Every generation had their fair share of toys. While the toys are generally the same for every generation, such as: dolls, plush toys, Disney stuff, etc; their level of safety has ranged from abysmal to getting better. In the 90s, kids had toys that we would never be allowed in today's market.
A lot of the toys that my generation was raised on were made out of hardwood, and required not a lot of screening for safety. Thankfully, most of these toys have disappeared or have been modified into something that parents don't have to worry about. I will admit, I sometimes sit back and reminisce about all the weird and fun toys I got to play with. A lot of the toys from my youth have either been discontinued for safety reasons or did so poorly in revenue that a comeback would not be needed.
Parents at that time really didn’t realize how unsafe their kid's toys were. In a way, I am kind of happy that a lot of those 90s toys have disappeared. There is no way that kids today would know what to do if any of those toys malfunctioned on them.
30 Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kid
Snack Time Cabbage Patch Kids first made their appearance in the late 80s and they basically hit the ground running. The toy had a squishy body and hard plastic head and it ate things. They had a battery-powered mechanical jaw that would munch on the food that came in their box as accessories. Fake fruits and fries. This toy was a hit and every little girl got it for a present until things started to go wrong.
The doll had a tendency to chew on more than the food that was provided.
One parent had to hastily cut her daughter's hair as the doll was gnawing on it at a pace that no one would believe. Mattel eventually had to refund the money of some very unsatisfied parent’s and watched little girls all over the world cry as they were told they could no longer play with the doll.
29 Talkback: Dear Diary
Dear Diary was the toy that every tween wanted in the 90s after they saw Cher Horowitz use it to keep her busy life organized. The portable organizer had an alarm clock, a day calendar and it was a dark pink color. Of course, none of us were ever as busy as Cher and Dionne yet we walked around with this organizer that made us feel like adults. We could take small notes and pretend like we had things to remember besides doing our homework. The toy became so popular that people forgot that it had a tie-in with Clueless and just started using it as if it was a palm pilot for children.
28 Don’t Wake Daddy
The board game Don’t Wake Daddy was one of the weirdest games to hit the market.
It featured an overly tired father who just wanted to sleep and a bunch of rowdy kids, played by us, that needed to make it to the end - which was essentially back to their bedroom - without waking up their father
But, beware, if you happened to be the one who woke daddy. Not only did you lose the game but he would wake up with a loud noise. Just look at the kids on the box they are absolutely stressed.
27 Sky Dancers
Sky Dancers were no doubt unsafe. Kids would pull the lever and they would fly off their base and into the air. Only, what comes up must go down, and often they would bump people on their way.
The “dancers” didn’t do much else, and they smelled like a hard plastic that no child should ever have the opportunity to play with. One of the best - and probably most unsafe - features about this doll were the wings that flew out when it popped off that stand. Don’t forget to duck if you decide to dust off this once favorite toy.
26 Gooey Louie
Gooey Louie was a toy that we can’t even believe that we played with. It was a head that had green snot coming out of the noise. The object of the game was to pick his nose without being the one to make him “sneeze his brains out”. That was literally in the instructions. So, the fact that kids were playing a game that required them to pick fake boogers is not only unsavory but telling of how bored we were during the 90s. The makers of the game Goliath attempted to bring this game back out in the 2000s and let’s just say it didn’t go well.
Parents must be smarter now because they realize this game is just encouraging kids to pick their noses.
“Their squirmy, their wormy, their purple and green the grossest little creatures that you’ve ever seen”. Yes, that is part of the actual song that appeared in the commercial. Thingmakers were basically small mould factories where you could make your own gel consistent toys to play with later. What they didn’t realize was how unsafe this toy turned out to be. They were made in a small “oven” that ended up harming the kids when they tried to take their creations out. Yet, it stayed on the shelves for at least another decade and they even tried to improve it. Eventually, it disappeared and for good reason.
24 Dream Phone
Dream Phone was personally my favorite board game. It consisted of using a phone to make several phone calls to find out who your crush was. It had cards with pictures of boys and clues to who your crush was. When you finally found your crush he simply said a robotic “I like you”. It was the most satisfying thing ever. This game was quintessential 90s. The game came with a phone that looked like one of the first car phones ever.
This game is not one that is easily obtainable today but if any toy on this list should be brought back, it’s this one.
23 Moon Shoes
Moon Shoes were meant to make a kid feel like Neil Armstrong as he walked on the moon. Basically, what they did was bounce super high in the air, but when it came to landing, you pretty much had no control.
The base of these Moon Shoes were so bulky that when they landed on the floor plenty of kids complained about their ankles hurting them.
They could make anyone clumsy. If we are being real, we are surprised that there weren't any reports of medical issues at the height of this toys popularity. I wanted Moon Shoes but my mom refused. I'm still not over it.
22 Skip It
Skip It was essentially just a workout. You put this ankle hula hoop around your foot and you get somewhat of a running start going. You push this thing in circles around your leg and use your other leg to jump over it when it comes back around. There were a few incidents when you would have bumped the other ankle because you went so fast, it didn't stop when you stopped.
Other companies have tried to remake this toy time and time again but nothing is like the original and nothing will ever be more fun.
