Here’s a fool-proof fundamental school shopping list for any 90s kid worth their weight in Scholastic book orders.
There’s no better way to be cool than to emulate other cool people you see on TV. I highly recommend it to anyone going through an identity crisis. In the 90s, there was no more socially superior group of teenagers than the silver-spoon-fed cast of Beverly Hills, 90210.
From beautiful Kelly to dorky Donna to bad boy Dylan and Brenda the bitch, there were so many personality archetypes to study and copy. Their clothes and their attitudes personified 90s California culture and were a perfect jumping off point to assimilating into the world of the popular kids.
If you walked into school on day one with one of these bad boys holding your Gushers, Dunkaroos, and Ecto Cooler safely behind its plastic walls, you had already won.
As unforgettably weird as Gloppy on a Candy Land board, Yikes pencils were some of the most popular school supplies of the 90s. Standing out from the crowd of boring yellow #2 pencils, Yikes came in wacky colors with oddly-shaped erasers in all sorts of unconventional shapes and sizes.
Originally marketed toward girls, Yikes saw the market value of being the strange kid on the block and quickly released several new lines of pencils to appeal to boys as well. Expanding their catalog to include zany rulers, pencil sharpeners, and pencil cases and landing an endorsement deal with Nickelodeon, Yikes reached mythical proportions as a kids school supply company.
Unfortunately, just like your high school good looks, they quickly disappeared. Now, they’re confined mostly to desperate eBay auctions where creepy pencil collectors lick their chops over unopened packages of these beauties.
There is no toy visage more 90s than that of the troll doll. The concept is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, troll dolls are plastic dolls with smushy, lovable faces and big, brightly-colored hair. They can be dressed and colored to fit any season, holiday, or intellectual property and no young girl’s bedroom was complete without at least one of these things.
Although the 90s weren’t the beginning of the troll craze, it was certainly the peak of their popularity. There were the normal troll dolls, the jewel-bellied variety, Battle Trolls for boys, and my favorite of all: the troll pencil topper.
What better way to not pay attention in class than to have a big, fuzzy troll toy sitting on top of your writing implement? I’m sure teachers hated these things, but fuck them. These little plastic bundles of wonder were second only to recess and pizza day as the high point of my elementary school day.
No primary school art period would be complete without a set of fruit scented markers. I can still recall the way the orange one smelled. It was so sour and citrus-y and reminds me of drawing really ornate pictures of smiley-faced stick figures murdering each other.
These things should have their own line of perfume. Even the shit-colored marker smelled divine and the box could not possibly be any more inviting. If I had my way, I would become close personal friends with every single one of those smiley anthropomorphic fruit characters.
I owned (and still own) this pencil case and it will forever be an important part of my childhood memories. I refused to give this thing up even after the zipper stopped working and the inside became caked with crayon remnants and pieces of replacement mechanical pencil graphite.
My obsession with the ninja turtles is well-documented, but this particular piece should make it easy to see why. It’s so colorful and full of attitude and the goofy, cartoon-y quality of their beautiful turtle faces just makes the whole package so welcoming.
If you really wanted to impress other kids in the 90s, all you had to do was flaunt your Ninja Turtle knowledge and show off your awesome pencil case.