I loved being a ’90s kid. I grew up with butterfly clips in my hair and jelly shoes on my feet. And I love to reminisce about the long, hot Summers from my childhood. I feel a little bad for my kids, because there are so many moments from my childhood Summers that they’ll never get to experience. Everything is so busy these days, from strict Summer camp and activity schedules to group texts and screen time. I wish I could give them the kind of Summer I had — one with movie stores, walkie-talkies, and landlines. Keep reading for 15 nostalgic things that our little ones just don’t get to experience anymore.
Blockbuster Movie Nights
The most treasured night of the week was taking a trip to Blockbuster to pick out a new movie and candy to enjoy in your pajamas in your air-conditioned living room. Kids these days can watch a movie on Netflix, but we had the joy of browsing the aisles. It was made even better when we were allowed to let a friend sleepover during the week, because Summer!
If your parents took you on a road trip, they didn’t have navigation to help them. They relied on paper maps, which often got you lost or on unexpected detours. Those detours somehow ended up being your favorite vacation memories.
Rollerblading All Day Long
Who needed to be dropped off at their friend’s house when you could rollerblade there? There was nothing like spending the whole day out and about with nothing but your blades and a good friend.
Taking Photos at the Pool, and Waiting a Week to See Them
If you saved up your allowance to buy a disposable camera, you could have a photo shoot with your friends (and what better place than the neighborhood pool?). When you picked them up a week later, it was always a surprise as to how many actually came out.
Finding the Bikes
We all remember heading out in the neighborhood looking for our friends. But instead of texting them and asking where everyone was, you had to search for the group of bikes in the front yard.
Keeping Tamagotchis Alive
We didn’t have the fancy robot animals kids have today. Without homework to worry about, we spent our Summer days trying desperately to keep our tamagotchis alive.
Spending All Day at the Arcade
I loved spending my entire day at the arcade with only $5 in my wallet. Today, that will get you about 10 minutes of fun.
Recording Songs Off the Radio
There is nothing better than finding your Summer jam, but remember when you actually had to sit around with your friends and wait for it to come on the radio so you could record it on a tape? Getting the timing right was an art form.
It was rare to be able to jump on the internet on a Summer day. If you were able to, you had to wait until someone was done with their phone call. And if you snuck downstairs to sign on late at night because you could sleep in the next day, you know the crazy suspense of waiting out that loud noise to see if it woke your parents.
Spending the Entire Day at the Mall
My parents used to drop me off when the mall opened and come back to get me when it closed. The mall was air-conditioned, you could buy a few things with your allowance, and you could gossip with your friends. If a tween did that today, someone might assume they were abandoned.
Saving Projects on Your Floppy DIsk
Spending the afternoon on an artistic creation in Paint and then saving it to your floppy disk was the best.
Learning a New Phone Number
When you met a new friend at the pool or park and asked them for their phone number, you actually had to remember it.
“Texting” in the ’90s involved paper, pen, and some seriously cool doodles. We handwrote notes and had to actually deliver them to our friends. Spending the afternoon on a note and folding it up perfectly was a great way to pass the time.
Keeping in Touch
If you had a friend who traveled or went to sleep-away camp for the Summer — you better break out a paper and pencil to keep in touch. If you dared to call long distance, you knew to talk quick with how expensive it was.
Spending the Entire Day Outside Without Supervision
I used to leave my house first thing in the morning and not return until the sun went down, and my parents usually didn’t know exactly where I was at all times. I’d spend the day exploring and only come home if I got hungry. Having that little slice of freedom as a kid was truly special.