1. Casio Secret Sender Diary (And Its Many Siblings)
What better way to store your deepest thoughts than on a handheld, electronic device with a 30-character display. Surely Brian will never know you like him if you type it into this technological vault of preteen confessions! Best of all, you can wirelessly transmit your youthful affections to Sarah — who’s sitting three whole desks away from you! And just in case you weren’t confident that Brian liked you back, most of these fancy devices contained a digitized fortune teller to reassure you.
We should be thankful that most of us 90s girls were too young to have seen the movie Gremlins when this friendly little demon hit the shelves. It squawked and talked its way into your heart and only occasionally made you feel like it was watching you change clothes. Bonus memory: trying to figure out how to shut the damn thing up while you were sleeping.
So your mom wouldn’t let you get a dog. Who cares? You now have a bizarre plastic egg containing an animated alien that poops until it dies of pixelated cholera! Tamagotchis, Nanopets and Digipets dominated our attention spans, brought out our nurturing instincts, and in retrospect were probably considerably harder to keep alive than the guinea pig we kept asking for (though they didn’t smell nearly as bad).
4. Beanie Babies
If you knew what the word "investment" meant at that age, you certainly used it on your parents to get them to buy you a Beanie Baby or two. Ty® brilliantly made these adorable, affordable, collectible little plush toys in short runs to entice children and adults alike to lose their minds (and paychecks) over having each and every one. Some clever folks got out at the right time and made a few bucks, but it’s more likely that your Beanie collection is collecting dust in your parents’ basement rather than paying off your student loans right now.
5. Polly Pocket
Teeny tiny Polly and her compact dollhouses were all the rage for little girls. Mattel really hit the nail on the head with this toy: a plastic shell filled with tiny choking hazards that slippery little fingers would lose almost immediately. Some girls had so many abandoned Pollyless houses that their toy chests looked like Gary, Indiana.
6. Doodle Bears
When your little brother drew all over your Barbies, it was a sin. When you got a Doodle Bear, you began to understand him a little bit more. Doodle Bear encouraged a generation of little girls to vandalize their toys with provided markers and stamps! Somewhere in a big city, a grown-up ’90s girl is spray painting the back of a billboard and outrunning the cops in lavender denim overalls.
7. Puppy & Kitty Surprise
There’s nothing quite like glorifying pregnancy and childbirth with toys intended for young girls. Then again, maybe these creepy, plastic-faced, cesarian section stuffed animals were intended to scare kids away from the dangers of amateur pet breeding.
Quints fell somewhere between Puppy & Kitty Surprise and Little Orphan Annie, glamorizing both overpopulation and strays. If you were a particularly twisted child, you could store them in your Kitty Surprise.
One of the last "active" toys of its kind — otherwise known as American toy manufacturers’ last-ditch effort to trick kids into exercising. This utterly pointless plaything was most useful for causing mild bruising and chafing of the skin around the ankle. Nothing some brightly colored knee-high socks couldn’t thwart!
10. American Girl Dolls
You never had an American Girl doll. But that one girl in your class did. You ordered the catalogs yourself so that maybe your mother would get the hint. And now that you’re an adult, you realize that she was well within her rights refusing to pay $100+ for a stupid doll that did nothing but secretly teach you American history anyway. By the way, if you were one of those girls that had an American Girl doll, the rest of us still hate you.