Zack Morris, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, round tinted frame sunglasses and beepers — if these things are your aesthetic, you might be a 90s kid. The 90s was possibly the greatest decade, spawning great movies, great shows, and great toys. It also gave us nerds our king, Steve Urkel. But you can probably remember some of the cool 90s toys you played with. I mean, it’s not like you could really spend all that time waiting for your 56k modem to boot up, log on to American Online and watch Netflix or anything. Instead, you played with toys!
The 90s gave us some of the best toys ever, including Creepy Crawlers, Micro Machines, Beanie Babies, and cool action figures like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, buying these toys today can be a real chore, since many of them have ceased production a long time ago. There are still some 90s collectibles available today, though.
Maybe you regret letting your mom throw these toys out when you were a kid and you want to replace them for nostalgic reasons, or maybe you want to share them with your own children; whatever your reason, here are the best 90s toys that you can buy today.
Easy Bake Oven
My six-year-old daughter has her own Easy Bake Oven, and it’s everything I remember from my childhood. This nifty little invention gives your little ones the ability to bake their own yummy treats without the danger of using the actual oven, and less mess than “real” baking – they simply need to add water to the powdered mixes and stir. It comes with the ingredients to make mini whoopie pies and chocolate truffles, and when those run out you can easily buy refills or even look on Pinterest for instructions on how to make your own.
I didn’t care so much about what the ball actually did, I just cared about the smell. Nothing was as comforting as the smell of Koosh Balls in the morning. They were pretty therapeutic, though; you could consider them the original fidget toy.
Tamagotchi was the first major Japan imported toy that I can remember, and it was also the first toy that I can remember that both boys AND girls played with equally. Everyone had a Tamagotchi virtual pet at one point or another and always talked about how their Tamagotchi was still alive and well (even though we all know it was long gone). I remember making my mom babysit mine while I was at school and being furious with her when she inevitably killed it. Tamagotchis were surprisingly durable, too — must’ve been the hard plastic shell, I guess. Fun fact: I had a Tamagotchi that turned on after 8 years of sitting in storage.
Oh yeah, Polly Pocket is still around. These tiny little dolls come with a playset inside a compact so they’re easy to take anywhere, be it school or a sleepover. Since it closes securely, you don’t have to worry about losing the itty bitty pieces. We’ve included a link to the Polly Pocket Donut Pajama Party set pictured here, but as when we were kids, there are numerous playsets available – both in the form of compacts and larger, dollhouse-like structures.
Magic Mitt was a fun game that pretty much gave anyone the ability to catch a ball since the ball actually stuck to the grip board you were holding. They don’t actually make the original Magic Mitt toy anymore, but there are plenty of clones that work just the same, such as this Catch and Toss set.
These terrifyingly adorable little guys were all the rage when I was in elementary school. Remember those nights you couldn’t get it to stop talking so you could go to sleep? Good times. Nowadays, they have been redesigned to look slightly less like Gremlins and have Bluetooth connectivity so you can explore the Furby Connect World app with your furry little friend. They also come with a sleep mask, so those long nights of trying to get them to SHUT UP are over.
Pogs kept me busy for hours, and I had sleeves and sleeves of them, including torpedoes. These collectible and tradeable cardboard discs created what is now referred to as the obsessive gamer. The idea actually originated in the 1920s, but they blew up in the 90s as one of the most popular collectibles. If the idea of finding little cardboard discs scattered about your house appeals to you, get these for your kid. It’s better than stepping on a LEGO, amirite?
Moon Shoes were bouncy fun shoes for kids that, like so many old toys, were incredibly dangerous. If you didn’t fall and give yourself a bloody nose once or twice, you weren’t moon shoeing right. To be honest, we can’t believe these are still on the market, but here we are. They are one-size-fits-all up to a men’s size 9 shoe and 160 lbs, so even smaller adults can use them.
Nickelodeon Solar Gak
The nastiest, stickiest, gooiest yet coolest toy you just had to have as a kid that your parents hated. Nickelodeon’s Solar Gak changed colors, and it pretty much helped define what Nickelodeon was about in the 90s. Kids today might be obsessed with slime, but this was the ORIGINAL slime, and it doesn’t require them to make a huge mess in your kitchen.
