Growing up in the 1980s or 1990s, you clearly knew the 90s era well. You were a kid or teenager during this time and you wanted a lot of things that would be considered crazy today. This is quite common, of course. As eras go, technology expands. New stuff is invented and better products are out to pick up.
Consider Black Friday. It was a day when people would show up as early as they could the morning after Thanksgiving in the U.S. for major sales that would happen at particular stores. It was the one day of the year when you could get items for far less than they normally were.
Nowadays, we’re seeing those sales extend out and even things like Cyber Monday are in play, which gives you the ability to order stuff online and not get your arm broken on Black Friday. Technology changed how shopping is done, and that clearly means all products will change over time too.
There are things we might have begged our parents for each Christmas back in the day that would be considered trash to the kids of this generation. It is a sad but true fact that times have changed. We’re older now, and what we loved as kids is not what they love now. While you can try to give these items to your kids, we do not recommend it. Here are the fifteen things 90s kids had that they could never give their own kids.
15. Those Multi-Color Pens
Today the tech is a lot better. However, back in the 90’s and even the early 2000s, there was a pen that would allow you to write in multiple colors. They were sold for an okay price at stores, so kids could purchase them on their own or a parent would before school. They were hard to write with at times, but they were cool to have as one could write in multiple colors.
The worst part of it was that all the colors were on springs, so if you messed with it too much the springs would mess up or you might get two colors going forward and jam up. There was always that one kid who knew how to fix them in school though, so you had to rely on him. However, he always had a sea of other pens to work with. So this bulky thing was seldom worth having. But we ALL had one, but very few kids would want one today.
14. Password Journals
In the 90s, we were part of a dumb generation apparently. The password journal was quite a popular item for girls, and even for guys at times too. Though it was made by a company literally called “Girl Tech”. We could write our feelings down, and to make sure no one would see what we said, we had a password only we know. This was supposed to cure the problem of people reading diaries that a lot of people would keep to write how they felt about things.
People wanted to write without getting their stuff stolen or read, and this would be perfect. However, everyone figured out how to eventually get into them and they were usually not well put together. As kids though, we kinda loved these things. It was cool to have and it made us feel secure. Back then, there were not nearly as many problems and we felt we could trust more than we can today. There are better ways to keep your writing safe from prying eyes than this nowadays. Though Girl Tech is still selling these things…
13. Reebok’s Pump-Up Sneakers
Did we all not have this? Most of us felt like we had to. Apparently, we were quite impressionable as kids. We felt that if we pumped up our shoes, they would somehow make us basketball stars. The idea was that this pump up would add air, making us feel like they were allowing us to jump higher or move better. They did not….but we didn’t know that.
They were pretty popular, but they could be expensive. While shoes today are sometimes outrageously expensive, back then we saw them at high prices too. A pair at the price of $50 to $100 today does not seem above average, but back then? That could be rough for even adult shoes. For kids shoes?!? That was what we could see from these until they went down. They were quite common among various age groups too, even teenagers and younger adults. This made their prices drop eventually, but they were still sort of useless and would never work today.
12. Pokemon Cards
While Pokemon is still popular today, mostly among those of us who liked it in the 90s, they are nothing near what they were before. Pokemon was a MASSIVE thing back in the 90s, so Pokemon cards were like gold to a kid. We all loved it, and it was a huge international success. In America, the show took off quickly and became a must-see event every day we got home from school.
The show came back in recent years, but it is nowhere near the level it used to be. Pokemon Go! was pretty popular a while back, but it quickly dropped off after about a year. In the 90s, you were not considered a geek or freak to have Pokemon cards at all. Today, that would be the case. No one would get it, and if you tried to give cards to a kid, they might laugh. Since you can play it on your phone now, even have digital cards, the types of cards we’re used to are obsolete to kids today.
The Tamagotchi is one of the symbols of the 1990s, and for good reason…it’s practically useless today. We have similar games like The Sims that work the same, and with much better graphics. The idea behind this thing was that you had to keep it alive, and that was pretty much it. It could be added to your keychain and was basically, a virtual pet of sorts. That is the best description possible, we feel.
