Watching my own children grow up brings me nostalgia for my own childhood.
There are so many things I experienced growing up in the nineties that my children will never get to experience. Some things are better left in the past, but some things were fantastic. Either way, here’s what they are missing from my childhood in the nineties.
A – Apple IIe computers
This is what we had in our computer lab at school. (Yes, one computer lab for the entire school to share.) You couldn’t do much with these computers, but it was better than sitting in class!
There was a seemingly endless series of these books! I felt like Claudia, Mallory, and Kristy, and Dawn were my friends. Unfortunately, these books didn’t inspire me to babysit anyone.
How cool was crimped hair?! Alright, so my hair was on the frizzy side, but I felt so fancy when it was crimped. It was such a pain to use the crimping iron that it was only for special occasions.
D – Dunkaroos
What better snack could you wish for? It was portable and sent your blood sugar levels into an immediate spike. Dunkaroos offer all the satisfaction of cookies and icing without all the effort.
E – Etch-a-Sketch
The Etch-a-Sketch is the perfect toy for car rides! It’s quiet and doesn’t need batteries. If you make a mistake, just shake it away! I spent hours drawing on my Etch-a-Sketch. I even bought them for my kids, but they weren’t quite as enthusiastic as me. This iPad precursor was a staple in childhood in the nineties.
F – Frank, Lisa
Lisa Frank was the queen of eighties and nineties design. What girl could resist cutesy animals in eye-popping colors? You could have rainbows spattered all over your school supplies.
G – Guess jeans
I thought Guess jeans were so cool. Unfortunately, they were also too expensive for my family. I remember the day I opened a bag of hand-me-downs to find a Guess sweatshirt. Jackpot!
H – Hungry Hungry Hippos
Why was this game so fun? All you do is smack a button to make your hippo eat marbles as quickly as possible. For some reason though, this game could actually hold our attention.
I – Island of the Blue Dolphins
This book was written in 1960, but I read it in the nineties as a child. I felt so grown up learning words like abalone. It also inspired me to write my own story of a family shipwrecked on an island. Unfortunately, it didn’t inspire me enough to actually finish the story.
The jungle gyms of the early nineties were dangerous places. We had blisteringly hot metal slides, often built over hard surfaces. Our play structures were built of wood which could give gigantic splinters. The best were merry-go-rounds. I spent a lot of my recess time desperately clinging on to the metal merry-go-round, trying not to fly off. It was so much fun!
K – Kid Cuisine
Kid Cuisine was frozen food at its finest. Just pop the tray in the microwave and you have an instant meal! It was all gloppy and the temperature was never right, but who cared?! It was food just for kids!
L – Lite-Brite
Use millions of little pegs to make beautiful pictures! I loved this toy! When I bought one for my kids, I just ended up with millions of pegs in all corners of my house.
M – Mouse Trap
This was the best board game ever! I didn’t even care about playing, I just wanted to build the trap and catch some mice. Come to think of it, I still want to build the mousetrap!
N – NSYNC
Ah, NSYNC could inspire tween and teen girls to shriek at the highest volumes possible. It was mandatory to play their songs at school dances and mandatory to hang up posters in every girl’s bedroom. I still crank up the radio when an NSYNC song comes on. My kids just roll their eyes.
O – Oregon Trail
This was the one computer game we were allowed to play at school. It was semi-educational, I guess. Shoot animals and try not to die while your covered wagon makes its way across the country.
P – Polly Pocket
Polly Pocket was the perfect toy to take in the car. (Except for the fact that the small people are easily lost.) Polly was simple in my day, just a small plastic girl in a plastic clamshell world. I don’t even recognize what these toys have evolved into today.
I loved reading magazines and they were all chock-full of quizzes. Find out what tv character you are! Find out what type of boyfriend you should have! It was impossible to skip over a quiz without taking it!
R – Reading Rainbow
I loved books and I loved television, so of course, I loved this show! In fact, I can still sing the theme song. Also, LeVar Burton is fantastic, both then and now.
S – Slap Bracelets
Slap bracelets were such a fashion statement! Every cool girl had one. Open it up, then just slap it right onto your wrist. Super cool.
T – Tamagotchi
Tamagotchi was a tiny little electronic animal that you had to care for. Or if you’re like me, you forget to feed it and it died. Tamagotchi should have served as a warning about how hard it is to take care of children and/or pets.
U – Uno card game
Uno is the best card game! My kids actually like this part of my childhood. I remember playing as a child when my hands were too small to hold the cards. My parents bolted two round container lids together to make a cardholder. Perfect!
V – VHS cassettes
We had to go rent VHS cassettes from Blockbuster if we wanted to watch a movie. Cross your fingers that it’s still available when you get to the store! My kids wouldn’t even know how to rewind a VHS tape to avoid those extra fees.
W – Walkman
I began the nineties with a Walkman, which played cassette tapes, and ended the nineties with a Discman, which played CDs. Either way, I felt really cool listening to music on the go.
X – X-rays
I had to get x-rays after fainting on a field trip in kindergarten. The part that sticks with me is what happened afterward; I got treated to a banana split! All for me! The fact that I remember this over thirty years later tells you how excited I was.
Y – You’ve Got Mail
This movie pretty much sums up the nineties email experience. We had to wait while for dial-up internet, which then meant that no one could make or receive phone calls. Then you had to get your slow computer to boot up and actually open your email. We had so much more patience back then.
Z – Zippers
We used zippers as decoration. Why? I’m not sure. I do remember owning a pair of jeans with fabulous pink zippers, though. Why? Again, I’m not sure. Some of our outfits were completely ridiculous in the nineties, but at least they made us happy!
What are your favorite parts of childhood in the nineties?
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