Who didn’t love the ‘90s? Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things Only ‘90s Kids Will Understand.
For this list, we’ll be going over the things and experiences that were relatively unique to those who grew up during the 1990s.
#10: The Adrenaline Rush of Hearing ‘The Fresh Prince’ Theme
Sitcoms are generally the most adult thing kids are exposed to on TV and in the early ‘90s, every kid’s favorite was definitely “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Will Smith was (and still is to many of us) the absolute epitome of cool and his show had all the same charisma and hilarity that he delivered. The anticipation that built in our young selves when the theme song began can’t properly be put into words. Speaking of words, we’ll never get the show’s lyrics out of our heads, no matter how much our lives get “flipped turned upside down!”
#9: When Class Wasn’t Class
Schools today have a lot more options when it comes to teaching and engaging kids. However, during the ‘90s, school could feel like a lot of the same, day in and day out - at least for students. So, we learned to savor those times when class didn’t feel like class. A rainy day game of Heads Up, 7-Up during class, a game of parachute during P.E., or the excitement we got when the teacher wheeled in a TV from the AV club – these were the moments we lived for when going to school. Because watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy” never felt like a chore!
#8: NEEDING the Snazziest School Supplies
The ‘90s were all about colors on everything. As kids, the louder and more colorful you could be, the cooler you were. This extended not only to bigger school items, like backpacks (we’re looking at you, Lisa Frank!), but also the things we kept inside them. We wrote and drew using single pens that dispensed multiple colors, milky gel pens for dark paper, and even markers with mini stamps! We didn’t just have Elmer’s Glue – we had it in gel form! And we kept it all in Spacemaker pencil boxes, complete with a transparent lid!
#7: How No Games Will Come Close to How Good '90s Ones Are
Colorful items would never have been made during the ‘90s without equally some colorful ideas, and some of the more bizarre and awesome ones were about board games. ‘90s games were as strange and extreme as everything else during the decade. How else do you explain games like Dream Phone, a game similar to Clue, except the objective was to find out who had a crush on you? Or how about 13 Dead End Drive, where players fight over a major inheritance by trying to permanently get rid of the other players with traps! Wild, right?
#6: How Much a Slap Bracelet Can Hurt
Slap bracelets were a major fad during the ‘90s. They generally took the form of bendable metal bracelets with colorful plastic or soft coverings, that could “snap” between being straight lines and conforming to the shape of your wrist. While they’re still around today, they’re not quite as…uh, sturdy…as they used to be. Snapping one onto yourself or someone else sure is fun - and looks totally trendy, but it could seriously hurt if done hard enough – they are made of metal, after all. We can see why some schools took to banning them, even if we would have taken the bruises to remain fashionable at the time.
#5: Outdoor Toys That Had to Be DIFFERENT
Whoever came up with some of the toys during the ‘90s was definitely thinking outside of the toy box. Most of them were new spins on familiar concepts. Bicycle spoke decorations have been around since bikes were invented, but specially made beads? That was a new one. And sure, everyone has played with a baseball, but how about one that’s green and has a Velcro catcher’s mitt? Or how about a skipping rope, but instead it’s made of plastic and attached to one of your feet and counts your skips like a fit-bit? While there are plenty of weird toys today, we do miss these ones from our youth.
#4: How to Fold a Paper Fortune Teller (& How Much Worth You Put Into What It Said)
Okay, these things may have been around for practically a century, but they were important to us during the ‘90s, dang it! Back in the day, we knew how to fold these things just right and knew exactly what to put in them to embarrass our friends. And, despite knowing that our friends made them from paper, there was something mystical about the process of uncovering our fortune, to the point where we’re still embarrassed - only now it’s of how much stock we put into their outcomes. It says we like-like “so-and-so?!” There’s no way that’s true!...Right? Plus, it was better than MASH – now there’s a game to end friendships!
#3: The Weird Experimental Foods (& the Struggle of Getting Your Parents to Get Them for You)
As we’ve seen already, the ‘90s were a time of experimentation with new concepts and that extended to food as well. The decade saw bizarre sweets and snacks like Gushers, Life Savers Holes, Butterfinger BBs, and cheesecake Jell-O cups, strange drinks like Squeeze-Its, patently unhealthy cereals such as Oreo O’s, Reptar Crunch, Cookie Crisp and Rice Krispies Treats Cereal, and soft drink experiments, like Crystal Pepsi! Truly, it was a Renaissance for the food industry. But did that make it any easier for us to convince our parents to buy us cereal that turned our tongues green? No! Some people just don’t understand art...
#2: How Insanely Loud the THX Logo Is
Yeah sure, we’ve got specialty theaters these days with lots of surround sound and tons of output, but back in the ‘90s, THX was the name in sound for movies! And before many movies, the THX logo would appear, along with its signature resonant sound that’s so freaking loud you can feel it in your chest! It’s a sound and experience so memorable that if you hummed it in public, people would know exactly what you were referencing and they might cover their ears reflexively. Or because you’re making a weird noise in public. But definitely one of the two!
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
The Specific Cheesiness of Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Movies
Honing Those Lite-Brite Skills
The Struggle of Choosing the Deck Design on Windows’ Solitaire
Drawing a ‘Cool S’
The Subtle Art of Putting Multiple VHSes in Blockbuster’s Drop-Box (& the Fear That They Didn't Get Through)
#1: The Need for Everything to Be Light-Up, Color-Changing (Especially Purple) or Inflatable
We’ve already touched a few times on how colorful and bright everything in the ‘90s was, but not only did everything have to be colorful, but it had to change colors too. Foods that changed colors were popular. Heck, sunscreen even sold by making it seem to kids like it would change their skin tone to weird shades (it totally didn’t, much to our disappointment!)! Everything had to light up too, from sneakers to yoyos; if it wasn’t illuminated, it was only half as cool. Plus, inflatable stuff, including chairs and toys, was very popular. If we surrounded ourselves with this stuff now, we’d probably look crazy, but in the ‘90s, we were just trying to stay hip.