The 90s and the early 2000s were a great time to experience childhood, and looking back on all of the things that made it so great just floods me with a tidal wave of nostalgia. If you were born in the 90s, you know what I’m talking about.
1. The TV show selection was straight fire
Don’t get me started on how amazing the quality of kids’ shows were. Back then, there weren’t many concerns about scaring the crap out of children and I would eagerly watch Goosebumps, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Tales from the Crypt, Freaky Stories, Mystery Hunters, and Courage the Cowardly Dog terrified out of my wits. Nickelodeon was always the best option for making me laugh the fear away, and I appreciate shows like Rugrats a little differently now that I’m an adult:
2. Your VHS collection was extensive
Stacks of VHS tapes were a necessity growing up, and the sound of the “Coming Soon” announcer was always oddly comforting. The worst though, was when tapes weren’t put back in the right case, or god forbid, the last person who watched a movie didn’t rewind it before putting it away.
3. And you valued orange tapes the most for some reason
I cherished these tapes like they were made out of gold. What can I say? They were orange, so somehow they were better than the rest.
4. Going to Blockbuster was an experience
Ah, the good old days where I would pace the aisles of stacked movies, carefully making my choices, and inevitably settling on Space Jam every single time. For some reason, Blockbuster tapes always had a specific smell, the covers felt slippery, and it was a big treat if a new release that I really wanted to see was available in store. R.I.P. I’ll miss those garishly bright carpets and buzzing fluorescent lights.
5. Snacks were just better
Back when every snack food was shaped like a cartoon, face or shape, and probably packed full of sugar and chemicals to make them not only taste amazing, but have wacky colours too. School lunches just aren’t the same anymore. Petition to bring back purple ketchup please.
6. Listening to your favourite jams on your discman made you feel ridiculously cool
Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, The Backstreet Boys and Hansen were just a few of the oh-so-talented teen sensations that graced my ears and provided me with solid dance material for sleepovers.
7. Choosing your outfits was serious business
Brightly coloured everything was a challenge to match with loud patterns. To wear tie dye or not? That was the real question. Scrunchies were an essential to incorporate, gel bracelets were a must, and denim jackets and overalls were a safe go-to.
8. Computer lab time was the best part of the school day
Powering up those dusty Macs, hearing the succession of start up tones, and feeling the heat that would generate off them in just a few minutes was the greatest. Getting the freedom to play the games that were supposed to teach you something was more fun than it should have been. Math Circus, Cross Country Canada, Kid Pix (what did anyone learn from this) and Garage Band (every elementary school boy thought he was a budding musician using it) should be staples in every school tbh.
9. You ended up wanting basically every toy that was advertised on TV
I love the unnecessary EXCITEMENT, AWESOMENESS and FUN that was basically shouted at you in every commercial for a toy in the 90s. Some of them were probably dangerous – Moon Shoes and Pogo Sticks seem a little risky when you think about it, but that was half the fun. Who cares if you didn’t really need what was being sold to you, you had to have it. You’re telling me I can get a Barbie whose hair now changes colour when you put it under water?! I need it! I don’t know what a Bop-It really is and I’ll probably get bored of it within ten minutes, BUT I NEED IT.
10. And you were envious of those smug little sh*ts that got to go to Disneyworld
I think there was about three variations of this commercial. Literally just little kids being excited about going to Disneyworld and not being able to sleep or function because they were just way too pumped for their Disney adventure. I get it, I get it, you get to meet Mickey or whatever. I’m not jealous. Not at all.
11. Nothing could compare to the Scholastic book fair and the monthly book order
Every month getting the Scholastic book order was a special treat. I got to pick out something that I wanted, and usually went with the stupid choice of a “toy” that looked cool, like a spy set or something that came with a glitter pen. The book fair was where it got serious though. I’d go into the library with a handful of change, and I’d proudly leave with a kitten poster, flashy pencils, big erasers, and a few books about girls who loved their pet horses.
12. You got to read the true classics
I’m talking about Junie B. Jones, Goosebumps, The Animorphs series (which most people never really read, just laughed at the weird covers), Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (those illustrations were pure nightmare fuel), I Spy books (way too frustrating for their own good) Captain Underpants, Magic Treehouse, and anything by Robert Munsch (so much respect for the Paper Bag Princess).
13. That weird “S” that everyone always drew
I still don’t understand this, but everyone drew it. What does it mean? Where did it come from? Someone please explain??
14. Most of the general knowledge you know today you learned from Bill Nye
BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL, BILL ~SCIENCE RULES~ (if you didn’t sing the theme song in your head, you’re lying)
15. You know how to play a masterful rendition of “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder
I probably still have my recorder somewhere. Every kid paid five bucks for one, we wrote our names on them in magic marker, and at the end of every class we had to put it in a big bucket so we wouldn’t lose them. Final marks came from playing Hot Cross Buns. I learned valuable stuff in elementary school.
16. The board games were endless
All the kids in commercials for these “family fun” games convinced me that they needed to be played with passion. Personal favourites included Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Mouse Trap.
17. Educational computer games were top-notch quality
Freddi Fish was the greatest hero of our time.
18. But nothing beat the classics
I remember when McDonald’s released a mini Spyro game in their Happy Meals and I lost it. This was an age where video games were pixelated, vibrantly coloured, zany pieces of fun. It was a much simpler time.
19. You collected a lot of random stuff
I hoarded Pogs (never knew how to actually play games with them), Pokémon cards, marbles, Polly Pockets, Hot Wheels, Troll dolls, Beanie Babies, gel pens, Lip Smackers, and various colours of Silly Putty. I collected such an eclectic assortment of items (along with everyone else I knew), and no one really knew why we did, but we wanted to have them all anyway.
We all know that this list could be endless, which is why 90s babes had it the best.