The ‘90s was hands down the best decade to be a kid. Being a ‘90s kid was an art form all of its own — from the style to the cartoons to the way everything had to be “extreme”. You may take this kid out of the ‘90s, but you’ll never take the ‘90s out of this kid. Here are eight reasons why the ‘90s was the absolute best time to be a kid.
The ‘90s was the heyday of Nickelodeon. All That was basically the best show to ever come on the air. Then you had classic cartoons like CatDog, Doug, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, SpongeBob and live action shows like Keenan and Kel (I miss Kel!!!), Clarissa Explains It All, and Are You Afraid of the Dark.
2. Helicopter parenting wasn’t as much of a thing
The ‘90s was the last decade where kids were allowed to do things like walk around the neighborhood without our parents all day in the summer as long as we were home for dinner, just like kids had always done since the dawn of time. But the rise of the 24 hour news cycle that makes parents terrified of everything and the onset of the obsessive mommy bloggers meant that the era of free fun was at an end. Now, if kids get a normal amount of freedom, their parents are accused of neglect.
3. Lisa Frank
Lisa Frank was the kid aesthetic of the ‘90s. Technicolor unicorns, magical pandas, friendly puppies. It was a technicolor paradise that lived on your notebooks, folders, and in your dreams.
4. Pokémon cards
That’s right, the ‘90s is the decade that gave us Pokémon. I collected cards obsessively (along with everyone I knew), and we all told stories of people who found holographic Charizards. The holographic Charizard was THE status symbol of the ‘90s.
The yo-yo isn’t a 90s invention (it was created in the ‘20s) but the ‘90s made yo-yos a lifestyle. In 1990, the ball-bearing yo-yo was mass produced, which greatly reduced friction, meaning yo-yo tricks could be cooler than ever before. Every kid wanted to learn yo-yo tricks and dreamed of winning yo-yo competitions. I read books about yo-yo tricks. This is why the ‘90s were so great — we had video games and TV and all that sh*t, but we had actual real-life dorky-ass activities, too.
6. Roller blades
Inline skating has apparently existed since 1760, but it didn’t really take off until Rollerblades went on the market in 1987. The ‘90s, however, saw the heyday of rollerblading. People rollerbladed all the way across America! Rollerblading fit in with the whole ‘90s Extreme Mountain Dew Nacho Cheesier ethos. And never forget the incredible Disney Channel movie, Brink!, about floppy-haired teens in rollerblade crews.
7. Getting slimed
Getting slimed was a part of life as a ‘90s kid. People were getting slimed all the time! Turn on the TV any day of the week and you’d see green gak being poured all over some kid’s head. Lots of toys involved slime, too: remember the Creepy Crawlers you could stick to your walls, or those sticky hands to slap your friends with? And if you went to Universal Studios in Orlando, you could even get slimed yourself. Sticky sliminess was a big part of the ‘90s kid experience.
8. Goosebumps books
Last week we looked back at the best Goosebumps books because what was better than scaring the crap out of yourself as you lay in bed at night? The ‘90s was a decade obsessed with kid fears, as Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Are You Afraid of the Dark ruled our brains. It was a great decade for kids who loved spooky stuff.
Did I miss any reasons why the ‘90s was so obviously the best decade to be a kid? Tweet at me and let me know @erikaheidewald!