15 Toys and Games That Defined My Childhood

titleYou guys had to know it was coming… So far I’ve talked about the TV shows, movies, and songs that defined my childhood – today it’s time to talk about the toys and games that filled me with joy during the 90s. I was born in 1987, so most of these are from the 1990-2001-ish era (the greatest era of all time?). As always, I’d love to hear about your favorite toys/games growing up, which of the toys on my list that you also loved, and which ones you’ve never heard of. Sound off below, and long live the 90s!

In no particular order…

Zoombinis Logical Journey zoombinis I first played this game in computer class during 4th grade, and I loved it so much that I asked for it for Christmas. (My parents have a truly hilarious reaction picture of me opening the game on Christmas morning). The best part about playing this was the fact that it completely disguised learning as pure fun.

Trolls trolls I had quite a little troll collection back in the day, and I was really particular about the order I kept them in on my dresser. I would also meticulously use my fingers to shape their hair into a perfect point. I guess in my eyes, it was like having a troll exhibit right in my bedroom.

The Talking Family Dollhouse Talking-Family-Dollhouse This was the COOLEST dollhouse ever. Basically, you could take the different family members and place them on these little disks placed around the house and they would talk to each other. It also had a working doorbell, which I remember being really impressed by.

Slinky slinky Ah, the timeless classic that’s fun for a girl or a boy. I was always really upset that we never lived in a house with stairs, so I couldn’t make my slinky walk. Funnily enough, my parents finally moved into their first house with stairs once I went to college. A little too late, guys, a little too late. But, I have to give my mom a shout out, because approximately 9 seconds after I got a slinky, I’d get it twisted every single time, and somehow my mom would always be able to fix it. Mom skills at their finest.

Silly Putty silly puttyFirst of all, it was so cool that you could take newspaper impressions with this stuff. Actually, I don’t remember what else it was really good for, but I do remember breaking it off into little pieces and leaving a trail of it behind me around the whole house, and when my mom asked why there were tiny pieces of silly putty all in the carpet, I told her that logically it was because I was playing Hansel and Gretel, and the silly putty pieces were my breadcrumbs.

Polly Pockets
Polly PocketThe invention of Polly Pockets is one of the things that made me certain that being an only child is the best thing ever. Some of my friends couldn’t have them because it was a choking hazard for their younger siblings, but there was no worry of that in my house, so I had a stockpile of them.

Play Doh Hairdo Dolly
play doh
Play doh itself is awesome, but this toy was extra cool. Basically, you’d put play doh in her head, select a hair template, then crank her arm, and she’d grow play doh hair that you could cut. My dad was always a good sport, and would make other things out of play doh, while I’d continually grow and cut this doll’s “hair”. Good times!

Nano Baby nano babyOh man, I was DYING to get the lime green Nano Baby for my birthday around 1997, and when I opened it, I felt like all my dreams were coming true. Of course, I could never keep it alive for more than a day, but I sure did love trying.

Mickey’s Adventure in Numberland Mickeys Adventure in Numberland I didn’t really have a lot of video games growing up, but this was one of my favorites. Any game that can actually make math fun is considered a winner in my book! Despite having not played this game in about 20 years, sometimes I still get the songs from it stuck in my head, and I’m instantly taken back to being 6 years old.

McDonald’s Soft Serve
mcdonalds ice cream thingThis was one of my favorite toys, as I used to love to pretend to serve my parents ice cream and drinks. There’s also one sweet memory I have associated with this toy, when my parents were telling me about my grandfather that I never had a chance to meet, and I asked them if they thought he’d like playing with this ice cream set with me.

Lite Brite
lite briteI remember playing with my Lite Brite for hours at a time without ever getting bored. I was such a little rule follower though, that I would never really make my own designs, instead sticking to the templates that came with it.

Don’t Wake Daddy
don't wake daddyThis game was fun, because you had to make your way around the board (house) without the dad popping out of bed and waking up. I ended up playing this so much that eventually the dad wouldn’t stay laying down anymore, which rendered the game useless.

cootieI used to love playing this with my mom, long before my days were filled with going to school and doing homework. Years 2-4 are pretty awesome – it’s a shame we’re too young to realize it at the time.

Bald Cabbage Patch Babies
bald cabbage patch babyMy mom tells me that around age two, I sat on Santa’s lap at the mall and asked for a bald baby doll. The obsession only grew from there, and as I grew up, I pretty much despised any baby doll that had hair. To this day, I think real life babies are cuter when they’re bald, but I guess they have to grow out of it eventually.

Baby Feels So Real
baby feel so realThis doll was crazy, because it was made to feel like it had bones, and it moved “like a real baby.” It even had a soft spot! Eventually one of the arms ripped a little and some bizarre liquid started oozing out, and in dramatic-child-Ashley fashion, I was devastated. Note that it was bald, aka Ashley approved.

That’s my list – what’s yours??

  • Jessica Shannon
    February 27, 2014

    Ahh yes, trolls, Polly Pockets, and Cabbage Patch dolls were the best! I got a tamagotchi for my 9th birthday and I think I got a Furby that year too! I pretty much had all the fads! Did you have fairywinkles? And sky dancers? haha They were the best!

  • Meegan
    February 27, 2014

    Oh my gosh. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see Zoombinis Logical Journey!!! I loved that game so much. I agree– I did not know it was educational, because it was so fun.

  • Katie
    February 27, 2014

    Love this! Oddly, I have one similar in my drafts. Lite Brite was one of my all time favorites followed by Cootie! This brought back so many happy memories.

  • Amberly
    February 27, 2014

    I totally forgot about the McDonald’s ice cream machine!!!! Oh my gosh!!! But I loved Polly Pockets, loved them, they were the best!

  • Nadine
    February 27, 2014

    Polly Pocket, Light Brite, Trolls, Silly Putty, Cabbage Patch Kids, Cootie, and Don’t Wake Daddy are all on my list! My favorite toy ever was my Lov-a-Lot bear from the Care Bears. Also, My Little Pony and Rainbow Bright were up there. I loved playing Ants in the Pants and Pretty Pretty Princess. Remember when they came out with Barbie’s Little Sister Kelly? I had a few of those too….oh and perfume Barbie!!! I loved smelling like a cheap stripper with that perfume! Haha.

  • Becca @ Becoming Adorrable
    February 27, 2014

    Oh, I loved Polly Pockets so much.

    February 27, 2014

    Many fun vivid memories of playing these games with you in Canada, Panama Canal Zone, and Texas during your “growing-up” years!!! Wouldn’t give up a minute of it! Love you, Dad

  • Sarah
    February 28, 2014

    Def loved the LiteBrite, polly pockets! and nano baby although we (my sister 1987 and me 1985′) got a cheaper version called a “Giga Pet” Lol!!! thanks for bringing up many fun memories:)

  • Aukele | 91 Dash
    February 28, 2014

    YES TO ZOOMBINIS, NANO BABIES AND BALD CABBAGE PATCH DOLLS!! I still have my cabbage patch! Her name is Sammy. Had her since I was 3. I had matching jammies and all. I also despised my mom when she washed her and hung her up to dry!!

  • Maria
    March 12, 2014

    I about freaked when I saw the McD’s soft serve! My brother, sister, and me each got a McD’s “device” one Christmas. We had a family night where we all played McD’s and made ice cream cones, french fries, and burgers. How awesome is that?!?!?!?!?! Definitely a great memory!

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