1. Pre-Class Routines
Waking up early for work this morning was probably a struggle, and while it was no easy task back then, there was a silver lining. That routine usually included Pop-Tarts and/or some type of sugary cereal, while watching the program of your choice. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sailor Moon – some type of action packed animated series to jolt you awake and prepare you for a day of elementary festivities.
2. The MASH Game
MASH was a complex, grade school algorithm that we used to predict out futures. Who we’d marry, how many kids we’d have, our job, our car – all that good stuff. It turned out to be highly inaccurate, seeing as most of us aren’t married to Jonathon Taylor Thomas or Danielle Fishel (Topanga), and we don’t drive unicycles to our astronaut job at NASA. That being said, what it lacked in realness is made up for in good times. It was interesting to hear these preposterous prophecies even if they held no merit. For those who haven’t outgrown this classic pastime, and for the many who would like to rekindle the flame, there are multiple MASH apps out there, for your predicting pleasures.
3. The Magic School Bus
The Magic School Bus is arguably the most underrated aspect of 90s kid entertainment. Why? Well it scored a hat trick, providing us with books, a cartoon series and a computer game, that I firmly believe was my first experience with addiction. The PC game was interactive, and that’s about as close as you can get to riding a magical school bus without taking some type of psychedelic drug, that’ll probably cause an entirely different addiction. Ms. Frizzle was wacky, but in a fun way that distracted us from the fact that we might be learning a thing or two. Between reading, watching and playing The Magic School Bus, this was amongst the top ways of making elementary school extra enjoyable.
Meats, crackers and cheeses fit for a king. Delicious tortilla chips and nacho cheese. Cold, barely anything like pizza, pizza. There wasn’t a child alive who didn’t enjoy the concept of a Lunchable. It let us get our chef on, throwing together these little combinations of snack-meals that came with some sort of special treat for dessert. That was really the only letdown because nobody wants an undersized Butterfinger. Speaking of sweets, I’m not sure if this existed or if I dreamt this heavenly concoction up, but at some point I thought existed a candy, pizza Lunchable that featured chocolate sauce and M&Ms as the topping. If anyone can confirm this existed/knows where I can find one, please get a hold of me and share your knowledge.
5. Pizza Hut Book It!
While the Pizza Hut Book It! Program encouraged reading in grade school; it made learning in the future one great, big disappointment. Seriously, once we grew up and stopped being handed cheesy, doughy rewards for finishing books, it was like, what’s the point anymore? Doing hard work and not getting a personal pan pizza for it just didn’t feel right. To this day, even after reading an article online I feel deserving of a slice. As brutal as posttraumatic pizza syndrome is, this was a massive source of motivation in the 90s.
6. Calculator Tricks And The “S”
There was usually some story told, describing a woman going in for surgery, needing stitches and the cost of the operation that led to the magical number 55378008 – which, on an upside down calculator, resembles “BOOBLESS.” A crafty move to generate laughs by our calculator savvy classmates. That’s not where the time killing nonsense stopped – we also drew the letter “S” in a unique fashion. It’d start with six vertical lines that we’d connect to create an “S”…. So, yeah… Those are things we did…
7. Lisa Frank Stuff
Lisa Frank was everywhere – on pencils, jewelry, notebooks, binders and stickers, all covered in vibrant color schemes, featuring various animals doing random stuff. The typical Lisa Frank design would depict something like dogs playing on the beach, penguins hugging each other on an iceberg, and bunny rabbits doing ballet on rainbows painted by an enthusiastic panda. These crazy designs were a massive part of the 90s era, which is why all of my memories from 1996 have a hot pink and purple tint to ‘em.
Some youngsters collected these for fun, investing only in the pogs that had their favorite TV or film characters on ‘em, then safely admiring their unused stack. Others were legitimate pog players who put their assortment on the line in games played for keeps. Things got wild during the “Pog Era,” as kids found these as valuable as actual money. Matter of fact, they probably wanted pogs more than cash itself; seeing how flimsy pieces of paper with dead presidents on them didn’t seem as important as circle shaped cardboard, with mutant ninja turtles named after dead artists featured on ‘em. These suckers started being banned at schools across the nation until eventually, they disappeared entirely.
9. Berenstain Bears Series
There was a life lesson in each one of these brilliant books. If you’re ever at a crossroads and uncertain what’s right, or what’s best to do – don’t be afraid to check the Berenstain Bears books out – the answers to all of life’s deepest questions lie subtly within their pages.
10. Super Nintendo/Sega Genesis/Whatever Video Game System Tickled Your Fancy
Talk about motivation; knowing that if you survive a day of school, you’ve got Mario, Luigi and Sonic waiting for you at home is a big-time incentive. These video game systems served as the love of our life who we couldn’t wait to come home to. I can’t tell you guys how many color-by-numbers, spelling quizzes and construction paper activities I completed for the sole purpose of indulging in video games later. Also, Mario practically guided my hand through cursive.