There probably wasn’t a bigger waste of money than Pogs. A circular, thick piece of paper that you slam a hard, circular, plastic thing on top, oh yeah, that’s a money pit. But from personal experience, I can tell you this was one of the most fun things to do during recess. Everyone would group up and play one another. When you looked out at the playground there were just groups of kids sitting on the floor using their "slammers" to flip over as many Pogs as possible. They were popular well into the 2000s but slowly faded away as playing outside became obsolete. But, if they ever make a comeback, I’ll be ready.
20 Puppy Surprise
Puppy surprise was a toy that basically showed kids how dogs have puppies. Your plush dog would come with a weird hairdo and the surprise part of the name was referring to the number of puppies your dog would have. This is what made the plush toy so exciting you never knew how many puppies you would get. Some people claimed six, some eight and the unlucky ones would get 2 or 3. There was even talk, when I was a kid, that a child only got one. Parents must have smartened up because after a while they realized that this toy was basically giving kids information they didn't need way before their time.
19 Nano Baby
“Nano, nano here, nano, nano now”. Yes, this little hand-held video game was teaching young kids how to take care of a baby. A Nano Baby gave you a digital newborn who would cry, go to the bathroom, need love and food and if you didn’t, then you lost the nano baby. What does a kid know about taking care of a child? The weirdest thing about this toy was that the oldest the baby would get would be about toddler age; then it would sprout wings and fly away.
The good thing about that is if you messed this one up you got to start all over again with a brand new soon-to-be angel baby.
18 Doodle Bear
Doodle Bear was low-key a useless toy unless you like to draw. As a child, I always wondered who wanted to draw on a bear when they could draw on a piece of paper. It was kind of a waste of time to be honest because when all the space was filled up you had to put the thing in the washer in order to use it again. Besides that, it was just a plush toy. This is probably why this toy does not exist today and even though we are in the era of bringing back old things, it may be safe to assume that this won’t be one of them.
17 Mr. Potato Head
Mr. Potato Head was a toy that allowed you to change the faces that a potato could make. You could also dress them up with things like hats and shoes. However, he really became popular as one of Andy’s toys in the Toy Story franchise. All of a sudden, every kid wanted a Mr. Potato Head and his wife. But really, what else was there to do with this toy? How many times can you dress him up? We cannot see a toy like this one doing well today. Who would play with it? How many accessories can you really buy for it?
16 Cupcake Surprise
The only thing I can remember about my Cupcake Surprise doll was that she smelled heavenly. She seriously smelled so fragrant, and the only thing I ever wanted to do was hold her close to my chest and inhale her. Sounds weird right? Probably, because after opening her up and popping her out of that muffin shape all the excitement was gone. There was a whole set of these girls and the commercial made it seem as though they were all individuals with this great backstory. But once you get one you realize she is just a doll rolled into a cupcake shape.
After watching Home Alone my brother was obsessed with getting the same recording device that Kevin had. He too wanted to trick whomever he could, the same way Kevin did. Only what he didn't to realize was that the chances of him ever being a situation like Kevin were slim. Not to mention, it would never be as entertaining and light-hearted as Kevin’s situation.
Yet the Talkboy was so popular that they made the Talk Girl which I of course got, because who wouldn’t want that?
I too must have assumed that I would one day be in a situation like Kevin. A toy like that would never last today because the technology now is so much better. I still have my Talk Girl though not sure what I will ever do with it.
14 Baby All Gone
Baby All Gone was a doll that came with her own food and you could feed her as if she was a real baby. The food in the original version was a bowl of cherries and a bottle of milk. The commercial made the doll look way more fun than she truly was. A stay at home dad was having trouble feeding a baby so his daughter steps in to show him how it’s done. She demonstrates on her Baby All Gone and voila! Just like that the father becomes the student. The commercial goes on to show the doll really eating her food and finishing her bottle. It was amazing and it sold out at Christmas. Unfortunately, the doll was upstaged by a newer version that also disappeared after a few years.
13 Stretch Armstrong
Stretch Armstrong was simply a doll for guys who liked to play rough with their sister's Barbies. Stretch Armstrong was made to be able to stretch just like his name says. You could also throw him around and play a game of tug-a-war with your friends. The doll was such a hit that they introduced kids to his buddies the Flex Fighters.
Eventually, his popularity grew so much that Hasbro made a cartoon and even re-invented Stretch and his crew to look more life-like.
Because of it’s squishy, soft material kids used to think it was real fun to use him as more than just a toy.
12 Silly Putty
My experience with silly putty is one I don't like to share. The pliable, putty-like toy was advertised as being able to do more than just squish in your hand.
You could imprint on it, make it a ball and bounce it, and for some reason, you could treat it like a pet and sleep beside it.
Well, the sleeping thing sounded cool, so I gave that a try and woke up with Putty stuck in my hair and later crying when my mom had to cut out pieces of putty squished chunks of hair. Thankfully for me, karma reared her ugly head when Silly Putty had to be pulled from shelves because it wasn’t that kid-friendly after all.
