The 34 best toys of the 90s: They don’t make them like this anymore!

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  • We take a look at the best toys of the 90s (we know that every generation thinks the toys of their childhood are the best, but when it comes to the 90s, we think it might just be true).

    It was an exciting time for play for all ages – not only were classics like dolls and teddies getting clever new updates, games consoles were appearing, giving us new technological addictions too.

    When we weren’t busy phoning our ultimate crush on the Dreamphone, we were whipping up treats in Mr Frosty and creating masterpieces (if we do say so ourselves) on the Magna Doodle. Kids nowadays just don’t know what they’re missing!

    Whether you were the kid playing with them or the parent buying them, you’ll definitely remember this lot…

    The best toys of the 90s

    1. Tamagotchi

    For most 90s kids, this was your first, and most beloved pet. Until you forgot to feed it for a day, and those sad little cross eyes appeared.


    2. Bop It

    The original Bop It was a long shape and had less functions, but then the newer, more exciting Bop It Extreme came out, and we all lost our tiny minds.


    3. Mr Frosty

    The ultimate gift for Slush Puppy aficianados, we circled this every year in the Argos catalogue for Christmas, but all those E-numbers meant that Santa never obliged.


    4. Cadbury Chocolate Money Box

    10p for a square of chocolate was actually a con, when you realise that that would have bought you a Freddo at the time, but still, the joy when the block dropped out was worth the expense.

    5. Perfection

    A race against time to fit shapes into holes might not sound like the most riveting of games, so why did we still spend hours slaving away trying to beat the clock?

    6. Furby

    Initially, Furby seemed like a great idea – ‘he’s so CUTE’, we squealed. However, by the time they’d told you their name was Coco and had said ‘yum’ twenty thousand times, you were ready to shut them in the airing cupboard (just us?)


    7. Dear Diary

    Dear Diary was the keeper of all of our childhood secrets, from first crushes to lies we’d told mum and dad – typed meticulously on those teeny tiny buttons. We also made good use of the scheduler, even though every single appointment was ‘school, school, school… ‘

    8. Troll Dolls

    Troll Dolls were kind of a leftover from the 80s, but 90s kids still loved them just as much. Bonus points if you styled their hair into anything other than the trademark pyramid (ours may have had pigtails at one point… )


    9. Hungry Hippos

    If you didn’t have this game, at least four of your friends definitely did, meaning you still got to spend plenty of time mashing the buttons as hard as possible to chomp those pesky marbles.


    10. Mr Potato Head

    Can you believe the very first Potato Head came out in 1949?! It was actually the character’s appearance in 1995 film Toy Story that brought him back into fashion with children of the time. Hands up if you had his wife, Mrs Potato Head, too?


    11. My Little Pony

    One look at their coloured manes and you can instantly hear that advert jingle – all together now, ‘My Little Pony, My Little Pony, we’ll never be apart… ‘


    12. Magna Doodle

    You wanted one because the characters from Friends had one on the back of their door, but never managed to get your dad to affix yours in your bedroom. In fairness, you wouldn’t have been tall enough to reach it anyway.

    13. Etch a Sketch

    If you actually drew anything that didn’t resemble a child let loose with a Sharpie on yours, you were a better Etch a Sketch owner than us.


    14. Fur Real Friends

    Amazingly realistic pets, with none of the mess, noise, or 6am walkies. There’s a reason that kids AND parents were big fans of these…


    15. Puppy Surprise

    Puppy Surprise was a gamble, because you could end up with three, four or five puppies to play with. Somehow ours always ended up with the fewest (sob).

    16. Teksta Dog

    Of course, more tech-minded pet lovers were all about the Teksta, who was neither cute nor fluffy, but could do much more impressive tricks and put our Fur Real spaniel to shame.

    17. Cupcake Surprise

    Flip the skirt and these mini ladies turned into cupcakes, a trick which truly amazed our childhood selves. The sweet smell of these things will never fully leave our nostrils.

    18. Tickle Me Elmo

    Elmo was released in 1996, and the shelves were empty in minutes – people went nuts for him! Some Tickle Me Elmos sold for hundreds of pounds, so if you’ve still got yours, it might be worth popping him on eBay…


    19. Crazy Bones

    The first of many playground fads, Gogo Crazy Bones were basically just tiny plastic monsters, but weirdly addictive and totally collectible. You’ve probably still got a bagful in the loft.


    20. Doodle Bear

    The first toy that we were ever told to draw on, and one that still has a special place in our hearts.


    21. Game Boy Colour

    Okay, so 80s kids got the original Game Boy, but the Game Boy Colour brought your virtual world to life – especially when you were playing Pokemon Red and Blue…


    22. Talkboy

    After watching Home Alone, everyone wanted one of these electronic recording devices, and after months of begging, most of us got one. There was also a Talkgirl version too!

    23. Power Rangers figurines

    The Mighty Morphin team were always on our TV screens anyway – these plastic replicas just allowed us to carry on the action once the episode ended. If more than three girls were present, there was ALWAYS a fight over who got to be the pink and yellow rangers.


    24. Pogs

    Who knew tiny cardboard disks could be so exciting? We even invested in protective plastic tubes for ours.

    25. Dreamphone

    You can still get Dreamphone nowadays, but the original version was clearly the best – and if you didn’t ever play it at a sleepover, we highly recommend getting your girlfriends round for a game today (you never outgrow it, we promise… )


    26. Baby Born

    In the 90s, if you asked for a doll for Christmas or your birthday, you were getting a Baby Born and her real, authentic weeing function – she was basically the only option in the stores. She also had a dummy that made her go to sleep in an instant, which made our expectations of real parenthood highly skewed.


    27. Baby All Gone

    Baby Born’s greedier cousin, although all she ate was milk and cherries, so she was definitely healthier than us and our McNuggets.

    28. What’s Her Face doll

    One of the more creative 90s options, What’s Her Face allowed you to stamp your chosen features onto your doll’s blank head. Creepy to start with, but loads of fun once you got used to her (read: once she had eyes).

    29. Thunderbirds Tracy Island

    Tracy Island was a phenomenon similar to Elmo – demand was so high that in 1993, Blue Peter designed a version you could make at home because the shops had run out. If you want to have a go at one now, here’s the whole tutorial in 90 seconds.


    30. Sky Dancers

    Pull the string and your Sky Dancer would take to the erm… sky, for a few tantalising seconds, much to your endless delight. If you remember these, you’ll probably also recall the TV show of the same name, where the five main characters attended High Hope Dance Academy under the watchful eye of Queen Skyla.

    31. Stretch Armstrong

    Almost every 90s toybox had a Stretch, but a lucky few also had his sidekick, Fetch Armstrong, too!


    32. Spice Girl Dolls

    A 90s childhood wasn’t complete without the Spice Girls, and owning the doll of the band member you most related to was of the highest importance (we were Baby, in case you were wondering).


    33. Mr Bucket

    Trying to get all four balls into Mr Bucket’s mouth using plastic scoops was a struggle we all faced at some point. He was discontinued in 2007, so if there’s a copy in your cupboards, you’ve got yourself a little piece of toy history.


    34. Waterfall Ring Toss

    So many wasted hours, but such satisfaction when all those fiddly rings were finally behooped.