I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of pure nostalgia. While certain emotional feelings might be tied to products and concepts that no longer exist, they’ll never disappear from my heart. Sure, being an adult has its perks (no homework, and I can go to sleep whenever!) Plus, it was the ultimate goal one could achieve while being a kid. But when I was a kid, I didn’t know how good I had it. Or, how creative I truly was. I mean, every doll I owned had its own personality.
Here are ten things from childhood that I really miss.
1. Puppy Surprise
How many puppies are there inside? There could be three, four or five! But there were probably three, since everyone I knew had three. In fact, I think I remember one friend had a defunct puppy with only one. I’m guessing that was a real story, and not just some type of “Puppy Surprise Urban Legend” that was passed around the playground.
As kids, we really got a kick out of toys with a “surprise” element, despite the fact that the “surprise” fun only lasted a few seconds. Remember Magic Nursery Babies? It was a “surprise” if it was a boy or girl. After you ran the packet which announced the gender through some magical sink water, what you were left with was an ordinary doll. I had two. Why? Because the anticipation was just worth it.
2. Polly Pocket – When She Was Actually Pocket Sized.
Polly’s last name was “Pocket” because both Polly and her case could fit in your pocket. Note that her last name isn’t “Satchel”. Seriously. Make note of that, Mattel.
Polly originated from an idea created by Chris Wiggs in 1983, for his daughter Kate. By using a makeup compact and a small doll, he realized he was simply a genius. Bluebird Toys of England licensed the idea, and Polly was officially “born” in 1989. Mattel held a distribution arrangement with Bluebird Toys, and later bought them out. It was in 1998 when Polly morphed into a new form. In 2010, they even made her feet bigger. At this rate, Polly is bound to be Barbie-sized by 2025.
3. American Girl Doll Catalogs
We all loved the original American Girls, but know what was even better? The catalogs. These catalogs were a world of wonder for the girl who didn’t know the value of a dollar, and could entertain for ages.
I had Samantha, and always imagined how wonderful it’d be to have that tiny music box that came with the Samantha collection. In fact, I knew life would be better with that tiny little box. And the mohair teddy bear. Also, her school desk. And the winter muff. What’s a girl to do with a doll without a freaking muff?
Skip-It was smart, in combining both exercise and fun. In fact, it was a pretty simple toy. It was a counter with a loop on it. But you didn’t think about simplicity – or even exercise. You focused on the fact that your counter would have a way higher number than the girls’ up the street. One of the biggest threats you faced on a daily basis was whether or not some jerk would come over and accidentally reset your counter. Just imagine – all of that work, with nothing to show for it.
Here’s a fun fact: That counter was actually created during the second generation of Skip-Its, manufactured in the 90’s. The first version was released in the 80’s, and obviously served no real purpose at all.
5. Getting Lollipops From The Doctor
Also: the bank. When you were a kid, people were handing out lollipops left and right, to reward you for not freaking out in public. Of course you’re willing to accompany your parents on their mundane tasks if a lollipop was involved. These weren’t even Tootsie Roll pops – they were the standard, flat pops with the clear plastic wrapper.
Imagine how much more enjoyable life would be if there was a chance of a lollipop at the end of each and every chore? (Obviously you can go out and buy your own, but it’s just not the same.)
6. Oatmeal Swirlers
Do you remember Oatmeal Swirlers? You might, after watching this.
It was an oatmeal that appealed to kids because you could draw on your food! While your drawings resembled giant strawberry clumps instead of a perfect tic-tac-toe board, you just knew in your heart that you could get better at the amazing world of cereal art. Breakfast was fun. Heck, most things about childhood were fun. Can you imagine what would happen now, if you tried to be creative with your granola bar that you grabbed from the pantry because you were running late to work? Nothing. Nothing would happen, since that situation is impossible.
Then, like many beloved favorites, it was discontinued. But never forgotten.
7. Sticker Collections
When I was a kid, everyone had a sticker book. All kinds of stickers: fuzzy stickers, puffy stickers, and even banana stickers. Some of us stuck them right inside the book cover, and others held them close to the wax paper for later use.
We used stickers to decorate pen pal letters, our rooms, and party invitations. In a way, stickers were used to communicate. Teachers put stickers on our papers if we did a great job. Now? It’s kind of hard to find stickers – at least, the variety that was offered back in the day. They were harmless fun, and they’re sorely missed. (Especially the Lisa Frank stickers, which were the cream of the crop. Those were saved for very, very special occasions.)
8. Treasure Trolls
Keep in mind, treasure trolls were the ones with the gemstones in the belly. They differed from regular trolls, which had plain ol’ belly buttons. It was kind of like Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches. Treasure Trolls had stars upon thars.
These dolls were fascinating. They had hair you could play with (or at least, put in a ponytail) and hee – their butts were exposed! That was kind of a risky deal for a kid. A public butt.
I knew kids who had full collections of trolls, and often times more were picked up on summer vacations as souvenirs. It’s quite possible that your shelves were lined with these mini-gremlins, and it’s quite possible that this mention might make you want to retrieve your collection from your parents’ attic.
It’s no secret that a bunch of us HelloGiggles writers loved shows from the 80’s and 90’s – and TGIF was the method in which they were delivered. Every Friday was better based on this family-friendly block of programming on ABC. It made such a difference that I’m sure you still have the theme song rolling around in your brain (“It’s Friday night, and the mood is right. Gonna have some fun, show you how it’s done, TGIF!”)
On Monday, you couldn’t wait to talk to your friends about Full House, because of course they watched it. Sometimes you even had mini-TGIF parties with the neighborhood kids. And if you happened to be away from the TV on a Friday night, you were pissed. It was almost like social suicide. Nobody knew how to program your VHS to record shows in advance!
Caboodles were great, since they held all of your stuff. Plus, it had compartments. What you could put in those compartments was limitless.
Typically they accompanied you to sleepover parties, where you used the small amount of makeup and hair products that you acquired (or, stole from your older sister), and became the queen of makeovers. Blue eyeshadow for all!
While they still sell Caboodles, it’s rare to find them in the plastic blue and pink design from back in the day.
What do you miss from childhood?