25 Things ‘90s Kids Could Do That Today’s Kids Can’t.

Posted by , Updated on November 5, 2022

Were you a child of the ‘90s? The 1990s was certainly an unforgettable time period for millennials in particular, as it was the foundation of their lives. There’s something very reminiscent about the childhood of the American ‘90s kid; it brings up fond memories of, perhaps, simpler times. I’m Mike from List25 and here are 25 things ‘90s kids could do that today’s kids can’t.


25

Passing Notes During Class

Passing notesImage: shutterstock.com

Before the days of hiding your smartphone under the desk to send a message to your friend who is sitting five feet from you, kids were passing notes in class, never knowing if their contents would be made public by the teacher after getting caught. It’s even worse when the note getting read aloud says something super cringy, such as “Do you like me?” “Check yes or no.”

Seriously. It was horrifying.

24

Watching Grunge Take Over the World

NirvanaImage: salon.com

Okay, so present-day kids still listen to grunge music. But the thing is, people of this generation do not understand the cultural significance behind grunge music and what it did to change the world. Popular grunge bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam caused a tonal shift towards a more rebellious attitude. Many musicians and bands from the years prior knew, as soon as they heard it, that this music was going to change rock as it had always been.

And while grunge will truly always exist as a genre, it has significantly changed from the original early 1990s sound. Like most other genres, it was corporatized and repackaged for a wider audience. But in the early 90s, it was an amazing thing to see.

23

Innocently Loving “My Little Pony”

My little ponyImage: ranker.com

My Little Pony was a 90’s phenomenon. Children around the world watched the cartoon show and bought up the different colorful characters like Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Splash, and Princess Celestia.

Today, My Little Pony has gotten a bad rap for being liked in an unintended, less-than-wholesome way. It’s not considered very innocent anymore, let’s say. You know what we mean.

But back then, we could watch it and play with the ponies as, you know, innocent kids.

22

Believing Beanie Babies Will Make You Rich

Beanie BabiesImage: Shutterstock.com

Beanie Babies were the little stuffed toys of different animals that took the world by storm. They were rare and uber-collectable. Then, dealers artificially inflated the value of the toys, which ended up making most of them worthless. The amusing part is that some Beanie Babies, in good condition, can now sell for thousands of dollars.

For the most part, people in the ‘90s who thought Beanie Babies would make them rich, pay for their house, or put their kids through college were sadly mistaken.

21

Having a Physical Journal

JournalImage: Shutterstock.com

Before tablets, accessible computers, phones, and other technology, we had to handwrite our diaries and journals to express our thoughts, hopes, and dreams. Some people still do this for things like therapy sessions, but today it is much less common. Now, most people’s “Dear Diary” journal comes in the form of a Word document.

20

Having a Collection of VHS Tapes

VHS (1)Image: Shutterstock.com

VHS tapes were more popular in the early 1990s until they were replaced by DVDs in 1997. Until then, VHS remained the main way to view movies and shows at home for the majority of the 1990s.

Due to image degradation on the tapes and the simpler, more convenient DVD, VHS lost favor with the public. And it was always a tragedy when your tapes got taped-over by someone else and you lost your favorite videos! 

19

Having Whole Collections of CDs and Cassette Tapes

Cassette tapesImage: shutterstock.com

CDs and cassette tapes are capable of recording and playing music, and both of them were around before the 1990s. While both made a significant appearance in this decade, the Compact Disc (CD) rose to popularity in 1992 and quickly overshadowed cassette tapes. For a while, this made them victims of the times and essentially obsolete. For some reason, inferior sound quality and less convenient cassettes have made a comeback in recent years.

But you needed someplace to keep all of those CDs, so we got used to

18

Having Huge Disc Cases!

Huge CD caseImage: walmart.com

Disc cases, or “books,” that held tons of CDs and, later, DVDs, were a popular way to store your music or movie collection post-VHS. These came in a variety of sizes, from those small enough to only hold a disc or two up to those big enough to hold over a hundred discs.

