“Sup home skillets?"
Just testing the water for true '90s kids with that one. So congrats. If you're reading this article, it means that you have a somewhat vested interest in reminiscing on the poorly-assembled-yet-life-altering playthings of the 1990s.
By your continued reading, you have implied your consent in being inducted into the cult-ish group of college age kids that continually pay homage to our choker-wearing and frosted tipped childhood. Welcome. We have cookies.
1. The Skip It
We can all thank our lucky glow-in-the-dark sticky stars for this true masterpiece of American ingenuity. The skip it, for those who don't remember it, was a more or less a plastic ball and chain that when used correctly, provided for hours of outdoor fun with only minimal injury. By utilizing good ole centripetal force, kids could entertain themselves without ever moving more than a few inches off the ground.
2. Mini Jeep
The hot rod that required no license other than the inherent knowledge that you were a complete and total badass. The mini jeep was the toddler-sized plastic functional car-like thing that gave '90s kids everywhere the power to hit the open driveway or sidewalk and cruise a full 30 minutes before having to stop for a quick two day battery charge up. The two main colors for these vehicles were Barbie and not Barbie.
The 8th wonder of the world — play-doh. Although no one really knows what it is, what we do know is what we discovered through trial and error experimentation throughout childhood. Two of the most important things about this mystic modeling clay: 1) It gets really hard when exposed to air for more than a reasonable amount of playtime; 2) It is 100% not edible 100% percent of the time. Even when it looked like pasta after you used those cool, plastic, pasta-shaping tools that came in the full play-doh spaghetti set, it still tasted like moist earth a kindergartener may have puked on.
4. Colored Sand
However underrated it may seem, colored sand made it's way into all 90s kids' craft time activities at some point or another. Arguably it was one of the more "therapeutic" of toys at the time, as it required intense focus and sand-drizzling coordination to get the color layering just right before capping the plastic container, admiring your aesthetic masterpiece, and then inevitably dropping it on the floor/shaking it up.
5.Just-Add-Water Dino Pills (and various other sponge animals)
Ahh, the plastic pills that were every mother's choking hazard nightmare. These delightful little plastic capsules housed some of the most fascinating animal shapes to ever emerge from translucent, dissolvable tablets. A few hours after placing your plastic pills into water, you would return to a pond brimming with sponge wildlife, and the foam animals would float around and do nothing else really to your heart's content.
6. Frightening Robot Dog Thing
The actual name this toy was branded with is not important. What's important is the immense popularity that automatically came from possessing one of these plastic-but-painted-to-look-chrome robot dogs that could walk, sit, and even bark. Making for a lifelike simulation of robot dog ownership, kids could play and enjoy these non-pooping, non-living animals until battery replacement was warranted. Light up laser eyes and iPod auxiliary adaptions were just a few features that made these toys a great option for cuddling with in bed at night.
7. Doodle Bear
The '90s ushered in an era of fascination with stuffed toy customization. Before Build-A-Bear became the Wal-Mart of homemade stuffed animals, Doodle Bear was the TV offer stuffed animal everyone had to have. The success of Doodle Bear was directly related to its ability to completely magically vanish the things written on it in Doodle Ink when placed in the washing machine — much like the science behind removing stains from clothing, but significantly more magical.
8. The Sticky Hand on a String Thing
Everyone who was anyone in the scheme of 90s childhoods had some type of heart-warming experience with this toy. Whether it was getting the hand part stuck on some awesomely out-of-reach surface, or 'accidentally' slapping your friend in the face, the sticky hand provided hours of joy/distraction from boredom.
9. Easy Bake Oven
Boy or girl, this glorified mini microwave was the greatest amount of cool money could buy. Using all Easy Bake Oven brand cookware and ingredients by necessity, a population of kid master chefs was born. Using the Easy Bake Oven, one could make all the cupcakes and brownies his heart desired. In the mighty age of the turn of the 21st century, if another kid gave you a homemade brownie from an Easy Bake, you knew it was real.
This concludes our brief tour of the most influential toys of the 90s that shaped us as young adults. You may now take this time to reflect on the defining elements that made up your childhood.