From our favorite games and television shows to the worst (but secretly the best) fashion choices, there are a million (or just 90) things that pull at the heartstrings of any true ‘90s kid. Though our golden days of reading the very first Harry Potter book and jamming out with boomboxes are behind us, we can still reminisce about everything that made our childhood so “da bomb!” We’ve compiled a list of our 90 favorite ‘90s trends, toys, and totally hip things that rocked our scrunchies off and had us saying “boo ya!” and “as if.”
Fashion (Faux Pas?)
1. Butterfly Clips: We had them in every color, so therefore we felt the need to wear them… all at once.
2. Scrunchies: “I cringe every time I see someone wearing them now. They were possibly the worst fashion idea ever.” - Hillary Johns, Ohio University 2013
3. Best Friend Necklaces: Friendship circles changed by the lunch hour, so best friend necklaces flew off the shelves at Claire’s… because you’re not true friends if you can’t declare it on a necklace.
4. Slap Bracelets: These were the most dangerous of accessories—I’m hoping these went out of style due to government banning.
5. Tattoo Chokers: It’s still up for debate whether these were fashion forward do’s or fashion police-worthy don’ts, but I must admit, I can be seen rocking this look in a majority of my elementary school class photos (and I’m sure it’s true for the rest of you, too).
6. Jellies: “Although I thought jellies were super cute when I was younger, they weren't exactly the most comfortable shoes... so maybe it's a good thing they were left in the past!” - Michelle Lewis, UNC-Chapel Hill 2013
7. Light Up Sneakers: As ‘90s pre-collegiettes, we needed to be entertained from head to toe… emphasis on the toe.
8. Stick-on Earrings: If you could go five minutes without losing a stick-on earring to your mane of hair, I crown you Queen of the ‘90s.
9. Frosted Tips: Seeing as Justin Timberlake sported frosted tips for the greater part of his *NSYNC career, there was no stopping that horrific trend.
10. Lip Smackers: From watermelon, kiwi, and mango to cotton candy and Dr. Pepper, it took true determination to keep from eating these lip balms during snack time.
11. Mood Rings: Without a mood ring on, it was completely unclear how you were feeling on a given day. It was a known fact that if you left the house without it, you’d be stuck in emotional limbo for the rest of the day.
“I'm just happy that ‘90s fashion is over—most decades have at least a few redeeming trends, but the ‘90s were a couture wasteland!”- Danai Kadzere, Harvard University 2014
Television and Movies
12. The Secret World of Alex Mack: If you could have any superpower, it would definitely be the ability to transform into a radioactive puddle, right?
13. The Mickey Mouse Club: Who could resist the adorableness that was a pre-pubescent Ryan Gosling?
14. The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: Solving every crime, by dinnertime—they were more efficient than any high-tech, 21st century detective.
15. Bill Nye the Science Guy: To a ‘90s kid, he was the smartest man to walk the planet; everything and anything could be learned from his TV show. And on the plus side, watching an episode of Bill Nye usually meant there was a substitute teacher that day.
16. The Magic School Bus: If you didn’t learn it from Bill Nye, then it had to come from Ms. Frizzle and her wacky field trips into the digestive system, to outer space, or even to the Arctic.
17. Nickelodeon Game Shows: Wild & Crazy Kids, GUTS and Global GUTS, and Legends of the Hidden Temple—not only did these shows incorporate a sense of worldly competition and teamwork, but they also had us all desperately wanting a piece of the glowing Aggro Crag.
18. Beverly Hills, 90210: It was the show that went beyond the boundaries of television to portray high school students in their unique environment. Not to mention, “Donna Martin Graduates!” will forever be the best protest this world will see.
19. Clueless: As if.
20. The Amanda Show: Judge Trudy, the Girls’ Room, the dancing lobsters, and stalker Penelope had us lol’ing (which was totally ‘90s AOL instant messenger terminology).
21. Doug: Going into the imagination of a teenage boy, we all got to experience the wonder that was Quail Man—to this day, no superhero even comes close to his excellence.
22. Saturday Morning Cartoons: It was a time when we all enjoyed waking up just as the sun began to rise. With a bowl of Cap’n Crunch cereal and a carton of milk, the only logical thing to do was pop in front of the TV for cartoons… on cartoons on cartoons.
23. Recess: Recess invoked a sense of mischief and adventure in all of us, not to mention had us all on the lookout for a group of kids like T.J., Spinelli, Vince, Gus, Gretchen, and Mikey to befriend.
24. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: I won’t lie, on my 16th birthday, I anxiously waited for my parents to tell me I was a half witch and I had to go live with my two quirky aunts to learn about “the other realm.”
