The 90s toys that raised me

by Jennifer Dryden


My stuffed animal that wasn’t really stuffed, yet mechanically hard with a faux fur shell, also the one who demanded food by talking like a toddler. My finger pressed its tongue and my reward for feeding him invisible food was a loud and drawn out, “Yummmm”. Ours was tiger striped and then we got a white one because why not buy an overly-expensive-for-the-90s, annoying toy in bulk?


were a bonding tool for the genders. It was one of the only times my brother and I got to play together, or maybe he only liked the fact that he could “win” my pogs and I could feel privileged to get his crappy ones he got in his pack. I was easily molded to think the least popular cardboard circles were the best. And if they had some sort of bright color on it, I was sold upon first sight. So well play, brother, well played.

Nickelodeon Gak.gak

The only appropriate time for a little girl to make farting noises. My brother could make his armpit fart with his hand, and after many attempts behind closed doors with my own hand-pit combo, I bought some orange Gak and learned to fart in a more appropriate fake way.

Pretty Pretty Princess.pretty pretty princess

I never won the crown, I never owned the game. But I knew I was royalty, kind of like a premature Lorde. If that song was around back then, I would have sung the crap out of that, “And I will never be royyyal, it don’t run in my blood… or ability to play this damn game”… or something like that.

Goosebumps Books.goosebumps

“No way in hell am I reading these.” Same with watching Are You Afraid of the Dark? I have always respected my sleep cycle.

Slap bracelets.slap braeclets

The only way I could get revenge on my brother and not get in trouble for it. But vice versa.

Blow Pens.blow pens

The real fear of what would happen if I sucked in versus blew out of the pen. I never tried it even when my awful friends dared me to. #lifelongmystery


The only handheld game we had that was legit. Mario in that two inch black and green screen was life. I let my brother beat the hard levels because #realistic on my own button-punching abilities, and those monsters were terrifyingly sharp and I ONLY HAD TWO GUYS LEFT! #SOS


Dat hair though! I stand behind this as what kicked off the piercing-of-the-belly-button phase of teens. I stayed strong and I am so glad I did. #bellybuttonsaregross

Beanie Babies.pug bb

346 of them are for sale, if interested. Except the pug, he’s forever mine. #reasonsIhaveschooldebt #saveyour$5youngJennifer

Kitty SurpriseKitty Surprise.

They are selling it at Wal-Mart in 2015. I had a hot pink cat… the baby kittens were basically a bean bag with a plastic cat head, and I would protect them with my life. I remember squealing when I opened it at Christmas – any way to be a mama, I was in.

Don’t Wake Daddy! Board game.dont wake daddy

Why the hell wasn’t Mommy included? I mean I wouldn’t DARE wake my dad when I was little, but for future reference, don’t wake Mommy, children. Wake the other one. Like I said before, I respect my sleep and you should too. #gladwehadthistalk

Full House.full house

I have all nine seasons on DVD, and my children will be sheltered from TV except for Full House until they can reach the DVD/cable boxes. Danny Tanner might be an absolute creep in real life, but he raised those girls the best he could in the show and I even stand by Uncle Jesse’s questionable dates.

Bead lizards.Beaded Lizard 24

I remember making mine a home out of a Lisa Frank sticker box and hiding in my 4th grade desk. Again, we see the obsession of mothering something. String+beads=lizard. #IwillcallyouLizzyandyoushallbemine

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Centuryz car

My first real girl crush major. Zenon Car was equal parts of pretty, adventurous, rebellious and confident. “Zoom zoom zoom, make my heart go boom boom!” #zetuslapedus

The Lion King.the lion king

The first time I realized I had emotions and cried for imaginary characters. Simba, my stuffed animal/best friend, still lives with me and has gone everywhere with me on this crazy life journey. #RIPMufasa


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