It's difficult to think about what the defining products of this generation of children will be. After all, it's impossible to be in their shoes, so it's hard to know what toys, foods, or clothes will affect them in a way that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. What will they be wishing their own kids will have to play with? This isn't an unreasonable thought. After all, the things that we wear, play with or eat really do help define who we are and can expand our creativity. Just think about the defining products that those who grew up in the 1990s had. The list is never-ending. Each and every one of these products appealed to an aspect of the kids of the '90s as well as the time that they lived in.
However, this doesn't mean that there wasn't an over-saturation of products. It would be pretty hard to recall each and every thing that defined childhoods in the 1990s. This was the time that things began to be mass-produced as well as the time technology grew by leaps and bounds. Still, anyone who grew up in the 1990s is bound to have fond memories when seeing some of the items we have compiled on this list. But only moms who were raised in the '90s will recognize 10 of these 20 things.
Kids in the 1990s (as well as Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom nowadays) learned to babysit and train a digital egg via this odd little technical toy. This may just be the first device that caused us to check it on the regular. In a way, it was the precursor for all of our smartphones. So, if you have a problem with that, you may want to focus your anger on the Tamagotchi.
Kids would wait for their Tamagotchi-esque app to remind them to feed and water their egg, as well as care for it in various other ways as it hatched and grew. So, this toy did, in a way, teach kids some sort of responsibility.
How could anyone forget about Beanie Babies? They were one of the biggest fads of the 1990s. Kids (and adults) went nuts tracking down the rarest ones. Collecting them became a game. Actually, it became a competition. In fact, many believed that by collecting all of them and keeping their tags on, they'd be in for a big payday after a few years. Unfortunately for them, this was sort of a fabrication. Nowadays, Beanie Babies aren't worth any more than the average stuffed animal you can get at Toys R Us. In fact, they may be worth less since they've been sitting in people's attics for 20 years gathering dust.
If you can't remember Beanie Babies, chances are you remember Pokemon cards. Pokemon, in general, may have just been the biggest fad in the 1990s. The television shows, the movies, and toys were everything to kids of all ages and genders. But card collecting was the biggest thing of all.
Kids would save up so they could get their hands on the booster packs. Then they would battle their friends and either win or get some of their more valuable cards taken away. Then there was trading, which could result in parents going over to other kid's homes to convince them to trade their child's card back.
Whatever happened to Minute Maid Juice Bars? Do they still make them? One would think that a company as successful as Minute Maid would still make such a product since they were really popular in the 1990s. But maybe parents nowadays don't want their kids eating as much sugar. None the less, these frozen treats were made with real fruit juice and kids loved them. They probably were created because kids would stick their Minute Maid juice boxes in the freezer to get the same effect.
The company had to take notice of this 1990s fad and wanted to capitalize off of it by creating juice boxes that were designed to be put in the freezer and eaten like a popsicle. Regardless, kids in the 90s loved these things.
When your parents didn't have time to pack you a proper lunch, it meant that Lunchables Pizza was what you were gonna get. At lunchtime, other kids would be scrambling to trade their lunches with yours as everyone loved these things. Of course, pizzas are fun. But making your own pizza is great. Some would even stick it in the school's microwave to make it even more official. But this wasn't needed. There was something about eating it cold that kids adored.
Nowadays, we see far less Lunchables Pizzas. Maybe it's because of health and neutral reasons. But it could have to do with the fact that the company has even more varieties today, like nacho cheese and chicken popper Lunchables.
Oh boy, the style-Gods weren't with the '90s, were they? How could anyone say that they were, since Platform Sketchers were a thing? None the less, kids absolutely adored wearing them. It made them feel like adults, as the shoes felt like heels and obviously made them taller. But celebrities would also be caught wearing them, therefore they were made all the cooler.
Unfortunately, they weren't very easy to walk in. Not to mention that they were no good for any sporting activity, especially at recess or in gym class. Still, kids gravitated toward them because they thought that they were all that.
Don't forget, most people in the 1990s didn't even have cell phones. Kids had to make due by calling their friends and crushes on their parents' home phones. Some were lucky to have their own telephone lines. But others had these Dual-handset Swatch phones.
They were the best way to listen in on a friend's conversation with your crush. Essentially, it was a party line. But one that was pretty closed off unless you had a Swatch Phone. Kids would talk for hours on end on these things. Of course, they were marketed to children as you can see from their design. They even made matches Swatch Watches too, which became pretty popular as well.
Who would have thought that one of the most popular products in the 1990s would be an assortment of pens? Well, chances are you remember just how amazing Milky pens were. Everyone loved to collect and use these things. They were Gelly Roll pens that allowed the user to created epic visions of pastel and surrealist art. That or they just wrote mean notes about the teacher with them. Either way, these pens were cool and people wanted to get their hands on as many colors of them as possible. They also get pretty upset whenever someone took their Milkys or when they would go missing.
Lightbrights were awesome. Of course, they were pretty simple in their design. It's basically paint-by-numbers with electricity. You'd be handed some templates that you'd pin to a lit-up board. These templates could be of butterflies, cars, or even your favorite Disney and Star Wars characters. Then you would have to poke these little plastic pins in and watch the design come to life. Of course, it was possible to be more creative with the designs or even create things of your own. Parents both adored and disliked these things. They loved how it could distract their kids for hours on end but didn't like inevitably stepping on the tiny pins that their kids forgot to pick up.
