Before we had smartphones and game consoles, we had to figure out analog ways to keep ourselves entertained. Thankfully, we were none the wiser to the addictive apps we would one day all be invited to, and it was pretty easy to have with nothing more than the bits of plastic that came with a Happy Meal. Sleepovers were more concerned with board games than texting. But upon looking back at this seemingly innocent era, there were some bizarre ’90s toys that might make you wonder if we were a little too easily entertained.
We might have all made some questionable fashion choices in the ’90s, but maybe the most questionable was our desire to have green Nickelodeon slime shower down upon us. Orlando, Florida was a dream destination, probably the first interest we had in travel as young kids of the ’90s. If I could climb to the top of Aggro Crag — yes, that weird slime mountain had a name — and take home the coveted “GUTS” trophy, I was convinced that my life would be complete, and I was only ten. Toys were everything.
Even if you look back upon your toy chest quizzically, you can’t deny that you had a lot of fun collecting and playing with the stuff you have no idea what to do with now. I mean, are Beanie Babies still worth something? Toys were all the rage in the ’90s and even if the hype seemed bizarre, it was a gloriously weird time to grow up.
Pogs, to me, were essentially miniature frisbees that you collected and kept stack in a tube. They all came in different designs and were awesome. I’m not exactly sure what the point of these things were but I do know you had to tote your Pog tube everywhere to display how cool you were.
2. Creepy Crawlers Oven
You could get the Easy Bake Oven or, if you were a certain child of the ’90s, you could get the Creepy Crawlers Oven in which you do not bake food, but instead, inedible gummy creatures. The point being to conjure plastic bugs to spook your siblings and parents.
3. Water Wigglies
This was the stress ball before anyone even know what stress was. It was essentially slime in a plastic enclosure that slipped through your hands constantly. It was… weird.
This was babysitting training in a digital egg. Possibly the first app we ever got our hands on and perhaps what conditioned us to constantly check our digital appendages. It doesn’t seem so bizarre now, given we now have a Tamagotchi-esque app to remind us to drink water, but what was odd was caring so deeply about keeping a character of pixels alive and pooping regularly.
A toy that looks like if it isn’t already possessed, it totally could become possessed.
6. Silly Putty
Glossy clay that’s way cooler than Play-Doh but also not entirely different from Play-Doh. Who knew we could have so much fun with it!
7. Moon Shoes
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF is worth a million. These were basically just individual-foot trampolines that purported to be antigravity, but in reality were just bizarre.
8. Skip It
Skip It was distraction at it’s finest. What I wouldn’t do today to have the time in my schedule to head out to the driveway and skip over a plastic stick.
9. My Size Barbie
“A two-foot-tall plastic doll for children that’s definitely not haunted? Sign me up.” — Parents of the ’90s.
10. Dear Diary
Like voice notes in your smart phone, but more focused on who the cutest person in your class was.
11. Pretty Pretty Princess
It was a sleepover staple, but honestly, we were all pretty princesses this whole time. There is no one winner and that’s why millennials are killing the housing industry, or whatever.
12. Beanie Babies
Who didn’t have a library of Beanie Babies in the ’90s? At their core, they were just fabric and stuffing, but for some reason, we all went crazy over them and you absolutely COULD NOT rip the TY tag off — or else they wouldn’t be worth anything. (Jury’s out if they’re worth anything now, but don’t throw out your collection regardless.)
13. Polly Pocket
In retrospect, the tiny dolls kind of seem like the inspiration for a Black Mirror episode.
14. Cabbage Patch Kids
Because everybody needs a baby doll that has sprouted from cabbage!
15. Game Boy Camera
Before iPhone’s portrait mode and Instagram there was the GameBoy camera and printer. It was the media of our youths and I would like to know how many photography careers it sparked.