The Talkboy sold so many units due to the popularity of the Home Alone movie franchise (back when Macaulay Culkin was normal). Somehow, they never worked in real life quite like they did for Kevin McAllister, though; the Home Alone producers definitely took some creative liberties, but they were still fun. You can actually still buy Talkboys today, but they’ve become a collector’s item, so they’re a little more on the expensive side.
Slap Bracelets are a toy that still exists today (of course, with updated styles). At the time, they were fun wearables that slapped onto your wrist, allowing you to proudly display unique colors and patterns for all to see. If your wrists weren’t red at all, you weren’t slapping hard enough. This 50-pack would be perfect for party favors at your kid’s next birthday party (or yours).
I remember the Crossfire commercials like they were yesterday, always with the badass Crossfire song. Milton Bradley created this board game in the early 90s, and it felt like an arcade shooter meets board game mash-up. There was so much fun to be had with your friends, and no matter how many times you played Crossfire, you never got sick of it. It is a bit of a 90s collector’s item nowadays, so it’s quite pricey, but if you’re lucky you can find an auction or garage sale that is selling it.
Etch A Sketch
I never could draw anything with these apart from a staircase, but maybe some of you were more talented with these. There was a kid on that Figure It Out show once that could make lifelike portraits of famous people on one, and there I was struggling to make a rectangle. Oh well. They’re undeniably fun, though, and perfect for taking in the car; you don’t have to worry about a battery dying, and your child can draw without making a mess. When they’re done, they just shake it and start over. The knobs are easy for even little hands to grasp, making this an ideal toy for all ages.
Cabbage Patch Kids
I’m sure everyone remembers the Cabbage Patch craze; for a while, these were as difficult to get your hands on as some of the rarer Beanie Babies. Full disclosure: I bought a Cabbage Patch Doll for my daughter a few years back, and she was terrified of it, which broke my heart. She’s never been big on dolls, however, so if your child is, they will love these adorable little faces. Their soft bodies make them perfect for younger children, and they come with a unique name, birthday, and adoption papers.
Kids having a disagreement? Let them safely duke it out with these inflatable boxing gloves while you referee from the couch! It’s great entertainment for the whole family. Remember the jingle? “More fun than a pillow fight!” Now that’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Anyway, these are super easy to use – just inflate, stick your hands inside, and go! They feature heavy-duty vinyl for durability (seriously, these things never pop), no-leak air valves for easy inflation, and double-cavity air chambers to cushion the wrists and hands.
I’m pretty sure this game is responsible in large part for my anxiety. It was like a handheld Simon Says; the voice would issue one of three instructions (“bop it”, “twist it”, or “pull it”) and you had to rush to obey before you lost. It was intense. You could play solo or go head-to-head with your friends by passing it back and forth. Today, there are numerous incarnations of the game, including this updated version of the original, with a new design that is presumably more ergonomic and a total of ten moves – in case the original one wasn’t stressful enough.
Oh yeah – she’s still around too! She is just as adorable as I remember, and apparently still has the same weirdly dismember-able body (for easier dressing?). Her rubbery hair strands are much easier than traditional doll hair for little hands to style, and she comes with a total of 21 pieces: an extra outfit, two hair clips, six hair beads, 3 elastic bands, and a doll stand. Buy all her friends so you can mix-and-match their outfits and hair accessories (and even body parts, if you’re so inclined)!
I got a LITE Brite for my daughter last Christmas and was reminded how therapeutic these things are (until you spill or drop the little pegs, that is). It’s basically a lightbox with round holes into which you insert colored pegs to create a light-up picture; you can do this either freehand or using one of the included inserts with color-coded marks to tell you where to place the pegs. When you run out of those, you can easily purchase refills with various themes. It’s simple, but all the best toys are, and it helps promote hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. This particular set comes with double the templates and pegs, and even two storage cases to take it on-the-go. Unlike the original, the newer model comes with four different light modes – blinking, pulsing, steady and random – so you can put on dazzling light shows for your family and friends.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
The ’90s were, apparently, all about encouraging sibling rivalry. Maybe your parents weren’t comfortable with you actually beating on one another with the Socker Boppers; if so, this was the next best thing. It’s like thumb wrestling on steroids. You simply assemble the ring, snap the robots — Red Rocker and Blue Bomber — into place, and then make them punch one another using the thumb mechanism until someone’s head pops off. Fear not, though; you can simply pop the loser’s head back into place and you’re good for another round! These durable plastic robots can stand up to a lot of punishment, so your kids are sure to get hours and hours of enjoyment out of them just like you did back in the day.