25. Boy Meets World: If you didn’t learn it from Bill Nye or Ms. Frizzle, you certainly learned it from the world’s greatest teacher, Mr. Feeny. And if you wanted to learn about romance, Cory and Topanga were the obvious couple to turn to for relationship advice.
26. The Face of Nick Jr.: “I definitely miss Nick Jr. when [the] face used to tell you what show was coming on next.” - Mariah Moses, Virginia State University 2016
27. SNICK: Before Saturday nights consisted of parties and hanging out with friends, it meant a night curled up on the sofa watching Nickelodeon and envying the SNICK orange couch.
28. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Hands down, still one of the scariest shows to ever grace our television screens.
29. Full House: Besides being the Olsen twins’ starting point into their celebrity empire, Full House had us all wishing we lived with a straight-laced dad, cool Elvis-wannabe Uncle Jesse and his kooky friend Joey. On top of all that, Kimmy Gibbler definitely gave us a lot to laugh about.
30. All That: The less funny, more kid-friendly version of SNL featured stars such as Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell (who loves orange soda?), Lori Beth Denberg, and Amanda Bynes.
31. Saved by the Bell: Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski were that ‘it’ couple everyone was rooting for, and in the end, we all got to see our wishes come true in their series finale wedding.
32. Jonathan Taylor Thomas: The star of Home Improvement and Man of the House had a seemingly bright future in show biz. But without anyone realizing it, he fell off the map. Even Perez Hilton is asking, “JTT, where are you??????”
33. Power Rangers: Did any girl not dress up as the pink power ranger for Halloween as a child?
34. Sister, Sister: A series based on identical twins separated by adoption who eventually randomly meet each in a mall and then have their families move in together most definitely makes for quality television.
36. Hey Arnold: “Nothing screams childhood like the good ‘ole Nickelodeon shows. No matter how mature I become, I will always love a good episode of Hey Arnold.” - Kelsey Mulvey, Boston University 2014
37. The Powerpuff Girls: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup defined girl power (outside of the Spice Girls, of course). Saving the world in kindergarten—piece of cake.
38. Rocket Power: It’s completely unfair that a group of kids can be so athletically talented at every sport ever. I mean, seriously, is there anything they can’t do? Look for Team Rocket at the London Olympics competing in… well, everything.
39. Salute Your Shorts: A true testament to sleepaway camp… and all the antics that go hand in hand with being a camper.
40. Skip-It: “I loved playing that game in the summer!” - Erica Avesian, University of Michigan, 2013
41. Super Soakers: If it was summer, it was time to whip out the super soaker—no other water gun stood a chance in comparison.
42. Koosh Balls: Has anyone yet to determine the purpose of koosh balls, besides looking awesome on top of pens?
43. Silly Putty: It bounces. It flows like liquid. It can break apart. Silly Putty’s strange dynamics had every ‘90s kid mesmerized for hours on end.
44. Moon Shoes: When you were bouncing down the block, moon shoes not only gave you a few extra jumps to your step, but they also added on a few inches, making every kid feel like a giant.
45. Paper Fortune Tellers: There was no better feeling than hearing that your future held a marriage between you and Leonardo DiCaprio.
46. Milky Way Pens: When drawing all over yourself during Social Studies was socially acceptable, Milky Ways were the only way to go.
47. Stickopotamus: Sticker collecting (especially those scratch-and-sniffs) was made easy with the sticker binder that held them while keeping your fuzzy stickers perfectly organized.
48. Pokemon: Gotta catch ‘em all.
49. Tamagotchi: Keeping one of those alien babies alive in the 3rd grade was harder than doing 4th grade long division.
50. Pretty Pretty Princess: The game that taught every little girl that an outfit is never complete without accessories… or a tiara.
51. Mr. Sketch Scented Markers: Now, here comes the age old question—do you let your friend hold the marker up to your nose to smell, or do you think they’ll draw all over your face with the smelly black licorice one?
52. Easy-Bake Oven: Unfortunately, my cooking skills haven’t made it past my days of portable ovens and powder ingredients.
53. Mall Madness: Teaching children the value of a credit card since 1996 (…and originally in 1988).
54. Furby: Was it an owl? Was it a hamster? Was it an owlster? The talking alien creature was one of the creepier toys that came out of the decade…but lucky for us (questionable), the Furby is making its return.
55. Pogs: No one is really 100% sure about what they were or how you were supposed to play with them, but collecting tons of Pogs was all the rage circa the early ‘90s.
56. Operation: For every surgeon-to-be, there was no better way to practice your steady hand skills than carefully pulling Charlie horses and funny bones out of a naked man.