11 Wrestling Buddy
Yes, a Wrestling Buddy is exactly what it sounds like. It's a plush toy that is almost life-size that you can play-wrestle with. The one featured in the photo above is Ted DiBiase. Oh, did we forget to mention that they were based off of real wrestlers? For example, Hulk Hogan also had a doll. We aren't sure how safe it was to encourage your children to play rough with a plush toy. But then again, in the 80s and 90s, it was "anything goes". These toys soon fell off the popularity map and other wrestling merchandise took its place. But word on the street is they are supposed to make a comeback.
10 Mouse Trap
Mouse Trap was this awesome interactive board game that pulled together kids love for being hands-on, and unknowingly using their brains. The game was set up almost like a domino effect - if one thing went down, everything went down. It was fun to play when it was all finally set up but after one round of playing no one wanted to set it up anymore. The game, unfortunately, took way too much time to prepare and no parent ever had the time to actually set up the game and play it afterward. It was disheartening for family game night and one child always finished the night disappointed because they couldn’t play Mouse Trap.
9 Steve Urkel Doll
Steve Urkel was a character on Family Matters who became so popular that he got his own doll. The show was initially supposed to be about the family and Urkel was just supposed to be their really smart neighbor. His nerdy, yet lovable persona, made him the star of the show.
Of all the characters on the show, his was the only one that got a doll made out of his character.
This Urkel doll could also talk and say his popular phrases just enough to irk everyone in your family. There was a hard plastic version and a plush version that basically sat on the shelves because no one wanted them.
8 Yak Bak
Yak Bak was a toy that could make sounds, change or record your voice and record new sounds. Right around the time that the film Scream came out, this toy was becoming popular. Although there was no official affiliation to the movie, it was one of those toys that flew off the shelves in hopes that people could play a few tricks of their own. The Yak Bak was a toy that got a lot of kids sent to the principal's office and a phone call home.
Eventually, like every toy, it was beat out by something bigger and better. This is one toy we wouldn’t mind coming back.
7 My Size Barbie
My Size Barbie was exactly as it sounds a Barbie that was over 3ft tall and it was the best Barbie in a long time. Every little girl wanted it and made sure to put this Barbie on their Christmas list. But pump the breaks, this doll was A LOT of money; it was at least over $100.00 at the time. The number of little girls that year that did not receive a My Size Barbie was probably high.
No parent was ready and willing to spend that amount of money on a Barbie that was actually kind of weird to have in their house.
6 Baby Alive
Baby Alive was basically the updated version of Baby All Gone. she was supposed to be better in many ways. More refined and with better food. She even moved her mouth as you fed her food. This doll was advanced for the time. Unfortunately, a problem with overheating and breaking down easily kind of made the doll unappealing. This doll after a while became more unsettling than anything else. The way her lips moved and the painted on eyes made for a contrast that was not appealing to the eye.
There was nothing else to do besides move on to the next big thing in toys.
5 Troll Dolls
The Troll Dolls of today are so different from what I knew as a kid. Trolls now look so happy and friendly but the 90s trolls, well, those ones looked... interesting. The hard plastic toy was wrinkled up around the eyes and looked almost witch-like. They also held a big jewel where their bellybutton should be. These things were meant to be collectibles and there were several different types. Some with cool eyes and wacky colored hair.
But really, what were we thinking of playing with these things? They did absolutely nothing.
4 Original Big Wheels
The original Big Wheels will forever be haunted by that scene in The Shining but that didn’t stop every kid from wanting to have their own Big Wheels. It was the coolest tricycle in town and you could pick up a lot of speed on that thing. The only problem was over time the cheaply made product would eventually fall apart. There was also a tipping risk when going around a corner too sharply. The great thing about kids is they are resilient. As soon as they fell off they just got right back up.
3 Koosh Ball
These were those squishy toys that Rosie O'Donnell used to into the audience on her talk show. Yes, Rosie O’Donnell had a talk show. Anyway, the Koosh Ball was essentially just a bouncy ball with a fringe but the difference was it had an accessory: a "fling shot". This stick looking thing was used to launch them really far. But at the end of the day, it really was nothing more than a ball. No big deal. The only thing that toy showed kids was how easily they can be convinced into wanting a tricked out bouncy ball.
2 Glo Worm
A portable nightlight what could be better? Glo Worms were marketed as a toy for children who needed a nightlight but didn't want to feel abashed about it. When you gave Glo Worm a hug he would light up or you could just turn him on and he glows in the dark. There was only one thing wrong, some of them got a little overheated and melted. This caused a bit of upset but the company was quickly able to turn around their bad luck. Is there a toy out there like that now for kids? Maybe the Glo Worm could make a comeback?
1 Sit 'N' Spin
A Sit 'n' Spin works in almost the same way that a teacup ride at a theme park would work; In other words, it's essentially a single-person merry-go-round. Now, think about it, if the original merry-go-round needed at least 2 people, what made you think you it would be any better with one person? This toy was one I was too afraid to try, you know, with the risk of falling off and everything. We can see why a toy like this one would not survive now as it’s too problematic.
Let’s not forget that all the toy really did was make you dizzy. Where’s the fun in that?