The 50 Best 90s Toys for Nostalgia Purposes
What are the best 90s toys of all time?
The 1990s was a special time, serving as a transitional period between retro and high-tech. Kids growing up during this time have the privilege of remembering dial-up, landlines, and TVs that weighed more than them.
However, while there are many things that 90s kids remember that those born in the 2000s don’t, it is the toys that often bring back the best memories.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane with these 50 toys every 90s kid had on their birthday and Christmas wishlists.
The 50 Best 90s Toys That Every 90s Kid Remembers
Before iPhones and laptops, things seemed simpler but, oddly enough, ridiculously fun. While that may just be the nostalgia talking, 90s toys were in a league of their own and deserve their due recognition.
Here’s our list of the 50 best 90s toys of all time:
50. Dear Diary
Dear Diary was a must-have if you wanted to keep all of your secrets safe from prying siblings and parents, like where you hid your stash of snack cakes you stole from the kitchen.
On this device’s tiny screen, you could type out anything you wanted, and there was even a talkback function so you could record messages and listen to them later.
49. Mighty Max
Similar to the earlier Polly Pocket line, Might Max was a small playset shaped like Doom Zones that contained small action figures.
This toy line was later adapted into a TV show and tie-in video game, The Adventures of Mighty Max, released on the Super NES and Sega Genesis.
While finding this toy is very difficult today, the video game can still be played using one of the best Sega Genesis emulators, and reruns of the series can be found online.
Yo-Yos have been around for a long time, and there is even proof tracing them back as far as 500 BCE. However, they saw a significant uptick in popularity during the 90s, and everyone wanted to be able to perform astonishing tricks with them.
Although most of us could barely get the yo-yo to come back up, that didn’t stop us from practicing for hours with this simple but incredibly fun toy.
47. Vortex Football
Promising to fly further and make a whistling noise when thrown, Nerf’s Vortex Football was an outside playtime necessity, and kids always wanted to see who could throw it the farthest.
Although you can still buy varieties of this Nerf toy today, it just isn’t quite the same as it was in the 90s.
46. Easy-Bake Oven
The history of the Easy-Bake oven goes all the way back to 1963, and we’re not sure who thought giving an oven to kids would be a good idea, but it sure was fun!
While some versions of this oven can still be bought today, they’re a far cry from what they once were, and after numerous recalls, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the classic 90s version again.
45. G.I. Joe Action Figures
Before the best Call of Duty games of all time, kids acted out the part using action figures like the G.I Joe.
The G.I Joe line of action figures was initially created to represent the four branches of the U.S. armed forces, and it quickly became an iconic American toy line.
In the 90s, the Hall of Fame, Classic Collection, and MasterPiece Collection were all released to eager kids who immediately added them to their wishlists.
44. Spice Girl Dolls
The Spice Girls were all the rage during the 90s, and between 1997 and 1999 Galoob toys released Spice Girls dolls that every fan wanted.
These dolls were especially popular during Christmas and between 1997 and 1998 over 11 million were sold.
If you were a fan of the group while growing up during the 90s, chances are you begged your parents to get you all of these dolls.
43. Mr. Bucket
Milton Bradley published this tabletop game, and the goal was for players to get as many of their balls into Mr. Bucket before they started popping out of his mouth.
It was a simple game, but it became a fun staple for family game night in the 90s.
42. Dream Phone
Another 90s toy released by Milton Bradley, the Dream Phone was a must-have for sleepovers and the object of the game was to figure out which of 24 boys had a crush on you.
Each player would try to guess, and whoever got it right won.
Every teenage girl wanted this game, and as cringe as it may seem now, it actually required a lot of critical thinking and deduction to win.
41. Creepy Crawlers
Like the Easy-Bake Oven, Creepy Crawlers came with an oven-like device and metal molds that allowed kids to make their own jiggly plastic bugs.
The “goop” came in several different colors and varieties, including glitter and glow in the dark, giving kids loads of great creepy crawlers to make.
40. Crazy Bones
Crazy Bones were figurines that could be used for a variety of different games, such as jacks or marbles.
During the late 90s, Crazy Bones became a huge fad, with each piece being its own unique character that made kids want to collect them all.
39. Moon Shoes
No 90s kid could resist Moon Shoes, especially since the commercials always made them seem so out of this world!
While they were just small trampolines for your feet that made you jump a bit higher, it was almost like walking on the moon with a bit of imagination.
38. Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
Back in the 90s, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots was the equivalent of the best fighting games of all time, and matches between friends could get real competitive fast.
This game was so popular that it was even featured in Toy Story 2, a testament to just how influential this game was.
37. Buzz Lightyear Action Figure
Toy Story was one of the biggest movies of the 1990s, so it makes sense that many kids wanted the toys they saw on the big screen.
One of the best toys to come from this movie was the Buzz Lightyear Action Figure which, while it didn’t come to life, still gave kids the chance to play with one of the most iconic 90s characters.
36. Mr. Frosty
Mr. Frosty was the toy that every 90s kid wanted, especially on a hot summer day.
Shaped like a snowman, kids could use Mr. Frosty to grind up ice slushies, make popsicles, and special-shaped ice cubes to put on top of their creations.
There was even a penguin that dispensed different flavors of juice!
Originally produced by Matell between 1992 and 1999 Gak was Nickelodeon’s special goo and any kid who watched the channel was begging their parents to buy this slime.
You could stretch it, squeeze it, bounce it, and force air into it to make fart noises. It was the ultimate source of stress relief after a long day of school!
Released in 1993, K’Nex were simple plastic rod connectors that could be put together to form all different kinds of objects and shapes.
Eventually, gears and motors were released that builders could use to make creations that moved!
Although Legos have long been a staple for kids who love building things, in the 90s K’Nex gave them a serious run for their money as one of the most popular toys of the decade.
33. Slap Bracelets
Slap bracelets were a huge fad for pre-teens and teenagers in the early 90s, and schools even ended up banning slap bracelets because of injuries.
However, that didn’t stop kids from begging their parents to buy them, and it was a must-have if you wanted to fit in.
Plus, they were just fun to play with!
32. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around since the 80s but they really took off in popularity in the 1990s, with over $1 billion worth of toys being told between 1988 and 1992.
The 90s served as the commercial peak of the TMNT franchise, with the first film being released in 1990
This led to almost every kid wanting to collect toys of all their favorite turtles, and it probably encouraged an uptick in pizza sales as well!
31. Crocodile Dentist
While today we can turn to some of the best real-life simulation games to live out our dreams of being a vet, dentist, or doctor, in the 90s, the only way to make-believe these scenarios was through interactive games like this one.
In Crocodile Dentist, players had to press on the croc’s teeth, and whoever found the sore one would get lunged at and bit; gently, of course.
The anticipation of being the loser led to a lot of laughs, and it was a great game to play with friends during sleepovers.
30. Nerf Blaster
Although the first Nerf Blasters were released in the late 1980s, they really took off in the 90s.
During this time Hasbro released over 20 unique Nerf Blasters and kids scrambled to amass the largest arsenal to prepare for Nerf Wars with their friends!
29. Doodle Bear
Doodle Bear was the teddy you could draw on and customize with washable markers.
Kids have always loved drawing on things they aren’t supposed to, and Doodle Bear catered to this by giving them the perfect medium that could easily be cleaned afterward.
28. Street Sharks
Street Sharks was an animated series that aired between 94 and 97, and Mattel released a full action figure collection to go along with it.
Like Street Fighter, one of the best fighting games of all time, but with anthropomorphic sharks, this show and series of toys was a huge hit with kids and it is something we wish would return today!
27. Tickle Me Elmo
Tickle Me Elmo reached peak popularity during the 1996 Christmas season, with low supplies even leading to violence as parents scrambled to grab this toy for their kids.
Known for shaking, vibrating, and giggling when squeezed, this toy was ridiculously fun for those growing up in the 90s, and it was something that millions of kids had on the top of their Christmas lists.
26. Sky Dancers
Sky Dancers were another insanely popular toy line from the 90s, and they were so popular that they even gained a spin-off TV show.
Each Sky Dancer could be spun up into the air using a pull string on its base.
These dolls could get some pretty good airtime with their foam wings, but parents weren’t exactly fond of how easy it was to accidentally launch them in unpredictable directions, which ended up leading to a recall in 2000.
25. Poo-Chi Robot Pets
If you didn’t have a dog as a kid, chances are you either desperately begged your parents for one or tried to collect the best dog Pokémon of all time in Pokémon Red and Blue.
However, in the 90s, the Poo-Chi robot dogs gave parents the opportunity to give their kids a ‘pet’ without actually investing in a real dog.