The idea was pretty simple in it, which is why it was well-liked by people of all ages. The background of the Tamagotchi, which kids may not know of when they first play the game is that it is an alien. The idea is that aliens came down and planted an egg that we humans have to raise to adulthood. This means we have to play with it, feed it, etc. If you kept it going, this thing could live forever. There were people who kept their Tamagotchi alive for a decade. Kids today and just about anyone with common sense would not want the thing unless it was another 90’s kid. Then they would just laugh.
It is pretty obvious this should not be a gift you get your child today, for any reason. The original Sony Walkman was pretty cool for its time though. Unlike the big and bulky boombox, the Walkman could be held or kept in a bag while headphones allowed you to listen to it in peace. Parents would love it, as they did not have to listen to your load boombox anymore due to the headphones you had on.
While this item was cool, it would be better by the Apple iPod or Zoon (seriously, Microsoft?), or MP3 player. These items allowed for us to have a much smaller item to listen to music on, and it could be done digitally without the use of tapes or CDs. This meant you could store more than 12 to 15 songs. Rather, you could store thousands.
The Walkman could never work today due to these items, but for its time it was revolutionary and every teenager just HAD to have one when they came out. They were pretty expensive originally but went down as sales climbed. New generations of it would continue for years through the 90’s and early 2000’s until the betters came along.
Really popular among girls, but also somewhat liked by boys, was the skip-it. Imagine a jump-rope, but without another person…that was the idea of the skip-it. One would have a ball that was heavy enough to rotate around a lot as long as the person had a place it would be connected to, which in this case was our leg/ankle. As one leg rotated the skip up, the other would, well, skip.
This worked out well, as one could skip with both legs and it still helped to rotate the Skip-It around. It was well-liked, and it kept kids active and in a contained area at the same time. Really, could you love anything better than that as a parent? The Skip-It kept some popularity throughout the 90s and even early 2000s, but today there are similar items that have landed better. So sadly, this is not the type of 90s gift that would go over well with the kids in comparison to items you could get them of similar value.
8. Cassette Tapes
Let’s be honest, technology has really improved over the last few decades. Compact Discs were really what killed the tape deck needs. But cassette tapes were absolutely well-worth getting in the 90s even when CDs came out. They were cheaper and easy to keep up with. Today with all the major tools to keep music digital and thus fewer objects needed, we do not have much of a need for these anymore.
While some things like records and the record player have come back into fashion, this was due to how well they sound and always did. Tapes were just okay. They did what they were intended and took us away from the bulky records and A-track stuff. The cassette tape was popular, but chances are, kids would have no idea what this was if you showed it to them now. Feel old, feel really old.
7. Nintendo Gameboy
There were very few things like the Nintendo Gameboy in the 90’s. We all had one or we had a friend who did, and we “borrowed” it from them off and on. The games were small enough to store in our backpacks and the actual Gameboy itself was easy to take anywhere with you. It was the best thing to keep around to avoid boredom. Parents loved it, as it kept us out of trouble and quiet on long trips.
The problem with these today is they are old fashioned with graphics that suck in comparison to what we have today. They always worked better for people than anything anyone else put out like it, but then Nintendo came out with their Switch. The game changed. Just like Nintendo to top themselves with stuff like this, right? Kids would naturally want the new one. Heck, so would we!
We all had something like it. And it seemed common to get one as a gift from people consistently in the 90s. The View-Master was a device that showed pictures of various places and things. It was always pretty cool and allowed us to see something on film without having to go there. These were well-liked for younger kids, as it was kind of like looking through binoculars to see something.
They worked by having some sort of film in, which would go on rotation as we clicked the side button down. New pictures would pop up in what was our best 3D material of the time. Kids loved it, and even adults got a kick out of it. However, while popular they did not have a long life. Yet some of us still have one around in storage most likely. For some reason, they always seem to show up in old stuff. This is always weird. Do not give one to your kids today, if you find one. They’ll laugh at our thoughts of 3D back then.
