25 Things ’80s Kids Could Do That Today’s Kids Can’t

Did you know there are a many things ’80s kids could do that today’s kids can’t? The world has changed a lot since three decades ago. Technology and culture has radically altered the way we do things. What once was pretty normal is now either old fashioned, taboo, out-dated, or weird. While kids today have access to way more information and entertainment than we did, we ’80s kids had way more freedom to roam around the neighborhood unsupervised. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. From sugary cereals to access to computers, so many things were far and away different. For us ’80s kids, it was a beautiful time. For kids today, it probably will look like a foreign universe. Get ready to travel back in time, here are 25 things ’80s kids could do that today’s kids can’t.


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Eat candy cigarettes

candy cigarettes

Even with the anti-drug campaigns and the push to make your parents feel bad for smoking around you, it was still fun to play “Grown Up” and “smoke” candy cigarettes. They had a very distinct flavor that you won’t find in any candy today. Sure, you can find them at novelty candy stores sometimes, but you won’t find them at your local gas station like we did as kids!


Play on risky playground equipment

jungle gym

What’s a broken arm or leg here or there? Playground equipment wasn’t designed for sliding and swinging. It was designed for hanging upside down and swinging from bar to bar high up in the sky. Concrete also wasn’t a big deal for flooring.


Use their brains to find a book at the library

card catalog

Today, we’ve got computers to look everything up for us. But, If you grew up in the ’80s, you likely became best friends with the “card catalog” to find books at the library. For you youngsters that aren’t sure what that is, it was a wooden cabinet full of tiny drawers that carried small cards. You sifted through the cards to find the book you wanted using the Dewey Decimal System. It was a bit more complicated.


Discover computers slowly

old computer

In the ’80s, most kids were lucky if they had a computer in the house. Even if they had one, many had little idea how to use the DOS-based operating system. The computer was like an odd alien object, mysterious and wonderful. Gradually over time, you could discover the different aspects of a computer because they were so new and fresh. It was exciting. Today, of course, computers are everywhere and the wonder and awe is kind of gone.


Pull the ends off Dot matrix paper

dot matrix paper

Before inkjet and laser printers, there was an ungodly noise machine known as the dot matrix printer. To spool the paper through, all dot matrix paper had holes punched on the ends that would interlock inside the printer and guide it through. Once you had your nice sheet of printed paper, you had the pure, wonderful pleasure of tearing the ends off.

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