Though they were replaced by FurReal Friends in 2002, kids who had one of these toys growing up remember them fondly.
Available between 1992 and 1999 the Talkboy was inspired as a prop for the film Home Alone 2, and the first model was released in 1992 by Tiger Electronics to moderate success.
However, when the Deluxe version was released in 1993 it came complete with a voice changer and after a cross-promotion with Life Cereal, popularity soon spiked and everybody wanted one.
23. Magic Mitt
The Magic Mitt was a circular velcro-catching mitt that came with a tennis ball that easily stuck to the front making catching easier.
Games played with the Magic Mitt we incredibly fun and it made throwing a ball around 10 times more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
22. Mr. Potato Head
Although Mr. Potato Head was invented in 1949, the popularity of the 1995 film, Toy Story, caused the popularity of this toy to soar.
Between Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, this toy became a childhood classic in the 90s, and almost everyone had this toy at one point or another.
Kids loved being able to mix and match crazy faces on these plastic potatoes and while they are still available today, there was just something special about the 90s version, though that may be the nostalgia talking.
21. Hungry Hungry Hippos
Hungry Hungry Hippos was a game night favorite of any 90s kid and it could get pretty competitive between friends and siblings.
With the main goal being to eat more pellets than the other players, each match was about skill as much as it was luck, and kids could easily play for hours.
20. Koosh Balls
So simple but so fun, Koosh Balls were small fluffy balls made from over 2,000 rubber filaments that all radiated outward from a tiny core.
Usually coming in a wide variety of colors, every 90s kid was begging their parents for one of these every time they went to the store.
19. Stretch Armstrong
Stretch Armstrong was stupidly fun to play with, almost like a stress ball combined with a doll.
Shaped like a short blonde muscular man, Stretch Armstrong could be stretched from 15 inches tall to nearly 5ft.
This gel-filled action figure was so fun to squeeze and stretch that kids spent hours flinging it around and testing just how far it could stretch without tearing.
Perfection was the ultimate game of coordination and speed, testing just how fast players can fit the pieces in the matching holes before the board pops causing most of the pieces to go flying.
Although it wasn’t as hard as fighting the toughest bosses in video game history, with 25 pieces in total all in a variety of shapes, not many kids could fill up the board before the time ran out.
Slinkys were originally invented in the 1940s, but 90s kids were the last generation to truly appreciate just how fun these stretchy spring toys were.
Kids spent a lot of time trying to master tricks and watching these toys ‘walk’ down stairs, things that would probably seem boring to kids today, but were wholly entertaining in the 90s.
16. Power Rangers
The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers first debuted in 1993 and kids went wild for these live-action heroes.
By 2001 Power Ranger toy sales amounted to $6 billion, a testament to just how many 90s kids bought, or rather, had their parents buy for them.
15. Betty Spaghetty
This bendy rubber doll was made to resemble a fun-loving teenage girl and her rubbery hair let kids create unique hairstyles while her changeable appendages allowed kids to mix and match her accessories and style.
Released in 1998, Betty Spaghetty was a huge success but eventually was discontinued in 2004 due to a drop in sales.
While 90s kids only had this doll for a little while, it is something that everyone from the decade remembers.
14. Mouse Trap
Mouse Trap was another staple of game nights and the goal was to be the last mouse standing when everyone else had been captured.
Because it only took about 30 minutes per game, depending on how many players there were, kids could spend a lot of time having multiple rematches, trying to be the ultimate winner.
13. Pokémon Cards
First published in 1996, Pokémon cards were one of the most prevailing things to come out of the 90s, and even today new fans are experiencing this franchise by trying to track down the rarest shinies in Pokémon GO with their friends.
However, 90s kids were the first to experience the Pokémon phenomenon and many grew up trading cards in the lunchroom, on the playground, or behind the teacher’s back during class!
Furbies were a must-have when they were released in 1998 and kids loved this strange owl-like creature that spoke in its own Furbish language.
While this is one of the 90s toys that got an updated version for kids today, those who had one during the 90s know that the originals will always be the best.
Troll dolls were so weird-looking that you couldn’t help but love them, and 90s kids certainly did.
The bigger your collection was, the better, and there was no shortage of different colors and varieties to collect.
10. Super Soaker
Invented in 1989 and officially released in 1990, the Super Soaker revolutionized the way kids had water gunfights.
