16 Back to School Throwbacks Kids from the ’90s Will Never Forget

Get ready to be hit with some strong nostalgia when you see these iconic school supplies.

Remember when back to school meant taking a trip to Staples with your mom so you could stock up on yellow number 2 pencils, black-and-white notebooks, pens, erasers, and a huge stack of folders? Yeah, being a kid in the ‘90s just hit different.

This time of year was the best for type A students who knew the value of a shiny, new, and well-organized school supply stack. Who needs summer when you have a perfectly fresh 3-ring spiraled notebook that’s yet to be touched?!

Ahh, yes, there were some pretty iconic back-to-school throwbacks if you grew up in the ’90s that you’ll never forget. Take a walk down memory lane and feel the sting of nostalgia as we recap the best items from that special time in your youth (kindly sparing you the braces and acne, though).

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Trapper Keeper

Trapper Keeper
Courtesy of Mead

You can’t kick off a list like this without mentioning the iconic Trapper Keeper. Ah, we can hear that velcro ripping right now.

Cool Mini Erasers


Yeah, sure, there were the pencil top erasers that everybody had. But did you have mini tooth and toothbrush-shaped erasers that you made sure stayed painstakingly clean and unused? Same same.

Gelly Roll Pens

gelly roll pens
Courtesy of Amazon

The endless drawings that were made with these! But by far the best use was signing your friends’ (and crush’s) yearbooks. “BFFAE!!”

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers

Mr Sketch scented markers
Courtesy of Amazon

GRAPE was the best! There is no other option. Sniffing that purple marker until your nostrils hurt was the first time you got high without realizing it.

Pencil Box

pencil boxes
Courtesy of Michaels

Every girl who was cool had one of these and made it a point to slowly organize every little item contained inside at the start of every class.

Mead Five Star Notebooks

mead five star notebook
Courtesy of Staples

The creme de la creme of notebooks, the Mead Five Star made you want to be a better student. And someone who could write between the lines.

Plastic Ruler

pink plastic ruler

It was on every single class’s syllabus, from social studies to Spanish and even Chorus. But we never did use it, did we, Mr. Johnson? Huh? Stop wasting my parent’s money!

Lisa Frank… anything

Lisa Frank school supplies
Courtesy of Amazon

Something about the brightly colored, pink and purple, Unicorn- and rainbow-filled world of Lisa Frank was intoxicating to ‘90s kids. You had to have the folders and notebooks and pens and stickers… they must have made an absolute killing.

Hello Kitty… anything

Hello Kitty folders
Courtesy of Amazon

On the other end of the spectrum was the adorable, Japanese cat with no mouth but a fun-loving spirit. HELLO KITTY!

Book Covers

sticky book covers
Courtesy of AceDepot

A sad truth is that you could tell which families were well off and which weren’t based on our book covers. If you had the sheer blue or pink sticky stuff that perfectly adhered to your books, life was good. If your books were covered in Stop n Shop paper bags or nothing at all (and teachers scolded you for it)—guess what? You won in the end because those covers were nonsense bullsh&% anyway.

Pencil Grips

child writing with pencil grip

Writing. So. Much. Must. Use. Squishy. Pencil. Grip. To. Protect. Baby. Fingers.

Mechanical Pencils

mechanical pencil

Whoa, someone’s high-tech! Just spin it and it rolls out fresh lead? Someone’s too good for pencil sharpeners!

Glitter and Scratch and Sniff Stickers

scratch and sniff stickers
Courtesy of Amazon

Every single visible surface of your notebook had to have some kind of sticker on it. It’s called self-expression.

Boy Band folders

Backstreet Boys circa 1998
L. Busacca / Getty Images

Which one were you: Team Backstreet Boys or Team N’Sync? This was the first known rivalry you and your friends ever had.

Multicolor Pens

multicolor ballpoint pens
Courtesy of Amazon

Push down the little lever and get a new color! The options were truly endless with these chunky pens—that teachers really hated. “Blue or blank ink ONLY!”

Little Troll Dolls

Little Troll Dolls
Courtesy of Amazon

It’s a mystery, really, as to why these were so popular. Still, did you rub their little tummies believing that they had magical powers to make Timmy wave at you in gym class? Yes, yes you did.

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