Although these cases are a perfect way to keep those CDs and DVDs from getting scratched under normal use, But lots of people found all of their discs ruined because they always got left on the floor of the car, where sand would find its way into the case and scratch all the discs.

17

Cherishing Original ‘90s Movies

90s MovieImage: countryliving.com

We’re talking the original ‘90s movies (most of which have since seen remakes) like “The Addams Family,” “The Parent Trap,” and even beloved animated movies like Pixar’s “Toy Story.” Movies that defined a generation were required viewing for 90s kids.

We do not have as many original movies in today’s cinemas. In fact, remakes have become a  growing problem for viewers in today’s film industry. Wouldn’t it be great to see some original content again!

16

Owning a Nintendo Gameboy

GameboyImage: en.wikipedia.com

Sure, sure—we may have seen variations on the Gameboy over the years, like the Nintendo DS in the early 2000s and now the Nintendo Switch—but the Gameboy was THE video game phenomenon of the ‘90s. One of the most popular handheld gaming devices of all time, its run began in 1989 at its initial release and ran well past the 1990s.

This generation-defining system was retired in 2004.But, up until that point, everyone had a Gameboy—or desperately wanted one.

15

Playing with Polly Pockets

Polly PocketsImage: shutterstock.com

The original Polly Pocket was a success with kids all around the country. These little playsets with tiny characters were one of the single hottest toys of the 90s. 

The toy got a remodel in 1998 to be taller and larger, ultimately causing it to be discontinued in 2002. While Polly Pocket got a revamp in 2010, it didn’t connect with kids and was no longer sold in the U.S. by 2012. It seems this is a toy that was meant to stay in the ‘90s.

14

Watching Nickelodeon Afternoon Gameshows

90s ShowImage: tvseriesfinale.com

One of the best things about getting home from school in the 90s was being able to watch Nickelodeon’s afternoon lineup of gameshows.

Legends of the Hidden Temple” was perhaps the most popular of these game shows on Nickelodeon during the decade, featuring a talking Mayan statue named Olmec. It allowed contestants to experience the life of a temple raider while running through a challenging obstacle course.

But there were other shows that kids enjoyed on the classic channel, like “BrainSurge” and “Double Dare.”

13

Having a Tamagotchi

TamagochiImage: Shutterstock.com

This classic ‘90s toy, the Tamagotchi, allowed us to take care of living, breathing pets—well, non-living, electronic pets, that is. The owner would electronically feed, pay attention to, and love this little… thing. You just had to be cautious, because with living pets come, well, not-living pets—when you eventually forget about them. 

12

Eating the Unique Sweet Treats of the ‘90s

90s CandyImage: vintagecandyco.com

Candy necklaces? Pixy Stix? Candy Cigarettes? All of these uniquely ‘90s sweets were enjoyable to the last bite. Pop Rocks were popular in the 1990s, and everyone assumed that eating them with Coke would cause your stomach to explode (it didn’t).There were baby bottle pops—suckers in the form of a baby bottle. Things were a little weird in the 1990s.

These treats kept us yearning for the sweet sugar rush we craved.

11

Staying Out in the Neighborhood Unsupervised

Kids playingImage: shutterstock.com

This is a big one that is also notable from the 1980s (#21). Most of today’s kids can’t just roam about their neighborhood with no supervision. But for this one, is it that parents got stricter on the current generation’s kids because of a rise in kidnappings? Not really! 

Statistically, present-day children are much safer. Reports of missing children are down since the late 1990s—by almost forty percent, actually. Only 0.1% of missing persons cases are stranger abductions, or, in other words, most kidnappings are not done by strangers but rather someone the child knows.

But in the 90s, it was normal for kids to be out with friends running around the neighborhood until 8, sometimes 9 at night. Those were fun days.

10

Having Lisa Frank Notebooks

Colorful notebooksImage: walmart.com

The craze over Lisa Frank notebooks is not one any ‘90s kid is ever likely to forget. These notebooks had big eyes on animals with rainbows and sparkles around them, and everyone from little kids to high schoolers loved them. It became a sensation with kids all over the country.

