There's a saying that people tend to look back on the past through rose-colored glasses, but that becomes increasingly difficult to do when you have to stop and explain to your kid that "rose-colored glasses" are not a filter on Instagram. Sure, some things are fun to laugh about now, like blowing into your cartridges in a desperate attempt to get your video game to work. But it's somewhat disheartening to think that the toys that entertained you in the '90s would never entertain your kid today.
In a way, this current wave of youngsters and the ones to come are totally missing out. Maybe the generation of kids who grew up in the 1990s are a bit biased, but at least they've got things like the Aggro Crag and purple ketchup to back up that sentiment. Typically, older people are fond of their youthful days because it was "a simpler time," which is an ambiguous statement at best. But for '90s kids, it was that it felt like we were on the cusp of amazing technology that made our toys seem so revolutionary.
So whether the gadgets and toys you played with are simply no longer in production or they're just buried somewhere in your mom's garage, chances are you kid might not even see the same amazing qualities you once did. But for old time's sake, let's take a look at some of the toys from the '90s that kids today would never get.
1. Pogo Balls
Do you like to balance? Do you like to desperately squeeze a ball between your feet? Do you also like to fall flat on your face? Then have fun explaining to your kid why the Pogo Ball was the height of outdoor entertainment in the '90s.
"So, let me get this straight. You threw cardboard caps at other cardboard caps to see who could win the most cardboard caps? And you voluntarily did this for hours?" That's probably how you can expect the conversation about POGs to go with your child.
3. Moon Shoes
Since the '90s were apparently all about fun ways to injure yourself, get in gear and strap on a pair of Moon Shoes until you inevitably sprain your ankle. It's just like walking, only more dangerous! What's not to love?
4. Stretch Armstrong
Wouldn't you have given anything to be a fly on the wall in the marketing room that came up with Stretch Armstrong? "Get this: he's kind of like a strong, solider guy, but he stretches really far."
5. The Oregon Trail
Though this wasn't technically a toy in the physical sense, it was still the highlight of your school day when you got to play this tragically realistic computer game. Raise your hand if your character ever died from dysentery.
6. Skip It
What's better then hitting your shin with hard plastic at high speeds? Why, having a counter to keep track of your skips, of course. I'm still actually not sure why this was so popular in the '90s.
If you're too young to remember, Lite-Brite was a light box with a black cover that you stuck translucent colored pegs into to form a design when it was lit up. Fascinating, I know. Pegs were frequently lost and templates were easily torn, but that kite you made sure did look pretty awesome.
8. Sky Dancers
Want to lose an eye or rip out a tangled piece of your own hair? Then you should try out Sky Dancers. It's all the fun of jumping face first into a ceiling fan, but in a convenient hand-held form that you start up like a lawnmower.
9. Wooly Willy
I will never forget painstakingly getting Wooly Willy's hair, beard, and eyebrows just right, only to have my little sister accidentally bump my elbow and my masterpiece was instantly destroyed. At least the magnetic art in an Etch-A-Sketch required more vigorous shaking to get rid of your work.
Was it an owl? A hamster? Or a furry robot? The world may never know. Yet for some reason, Furbies were the must-have toy for many kids in the '90s. Your kid may not understand the appeal of a toy who speaks Furbish and can accidentally scare you by turning on in the middle of the night, but you found it endlessly entertaining.
11. Crash Dummies
Maybe it was an attempt to make vehicular safety more relevant to kids, but these Crash-Test Dummies seem oddly morbid in retrospect. Somehow simulating potentially violent car crashes doesn't seem like such a good idea for a kids' toy.
Presumably named for the sounds you make upon touching this viscous substance, Gak provided endless hours of gross-out fun at birthday parties and sleepovers. In the '90s you didn't ask what chemicals were in your toys, you just played with them, dammit.
13. Terminator 2: Bio-Flesh Regenerator
I'm not sure who thought a vaguely nude, somewhat flesh-colored DIY Arnold Schwarzenegger circa Terminator 2 was a great idea for a kids' toy, but someone certainly approved it.
14. Big Frank
Talking to strangers, touching dead body parts, and performing surgery are all things kids of the '90s found completely acceptable, as evidenced by Big Frank. A spin on the classic Frankenstein monster, Big Frank solicited children to fix him in what can only be described as a training ritual for a future serial killer and/or mad scientist.
At the time of its release, HitClips were undoubtedly the coolest and most high-tech toys many kids had ever seen. You could listen to short clips of your favorite bands' top songs, like N'SYNC or Britney Spears. Now? I'm pretty sure your kid would just laugh as they downloaded a million songs onto their fancy smartphone.