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Last Updated on December 29, 2022
Looking back, I’m shocked at how times have changed. What kids do nowadays resembles little what we did back in our heyday!
Technology has really transformed the activities that children do in comparison to what kids did back in the 90s, but it’s not only that… The games we played, the toys we used, what movies or series we watched, and even the things we ate have transformed overnight.
Scroll onwards to read all about the unbelievable 90s activities that we did as kids! Warning, the nostalgia will hit you hard!
- General things we all did…
- Old Tech Stuff…
- Related to Games…
- Speaking of Toys…
- Inspired by Things That We Watched or Read…
General things we all did…
Decorating your Room with Glow-in-the-dark Stars
During the 90s, everyone had glow-in-the-dark stars glued to their ceiling and walls, and as we fell asleep, we either counted them or took comfort in the lack of total darkness. I am really happy that these have made a comeback!
I know that a new generation of children will love them as much as we did. After all, there is nothing cuter or more calming than going to bed, looking up to the ceiling, and seeing a starry constellation illuminating your room with its soft glow.
Spacing Out In A Floater (in the Pool)
Floaters were the bomb back in the 90s. If you didn’t live near a water park, you could always fall back on your trusty pool, or your best friend’s pool, with a couple of Fun Noodles or a unicorn floater to enjoy lazy summer afternoons.
There was always the community or country club pool if none of those was an option, but chances were that somehow, somewhere, a 90s kid would find their destined pool to float a couple of hours away. Of course, you wouldn’t come out until your fingers were beyond pruned.
Taking A Family Road Trip
Movies don’t lie. Road trips were a 90s phenomenon that all of us kids were subjected to by our parents. If you didn’t have to squeeze in with a couple of cousins and your dog on the backside of your car, it meant you weren’t packing sufficient stuff for said trip.
Of course, if you were old enough the only way to survive the voyage was to put on your Walkman or Discman and tune everyone out. Or in my case, playing Tetris until I dropped.
I dreaded going camping, mostly because my dad loved it but he always forgot to pack essential stuff. I remember this one time when he brought many cans (for a quick dinner) but forgot the can opener. We had to precariously resort to a knife and do some risky maneuvers to open them. Things could have gone south pretty easily.
Anyhow, it seems like most people of m generation have at least one camping anecdote to tell, depending on the experience they have either turned out campers themselves or would rather never sleep in anything that is not a bed, like me. Seems like parents were on a camping craze during the 1990s!
Spending All Day Outside Unattended
It might sound so silly, but do you remember going outside and not coming back to your house until the sunset? We 90s kids were actually allowed to be outside all day, only coming back when you were summoned for lunch or dinner.
Most of the time, our parents didn’t even know what we were doing or where we were at during those hours. Be it at a neighbor’s house, the beach, going around on our bikes, rollerskating or whatnot. Most wondrously of all was the fact that this was no cause for alarm!
Having A Pajama Party
Pajama parties were so rad! We got to watch movies until late hours, play board games, and binge on pizza, pop tarts, and the like. But, convincing your parents to have friends over for a slumber party was a right of passage and one of the hardest things to achieve. It was only rivaled by convincing your parents to let you attend a pajama party at your friend’s house, which was slightly easier.
Their main fear was that, since the school was out, slumber parties could potentially go on for a couple of days or a whole weekend. Of course, this was only frightful if the kids were staying at your place, which is why getting the good-to-go was so hard!
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Hanging At The Mall
The local mall was a reunion spot for many 90s kids. Sometimes, it was because you just couldn’t stand your parents for a second more, and others because your parents couldn’t take one more minute of you driving them crazy.
Either way, they basically dropped us at the mall like they were playing hot potato, and we were happy to comply!
Is this still a thing? I can totally imagine that the danger now lies in getting discovered texting on your cellphone instead of passing a little folded paper back and forth. But, before there was such a thing as cellphones, there was nothing as thrilling as passing a note to your best friend and praying no one read it in between!
Old Tech Stuff…
Going to Blockbuster to Pick a Movie for Movie Night
You might be into scaring yourself silly, cracking up with a good comedy, or going for dear old rom-coms but whichever one you fancied, there was no feeling like getting the last copy of your chosen movie at your local Blockbuster. If you were lucky, your parents might even let you pick another one when you dropped that one in!
Also, forget about streaming, we had to browse the aisles to find new releases and unwatched gems. Even better we could get recommendations from that hot guy that manned the desk who loved weird indie movies. Perfect for a little rom-com crush of our own!
Talking for Hours on the Phone
There was a time when talking with your friends was not as easy as taking the cell phone from your pocket and dropping them a message. Don’t even get me started on communicating late into the night.
There were actually many restrictions we had to contend with when talking on the phone. First of all, if someone else was on the phone (or if the internet was connected), you were permanently cut off from gossiping with your friends. They might also listen in on your conversation!
Second, talking for hours on the phone was such a huge thing that sometimes you might end up grounded by your angry parents when the bill came. Finally, there was also the huge hurdle of getting to your friends if one of their parents picked up. They might not even pass the phone if they wanted your friend to continue doing homework or such.
