You know what’s got us feeling better these days? Thinking back to how we used to fill those long childhood days of the ’80s and ’90s. Maybe we’re looking back with rose-coloured glasses, but some of those experiences were pretty amazing and the memories sure are sweet, which means now is the perfect time to recreate them.
So we encourage you to kick it old school and try some of our favourite childhood hobbies on for size.
1) Sticker Collection: We loved our scratch and sniff stickers in particular – remember the buttered popcorn? Or maybe the bubble gum? We kept ours in a photo album with the stickers backings still on for longevity. Why not order some by mail and start up a collection? Recruit some friends to do the same and eventually we’ll all be indulging in some good collecting, reviewing and trading.
2) Tamagotchi: It was a ton of fun tending to our pets – and you can still find a Tamagotchi thanks to a wave of nostalgia. We think now’s the perfect time to get one, bond with it, and get into its needs and quirks.
3) Barbie Salon: We had a bit of a Barbie collection back in the good old days. And as we got new ones, the older ones were in for a treat – we loved cutting their hair into a variety of styles. In fact, we perfected the elevated bob with one lucky recipient. Of course, Barbie’s hair doesn’t grow back, and it is prone to stick up kind of funny, but it can still be a fun pastime for a few select dolls. Maybe even try some food colouring hair dye, or hair chalk!
4) Collectible Cards: We remember so very well the summer The Empire Strikes Back came out, and we made it our mission to collect the complete set of cards from the movie. The excitement of opening a pack and seeing the cards revealed was not to be missed, and the trading opportunities were far better than the chewing gum included. Why not start a collection – baseball, hockey, Pokemon, or the latest blockbuster – to keep them enthralled – need it, need it, got it.
5) Bake up a Nostalgic Storm: Remember the “snack” cake that we used to bake in its own box? Or whipping up a vanilla sprinkle cake from scratch for a Girl Scout baking badge? Perhaps cake with pudding or Rice Krispie treats evoke memories from decades past. Forget the calories and sugar for one afternoon, pull out some old – really old – cookbooks, and have a blast whipping up some retro treats. We’ll skip the aspics and opt for the Black Forest cake or jellyrolls any day.
6) Pogo Sticks and Other Garage Staples: We sure did play outside a lot back then, and our favourites included pogo sticks, skip-its, roller skates, hula hoops, jump ropes, and beat-up bikes with banana seats. See what you can find, or maybe check your parents’ shed, and have a blast in your own driveway or backyard.
7) Friendship Pins: Chances are we have some safety pins and beads lying around, and that’s all that is required for friendship pins. Everyone can express themselves with different bead colours and patterns, and saving the creations is as easy as closing up the safety pin. Make a bunch, encourage trading, and then wear them how we used to in the 80s – affixed to the top lace of our favourite sneakers (ours were Tretorns – how about yours?).
8) Homemade Playdough: Store-bought clay and plasticine was a bit of a luxury back in the day, but everybody had the recipe for homemade playdough – a super salty, slightly crumbly concoction that could even be baked to preserve our masterpieces (though we recall they were prone to falling apart). We loved it when we had food colouring in the house to make a few different colour batches to really let our imagination run wild.
9) Easy Bake Oven: Did anything ever taste better than that first mini cake baked to perfection in our Easy Bake Oven? Or the joy of making mini cookies BY OURSELVES whenever we wanted? It’s seriously worth the purchase to be there to experience that first burst of independence and pride in baking done solo. Plus, whatever they put in those mixes is gosh-darn delicious and addictive. To fulfill a childhood dream – yours or your offspring’s – try finding an Easy Bake Oven and get baking.
10) All the Dolls: Troll dolls, Masters of the Universe figures, Polly Pocket – let’s face it, dolls were FUN! Collecting, playing, staging epic battles or adventures – dolls have a timeless appeal, shifting through different trends as the years change. For some, it was My Little Pony. For others, Rainbow Brite. Pick your passion and roll with it. Because when parents are smitten, they play for a whole lot longer.
We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Sharing our favourite toys and pastimes with our kids is a great way to get the giggles flowing and makes for a super fun playtime. What was your most prized possession or activity when you were a kid?