5. The Boombox
Let’s be honest, technology really improved on this one. The average boombox was awesome to have as a kid. You could play your favorite music and the best ones even had connections to radio frequencies to listen to your favorite stations. It was one of the best items to get, and every parent out there probably hated us when we had it on. They could get loud, and it was quite common close-living neighbors would complain about music coming from a home even when parties were not going on.
The boombox was great, but let’s be honest, there has been a lot of improvements. Music can play on much smaller devices and due to the digital signals available, you do not need a massive boombox to play radio stations. Also, music is digital as well. That means discs are useless, as well as tapes. All of what we want could be put in a device no bigger than your palm. Kids would rather have that. Ideally, so would we. Back in the early 90s, few things were better for a teenager.
4. VHS Tapes
When you talk vintage, this is Vintage! The VHS tape was beloved when it came out. A tape where we could watch movies that we normally had to go to theaters to see? Genius! It also served as a new life for more money for movie studios, so it truly benefited everyone…other than the movie theaters who now had a shelf-life of movies. The VHS was liked due to what it brought and it was a cool gift to get any time of the year, especially concerning a movie we really liked or wanted to see.
The VHS lasted for years as the life of this device was never going to die….until the DVD came in. Not only did this not require a rewind need for movie rental stores, but it also allowed us to see a better quality with a smaller thing to keep movies on. So better quality on a smaller item? Sign us up! Today we have the BlueRay and 4K disc, so essentially we do not “need” even the DVD anymore, but it can work on our devices. No one truly needs the VHS anymore. Kids would scoff if they saw one today.
They’ll never know the nightmare of rewinding something all the way just to make sure you did not have to re-watch previews. Or know how to fix a VCR or VHS when part of the tape got messed up. If this is not making you feel old yet, we do not know what else will. Oh yeah, maybe we do…
3. Glow In The Dark Stars
One of our biggest things in the 90s was anything that would glow in the dark or shine in it. Remember those lovely shoes that kids had that lite up as they walked? How about the glow in the dark shirts we all had to have? Perhaps the most popular item for kids at this time and something that most won’t really care for today might be the glow in the dark stars. They would paste to your wall inside your room, and it would pretty awesome to see.
You could pretend like you were looking up, into the night sky. It was cool for the adventurer in the family, who always wanted to go to space or enjoyed space material. As a kid with these, I can personally tell you they were amazing. Eventually, as we grew up, these became less awesome and at times they would stop glowing too. That was a sad day, indeed.
We all seemed to have an infatuation with Velcro in the 90s. It is unlikely a kid did not have something involved in this. From the Velcro-Shoes to everything in-between, there was always that one thing a kid had from this material. Perhaps the most popular in the 90s happened to be the Velcro-Ball stuff. The idea behind it would be that you would have a ball and two Velcro-Gloves of some kind
You would throw the ball and catch it, like playing normal catch with a baseball and regular baseball glove. Due to the fact that this ball was lighter and easier to catch, all sorts of kids could have it. On top of this, you could throw it in the house more often than the others ones. So mom would seldom get onto you for throwing the Velcro-Ball around. This made it must-have, and a popular item to give kids. Plus they were sold for relatively cheap, so people would give them as gifts a lot to kids they barely even knew at times.
1. Hacky Sack
If you gave your kids a hacky sack today, they would look at you like you’re crazy. There are still people who enjoy them, but they are rarely seen as much as they were in the 90s. It was pretty easy to use them. You just needed one and a group of friends, or you could do it on your own. The best ones probably needed to play soccer.
You would kick the hacky sack with your feet and try to avoid letting it hit the ground. But you had to do it just-so, that way it avoided being hit too far or away from people. The rules were essentially the same as soccer. No hands can touch the sack. While you could use your head, it rarely worked. So the feet were really the best option.
It did not matter how you hit the ball, only that you hit it with something other than your hands it got to another person to keep it going. This would be fun for kids today, but they may not give it the chance it would deserve.
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