By 1991, over 2 million Super Soakers had been sold and throughout the 90s, this remained the water gun of choice for kids across America.
9. Giga Pets
Released in the middle of the virtual-pet fad in 1997, Giga Pets gave kids the ability to care for their own virtual pets contained on a small palm-sized unit with an LCD screen.
To keep digital pets happy and healthy, kids had to feed, clean, and play with their Giga Pets, though after a few weeks most did end up getting forgotten about.
That didn’t stop them from being fun though!
8. Game Boy Color
When the Game Boy Color came out in 1998 every kid wanted one and those that managed to get their hands on one immediately became one of the most popular kids on the block.
Because it featured backward compatibility with the original Game Boy games, its game library at launch was huge, but on its own, it hosted some of the best Pokémon games of all time, and the best-selling GBC exclusive game, Pokémon Crystal.
Everyone wanted to learn how to be Leandro DiVinci on the Etch-A-Sketch, but few would ever succeed. That didn’t stop millions of 90s kids from trying though!
This was one of the few retro toys to even be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998, due to just how popular and prolific it had become.
6. Polly Pocket
In 1998, Mattel gave the original Polly Pocket dolls a make-over that little girls across the country immediately added to their wishlists.
These new dolls were larger than the previous ones, with a more life-like appearance. These dolls also started coming with their own fashion items that kids could mix and match between playsets, meaning the more you had the more you could do!
5. Bop It!
Bop It! put kids’ reflexes to the ultimate test by having them push buttons, pull handles, twist cranks, spin wheels, and flick switches depending on what the toy instructed.
The longer you managed to play for, the faster and more complex the commands would get, and it was always a challenge to see how long you and your friends could keep a streak going.
Stemming from a game called Milk Caps, Pogs was commercialized in the 1990s to a huge surge of popularity.
The goal of the game was to stack the small, circular, flat Pogs and then drop a slammer object on them. If the Pogs landed face-up, players got to keep them, and whoever had the most at the end won.
Collecting Pogs quickly became one of the best toys of the 90s, with many players, and this toy definitely ruled as a playground favorite.
3. Beanie Babies
In the 90s, kids collected as many of these tiny toys as they could, with many hoping they would be worth big money in the future.
However, while the most expensive Beanie Babies in the world, can net you a fortune, they are few and far between anymore.
While most collectors of Beanie Babies aren’t going to strike it rich from their childhood collections, it’s hard to forget the scramble to stock up when these toys were released in 1993.
2. Nintendo 64
The Nintendo 64 played host to some of the most popular Nintendo games of all time and was the last major console to use cartridges.
Every kid begged their parents for this console and hours were spent playing Mario Kart with friends.
It was one of the best toys to spend the weekend playing or unwinding with after you finished your homework after school!
Taking our first place spot is the Tamagotchi, another small digital pet, and the one that almost every 90s kid had at one point or another.
As one of the best toys of the 90s, as well as one of the biggest fads, this small egg-shaped device was a must-have before the internet age, and it gave kids the ability to raise their own digital pets from an egg to full grown.
Needless to say, Tamagotchi pets were extremely popular and quickly became a childhood staple for those growing up in the 90s.
We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with the best 90s toys of all time.
Each of these toys helped define the last generation before iPads and Wi-Fi, and each of them is something that all 90s kids remember fondly.
We definitely wish that some of these would make a comeback!
Here’s a quick recap of the 50 best 90s toys of all time:
- Nintendo 64
- Beanie Babies
- Bop It!
- Polly Pocket
- Game Boy Color
- Giga Pets
- Super Soaker
- Pokémon Cards
- Mouse Trap
- Betty Spaghetty
- Power Rangers
- Stretch Armstrong
- Koosh Balls
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
- Mr. Potato Head
- Magic Mitt
- Poo-Chi Robot Pets
- Sky Dancers
- Tickle Me Elmo
- Street Sharks
- Doodle Bear
- Nerf Blaster
- Crocodile Dentist
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Slap Bracelets
- Mr. Frosty
- Buzz Lightyear Action Figure
- Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots
- Moon Shoes
- Crazy Bones
- Creepy Crawlers
- Dream Phone
- Mr. Bucket
- Spice Girl Dolls
- G.I. Joe Action Figures
- Easy-Bake Oven
- Vortex Football
- Mighty Max
- Dear Diary
What’s the best 90s toy, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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