barbies. I didnt have the extra pieces that went with the sunshine family (set of 3 only) the sets sound fun. But I was very lucky to have wonderful grandparents who made me a 3 story 9 room doll house equipped with painted windows wallpaper and carpet... so all my Barbies, Ken- one with moving legs that walked, one with sideburns you could change,Ballerina barbie, The Sunshine Family and... next search... Jodi doll (Very Long red hair to her feet!- along with her country store set up which fit into a whole room of my doll house but she was the same size doll as Sunshine family) could all live together. i sold The Sunshine Family's "wares" at the country store the Jodi doll owned in Barbies house. Of course Barbie bought everything in the store all the time. I remember filling the see thru bins with the candies you use on cookies as different kinds of foods, pieces of rice in tied cloth made great Bulk items. I remember making the strawberry basket items and spool chairs, no wonder even still at this day and age I am a packrat! Too much furniture to build; somewhere forgotten in time. I remember having a hard time with shoes on these dolls ,their feet were very flat and wide- hence the Birks :) Hours of fun in the sun. Still have most of these dolls -though stuffed in the house and its stuffed in a garage at Moms. Safe. (I didnt know until I read this website that their eyes changed colors let alone pop out! ewww darn boys- I had no siblings) Website brought tears of Joy to know that we all still have wonderful feelings of childhood without all these electronic gagets... (except my trusty plastic handled fold open Tan Record Player) For research purposes these dolls WERE sold in different ethnicities. Now if I could just ride off on one of those bouncy green worms with the wheels! thanks again - may you always have sunshine in your life- or in your pocket!*wink


This memory was added on: March 1,2006

I nearly killed my 85 year old Great Grandma with my Sunshine Family--they were lying all over the floor. Sigh. I loved them and dragged them everywhere!


This memory was added on: February 22,2006

I'm so happy to see all of the happy memories that the Sunshine Family brought to others. I loved my Sunshine Family. None of my friends ever remember having one as a child. I had the barn with all of the animals and the little tiny fruits and vegetables and the chicken that laid eggs and the cow you could actually milk. If only I had the forethought to have saved all of those wonderful toys my child could have had the same memories. It makes me feel old to see the toys I grew up with being sold in "antique" stores.



This memory was added on: February 17,2006

My mom saved my Sunshine Family set and the barn set - and this morning I got out the dolls and put together the barn for my 4 yr. old twins to play with. They think the set is just great! The chicken doesn't lay the eggs very well anymore, though. They have been playing with the pickup truck for a year or so already, and sadly, the wheels keep coming off. I vividly remember playing with these dolls and "milking" the cow and having the chicken shoot out the eggs all over. My friends don't seem to remember these dolls at all, so I'm glad to see there are so many out there who remember and still have this set!!!


This memory was added on: February 16,2006

We used the head of the Sunshine Family father to make our "Aunt Manly" creation. We took the father's head and put it on a regular Barbie Dolls body. Then we put her hair in little pig tails. Aunt Manly had a voice kind of like Julia Childs. She was not married but did have a long time "friend" whom she lived with. She created hours of halarious entertainment for me and my sisters! I wish we still had her!


This memory was added on: February 5,2006

I am so glad I found your site. I LOVED my sunshine family..mom dad, baby and grandparents. I had the van and everything to go with it.. I played with them forever..I think my mom still has them..must check that out.. I have looked and noticed them on ebay before.. They don't make toys like that anymore


This memory was added on: February 1,2006

WOW! I remember the sunshine family!Did they have an african american family too? I know i had the coloring book! What Great Memories!!

child of the 70's

This memory was added on: January 31, 2006

I was a very happy seven yr. old when I recieved this set and the house. There are many happy hours of imaginative play in connection with the Sunshine Family. They even beat out Ballerina Barbie! It was pretty much messed up when my cousin decided to turn the dad into a paratrouper from my Grandma's second story window and then tried to repair his leg with a wad of chewing gum. It broke my heart because he looked so much like Kris Kringle from the "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" movie and now he was broken.

Mrs. Carpena Marino
May 14, 1968