Breakfast food companies in the 1990s were always trying to find various ways of capturing children with their products. One such way that they got kids to bug their parents to buy them cereal was placing dinosaur eggs in their oatmeal. Of course, these weren't real dinosaur eggs. They were little candy eggs that would magically transform into dinosaurs when heated by boiling water.
They couldn't have been supremely healthy for kids, but they were sure fun. They made eating breakfast an enjoyable activity. This must have made it easier for some parents who had to find ways of getting their kids to eat in the morning.
This photo perfectly captures how hilariously odd this 1990s product looked. And yet, they were so unbelievably popular, it was kind of ridiculous. Whenever the ice-cream truck pulled around the corner, kids at school or at the waterpark would rush over and line up to get their hands on these Ninja Turtles treats with bubblegum eyes.
At this time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the height of their popularity. But even those who didn't care for the comics, movies, or animated TV show all wanted to snack on this tasty ice cream snack. Nobody cared that the ice cream often appeared as if Raphael or Michaelangelo looked kinda off.
No self-respecting 90s child would forget Rugrats. This show was everybody favorite and the company that made it knew that. That's why they expanded their vast product line to include the breakfast cereal, Reptar Crunch. Of course, Reptar was the Godzilla-like creature that Tommy was both frightened of and loved on the show.
Believe it or not, kids went nuts for this highlighter pink and green cereal. But part of the reason that 1990s kids adored this cereal so much was that all of the kids on Rugrats were eating it too. What a cool meta-product. Unfortunately, this product only lasted on the shelves for about a year before it was pulled. Still, for that year, it was SO popular!
Unlike a stress-ball, the Koosh ball had no function. It didn't really squish. It was too distracting to be something that those who needed to vent their frustrations could use. It just sat there looking all weird. And yet, kids had them dangling off of their backpacks and sometimes even their clothing. These colorful things ended up everywhere.
The most fun that kids could have with Koosh balls was snapping the elastic hairs back on themselves or their friends. And they could really sting. Of course, they could also throw them around if they wanted to. But kids tended to gravitate toward them to use them as their accessories or tools to tease their friends with.
Power Beads, or their equivalent, are still used today. But they aren't marketed to kids in the way that they were in the 1990s. Many children would wear these beaded bracelets that stood for things like harmony, wisdom, and strength. Kids also liked them because they were attractive to look at and even felt good against the wrist.
But some actually believed that these bracelets would grant them the powers of which the bracelets stood for. That's why they would spend their parents' money on as many of them as possible and absolutely cover their arms in them. Of course, the company that made these simple beaded bracelets adored this fact.
Before Bop-It, Skip-It was a thing. It was the much simpler and much cheaper toy that was pretty popular throughout the 1990s. It didn't require batteries. It only required the user to swing it around their ankles as many times as they possibly could. This would lead to competitions between kids and their friends to see who could swing it around their ankle the fastest and for the longest. It was actually pretty good exercise. The only problem with it is that the balls on the end of it would inevitably smash into something like a shin or a valuable vase. So, they did have their downside.
Man, kids in the 1990s were obsessed with some pretty weird stuff, huh? Perhaps one of the strangest was kid's collections of Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. Yep, that's right, kids bought endless supplies of chap-stick. Of course, each chapstick tasted differently. One could purchase strawberry ones, chocolate ones, fruit-smoothies, vanilla, and caramel. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. There were hundreds of different flavors and kids wanted every one of them. The people behind Lip Smackers were even smart enough to design a lanyard that kids could wear around their necks that carried all of their collected flavors.
How do you sell shampoo to children? Well, you create fun scents and package them in cool bottles that look like toys. That's precisely what L'Oreal did with their shampoos. Kids would look forward to bath and shower time in the 1990s because it meant that they could play with their colorful fish bottles. Each bottle had a different scent, most of which smelled like Popsicles and other sweet treats.
All of the components of this product proved that L'Oreal really knew how to market to children as well as their parents who wanted their kids to be clean. One of the most intelligent aspects of this product was that it didn't sting if kids got it in their eyes. The kid in the commercial even rubbed the suds across his face.
Okay, folks, you have to remember Gushers. After all, they were one of the most popular after-school and lunchtime treats. Sure, not every parent wanted to give their kid this candy as it was totally full of sugar, but most kids ended up tasting them at one point or another. Gusher could be found everywhere.
Eating them was almost like playtime as when you'd bite into them, the sour, fruity, goo would come out of them. These things were tasty, fun to look at and touch, and even offered the opportunity for kids to have fun while they ate them. It's just too bad that they didn't really offer much in the way of nutritional value.
Even if your parents were nice enough to allow dogs and/or cats in the house, they still might have bought you a Poo-Chi or the kitty equivalent. These little robotic animals allowed kids to learn about responsibility but had none of the stakes of owning a real pet. After all, if you forgot to feed Poo-Chi your points may have gone down and the battery could run out, but the thing could be used again the next day.
These toys could also do some pretty cool tricks and seemingly had a personality. It's just funny that everyone in the 1990s was worried about Y2k and still purchased these things for their children to play with.
Perhaps of all the items on this list, the Furbie was the creepiest. They just sat there with their blinking eyes, their chirping beaks and their odd little bodies. Unfortunately for those who were a bit put off by them, Furbies happened to be one of the most popular products in the 1990s. At one point or another, most kids who were fortunate enough to have such a luxury owned one of these things.
There didn't seem to be much of a point to them. But collecting them became a thing. Sure, some thought they were cute, but you couldn't really do much with them besides watch them waddle around. And you'd be watching them for hours on end because the things never turned off!