Having your own phone line in your room was actually considered a huge privilege and a very posh thing to have because you could avoid most of those issues!
Listening to Music on your Discman Everywhere
Despite having to remain still to avoid skipping, listening to music on your Discman was the thing to do if you were a teenager. You might still go for your trusty Walkman if you were out for a jog though. No matter how promising the locking device sounded, Discmans always skipped. It was one of those world truths you could count on.
Droppin’ A Ton Of Quarters At The Arcade
There was nothing as unique as carrying your hard-earned bag of quarters into the arcade. The whole experience was the bomb. You could go broke at the arcade and do it joyfully, be it playing Pac-Man, Street Fighters, Mortal Kombat, or that new dancing game. There was always next week to start gathering coins again!
Making a Mix Tape
Kids nowadays might think that making a playlist on Spotify for their crush is awesome, but they know nothing of the effort it took to make a mix tape cassette. Only 90s kids know the quick reflexes it took to record songs from the radio while avoiding the week chart narrators. It made receiving a mix-tape cassette that much more meaningful.
Taking Photos, and Waiting a Week to See Them
At the beginning of the 90s, digital cameras were not yet popular, so whenever you immortalized moments with your friends you had to actually wait a while to get your hands on the photos. Oh, your pics also got seen by the person making them which sometimes got embarrassing.
Also, it cost money to buy the photo roll and develop it, so you had to pick which photos you took and most importantly, which photos you had revealed! Blurry pictures, finger pictures, and photobombed pictures happened a lot, too.
If you had internet at home, chances were you had to wait till your parents were busy doing something because you were going to get the phone occupied for hours, and there was no calling or receiving calls once you were connected. The dial-up noise was also quite loud, so there was no sneaking around either. It was also super slow by today’s standards, and each minute cost you, so you made it count!
Saving Projects on Your Floppy Disk
It is really wondrous that DVDs now save so much stuff. Back in the day, we made do with floppy disks, often saving one measly game onto 10 or more of them. Young people today might not even know what a floppy disk is besides the shape of some retro placemats, but we will remember them forever!
Related to Games…
Avoiding the Death of your Tamagotchi
Raising a Tamagotchi was not easy. There were many chances to screw it up and have it die on you, be it from hunger, boredom, or because you broke it when you sat on it (yes, this actually happened, please do not judge me).
So, to avoid its untimely demise you might end up entrusting it to one of your parents or even a friend if you knew you weren’t going to be able to feed it at the right time. Babysitting a Tamagotchi was no easy feat. The responsibility might have even broken a parent or two.
Playing for Hours on a Nintendo
I was a huge Mario Kart fan. I could never rescue the princess, but as a casual gamer, I could still play for hours on end without respite to my parent’s chagrin.
Predicting the Future with your Cootie Catcher
This truly reliable oracle was very easy to make and could predict everything you needed to know about life or your next crush. Some girls even planned whole holidays, outfits, and whatnot based on what their Cootie Catcher said, and it was beyond fun!
Being Inseparable from your Gameboy Color
One never knew when 5 minutes could be stolen for a quick game, right? Playing Kirby in color was the coolest of the cool and getting to play on one when you didn’t have one at home was proof of a real friendship.
Speaking of Toys…
Skip-It was one of those toys parents favored because it got kids doing physical activities until you ended up sprawled on the floor one time too many. The truth of the matter was that Skip-It required a fair amount of coordination and balance, which some of us simply didn’t possess. If you didn’t time it right, you ended up tripping and falling on your face. Trust me, I got the upper lip scar to prove (and no, I have no idea how my nose got unscathed but my lip got hurt).
Endless Board Games with Friends and Family
Forget about Candy Crush and Minecraft. Board games were and still are the absolute best game to have. Be it Monopoly, Uno, Battleship, Hungry Hippos, Pick-up Sticks, or “Guess Who?”, 90s kids had an amazing time playing board games. I still love them dearly. They were also amazing entertainment for pajama parties.
Rollerblading All Day Long
Going to places rollerblading was quite common back in the day. Particularly, dropping by your friend’s house or going downtown on a quiet summer afternoon. There was nothing better than spending the day with a friend cruising about.
Teaching Our Furbies Every Word In The Dictionary
Yes, this was really a thing. It was actually a pride thing when your Furby knew the most words out of your group of friends.
Inspired by Things That We Watched or Read…
Imagining What You Would Do If You Were Left Home Alone Like Kevin McAllister
This included going about your home inventing traps and locking doors with wool threads, or setting up camp in the attic and building a fort, just in case. Depending on what your home was like, the possibilities were endless. Of course, most kids never got left behind by their parents, so it was only wishful thinking.
Going Through that Power Ranger Phase
You know the one… That embarrassing moment when you did the poses and identified with one of the power rangers to the point of wearing only that color.
Getting Spooked by Your Goosebumps Books
You were warned not to read your Goosebumps books late at night, but you defied the warning only to find out you didn’t dare go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without turning on all the lights. Feeling identified?
Trying to Figure Out a Magic Eye Picture
This was not easy, at all. Was it me? Did I cock my head the wrong way? I never got the gist of the Magic Eye pictures, really. Guess it just wasn’t in the picture for me…