9

Reading the Original Goosebumps Books

Goosebumps BooksImage: shutterstock.com

R.L. Stine created childhood masterpieces out of the Goosebumps books. First published in 1992, the Goosebumps series has sold over 400 million copies. The series published new books until 1997.

A true ‘90s creation, the original Goosebumps books were the kind of scary that made kids love them. They were always fun with a cool final twist that caught their young, loyal fans off guard every time.

8

Owning Furbies

FurbiesImage: shutterstock.com

Ah, Furbies, the mystical wonder that every kid (and adult) asked themselves, “What is it supposed to be?” The strange little plush Furbies were a sensation in a lot of children’s homes during the ‘90s, but they certainly give some of us the creeps! And it’s understandable why; the plush toys don’t take the shape of any animal we know of, and their eyes are a little… unsettling.

7

Getting Injured By Their Toys

Power wheelsImage: en.wikipedia.org

I think most of us remember the child-sized motorized cars and trucks called Power Wheels that kids could drive around in. Most of us longed for one, and the select few that had them were considered lucky.

BUT… Power Wheels went through a recall period in 1998 because of electrical components that overheated, occasionally causing fires. This was a pretty big deal, as it led to child injuries and house fires. It was also recalled due to problems with the wiring that prevented the vehicle from stopping.

Despite the recalls, Power Wheels that DO NOT FIRE are still available on websites such as Mattel, Amazon, and Walmart.

6

Watching TGIF on Friday nights

TGIF-ABCImage: en.wikipedia.org

Let’s not forget ABC’s Friday-night television block that aired classic sitcoms like “Family Matters,” “Clueless,” “Full House,” “Boy Meets World,” “Perfect Strangers,” and many others.

TGIF was a good time for anyone throughout the 1990s—not just kids, but adults, too! This was a must-see, prime-time, catchphrase-filled experience!

5

Having a See-Through Landline Phone

See through landline phoneImage: Pinterest.com

First, landline phones were the ones most of today’s kids had never seen. They were connected to the wall by a long phone line or a phone mounting jack on the wall. In the 90s, they started making cool ones.

These new phones were made from clear plastic casings. You could see the inner mechanics of the landline phone – and that made it a hit with ‘90s kids!

4

Watching TRL

Total Request LiveImage: tvline.com

Total Request Live,” an MTV show that debuted in the late ‘90s, was focused on all things pop culture. Hosted by Carson Daily, TRL was the hottest, most hip show on television.

The show was primarily used to promote celebrities of the time, particularly actors and musicians.If it was on TRL, it was a big deal in the ‘90s culture, particularlyteen ‘90s culture.

3

Watching Bill Nye The Science Guy in Class

Bill_Nye_the_Science_Guy_title_screenImage: en.wikipedia.org

“Bill Nye the Science Guy” featured famed scientist Bill Nye as he taught kids the basics of science. You knew it was going to be a good day when you heard the song repeat, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” The earworm that was the actual theme song would stay in your head all day. We knew it was going to be a great day when we got to watch Bill Nye in class.

2

Using AOL Instant Messaging (AIM)

AimImage: en.wikipedia.org

AIM was a popular messaging system in the late 1990s, and it sure was memorable. With AIM, you could create a profile, but it was mostly one-on-one messaging. We all remember some of the cringey things we put in our AIM profiles!

1

Having a Local Blockbuster and a Blockbuster Membership

BlockbusterImage: Shutterstock.com

Remember the sensation of finding the last copy of something at Blockbuster? Exhilarating! The icon of the ‘90s had to be Blockbuster, the video rental store that defined the ‘90s and the early 

Blockbuster looked like it would last forever but permanently closed due to the rise of instant rentals and subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. There is, as of May 2022, one sole surviving Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon, still designed to feature the look of a classic 

The 1990s was a decade full of its own unique styles and ideas. Kids from the 1990s generally remember it fondly and reminisce about the things we had back then, which were much simpler than today. 



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