57. Dream Phone: (ring, ring) It’s for you!
58. Boomboxes: Remember the time before iPods existed and we had to lug around boomboxes and listen to scratched CDs that would skip? …Thank you Steve Jobs for making listening to music significantly easier.
59. Lite Brite
60. Spin Art: The messiest fun a kid could have! There was no better way to test out your artistic abilities than by squeezing paint onto a moving piece of paper.
61. Beanie Babies: The world went crazy when it came to collecting TY Beanie Babies. From the Princess Diana bear, to “The End” (released right before the millennium), these tiny toys have become a collector’s item that people now talk about with nostalgia… and pride.
62. Shaving Fun Ken Doll: I have no further comment.
63. Ouija Boards: Without them, how else could you find out which spirits of dead presidents were lurking in your house?
64. LFO: “New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits, Chinese food makes me sick. And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer, for the summer. I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch…”
65. *NSYNC: Even though it’s 2012, we refuse to say “Bye, Bye, Bye” to boy bands.
66. Backstreet Boys: You were either an *NSYNC fan or a Backstreet Boys fan, but you couldn’t be both. So what was it: were you a “Tearing Up my Heart” extremist, or a “Shape of my Heart” fanatic?
67. 98 Degrees: Just think, this is where we got Nick Lachey from.
68. Spice Girls: Girl Power! Thankfully, we don’t have to say goodbye to these glamorous Brits just yet. The Spice Girls recently announced that they will be coming out with a musical, Viva Forever.
69. Britney Spears: Before the breakdowns, the Vegas wedding, and the children, we had the seemingly innocent Britney Spears. From “Baby One More Time” to her movie Crossroads, Britney paved the way for future pop (wannabe) sensations.
70. The Macarena: Why did this dance disappear, but “Cha Cha Slide” is still around?
71. Aqua: “I’m a Barbie Girl, in the Barbie World…”
72. Mandy Moore: “I’m missing [the ‘90s] like caaaaandaaay!”
73. Christina Aguilera: It always seemed like it was Britney vs. Christina. In the ‘90s, it looked like Christina was the hot mess, but now, look how the tables have turned.
74. “Graduation” by Vitamin C: Even today, this song gives us chills. Back then, graduating high school seemed like something that would never happen. Where has the time gone?
75. “The Thong Song”: This was easily the most inappropriate song that a ‘90s kid could sing, yet we still knew every last word to it… without knowing its actual meaning.
…And Everything Else
76. The Baby-sitters Club: These books had a lot of us desperate to grow up and start our own babysitting franchise. Enough of being looked after; we wanted to be the ones watching over our neighbors’ kids.
77. Inflatable Furniture: I don’t know about you guys, but I still plan on decorating the entirety of my apartment with inflatable sofas from Limited Too (preferably the ones with purple glitter).
78. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: Before we were old enough for Agatha Christie, we turned to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to hone our detective skills.
79. Lisa Frank: “I miss Lisa Frank school supplies. They were cheap and overly colorful and somehow all the rage.” - Taylor Bass, Wellesley College 2013
80. Judy Blume: Every pre-teen or teenage struggle can be related to a Judy Blume book (or, shall I say, classic). From Deenie’s back brace to the love story in Forever…, Blume touched on almost every obstacle we may have come by growing up.
81. Tara Lipinski: In 1998, Lipinski won the gold medal at the winter Olympics in women’s figure skating. She instantly became every pre-teen girl’s obsession.
82. Lunchables: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that these “lunches” do not meet a single criterion of the food pyramid.
83. War Heads: There was nothing like a competition to see who could withstand the overpowering sourness of a War Head the longest.
84. Goosebumps: If you weren’t sufficiently freaked by Are You Afraid of the Dark?, these books were sure to make you check under the bed before going to sleep.
85. Carmen Sandiego: It’s the 21st century, have we found her yet?
86. Oversized Cell Phones: Even though Zack Morris was the envy of all guys and the desire of all girls, his humongous cell phone is definitely considered a turnoff in this day and age.
87. Trapper Keepers: There was no way a new school year could start without a fresh trapper keeping all of our loose-leaf papers in check, and a ‘90s kid went all out with Barbie, Lisa Frank, or action heroes all over theirs.
88. Caboodle: If you were storing your Barbie pastel eye shadow, the only proper place to keep it was alongside your butterfly clips and Lip Smackers lip balm… all inside your caboodle!
89. Gushers: I’ll be honest here; there was a split second in time where I was scared to eat a Gusher because I thought my head would suddenly transform into a watermelon.
90. Dunkaroos: WHY did they stop making these? There was nothing worse, though, than when you ran out of icing but still had cookies left.
So collegiettes, did you go back in time and relive your childhood, or did we miss the best part of your ‘90s experience? Let us know in the comment box below!