Everyone knows the '90s were a killer time to be a kid, and no one knows it better than — you guessed it — '90s kids. We have many things to thank for our charmed childhoods and, while many of those things revolved around the schoolyard ('cause where else did kids hang, aside from the mall?), the real magic happened in those gloriously free hours after the final bell rang and before bedtime. It was the things you did when you got home from school in the '90s that made you feel like life couldn't possibly get any sweeter.
There was no shortage of activities to keep us entertained, after all. The '90s were like the Industrial Revolution of fun (just roll with me on this one) — the world just kept churning out more innovative ideas, fads, fashions, toys, music and more that revolutionized the way we lived. And, more specifically, the way we spent our time once we no longer had pesky little things like lesson plans and teachers to restrict our focus. So while homework should probably be somewhere on the list of things you did after school in the '90s, the reality is that you had so many more rad things on your mind.
Here are few of the things '90s kids couldn't wait to do after school.
1. Kick Off Your Keds
Or Skechers, or Doc Martens, or Chucks, or Mary Janes, depending on your druthers. Even if your after school plans involved heading outside, your first order of business upon arriving home was to slip off your favorite kicks in a haphazard pile by the front door (much to your mother's chagrin, no doubt). Feet deserve freedom, too.
2. Crack Open An Ecto Cooler
Oh, to taste the bright green ambrosial nectar of youth once more! Back in the days before high fructose corn syrup and sugar were the devil, we could actually convince our parents to stock the fridge with mini-cardboard containers of Hi-C Ecto Cooler to quench our thirst.
3. Park It In Front Of The TV
Any and every '90s kid knows that our decade boasted some of the best afternoon television programs in the history of THE WORLD. How else would you describe shows like Rugrats, Boy Meets World, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Animaniacs? Heck, some of those were even educational... ish.
4. Experiment With Your Makeup Skills
OK, so not all '90s kids did this — it was mainly a pastime enjoyed by '90s gurls, although, to be clear, makeup wasn't and isn't just for the ladies (hello, goth and emo cuties!). Regardless, after school gave us the opportunity to play with all the blue eye shadow, body glitter and brown lipstick we weren't allowed to rock while roaming the halls or chilling in homeroom.
5. Play Outside
Aside from the days it was far too cold (and even then we still tried, I'm sure), I can't recall many days when my siblings and I didn't spend a big chunk of our afternoons outside. From maiming our ankles with Skip-Its to jumping on the trampoline, nothing was funner than working ourselves into sweaty, stinky messes while soaking up some major Vitamin D.
6. Refuel With Dunkaroos
Yaaasss. After burning a zillion calories playing outside, '90s kids knew the only way to recharge our batteries was by plunging a cookie shaped like a kangaroo into a tiny vat of delicious confetti-flecked icing.
7. Three-Way Call Your BFFs
'Cause if they weren't with you, they obviously needed to know about every single thing you did that afternoon. Or, at the very least, sit on the phone in awkward silence while you painted your toenails blue.
8. Listen To Your Favorite CD On Repeat
Just having the ability to finally listen to music on CD was kind of a big deal for most '90s kids, so who could blame us for blaring it on loop via our Discman or comically oversized stereos? While I like to fondly recall my '90s phase listening to nothing but Counting Crows and Smashing Pumpkins, I'd be remiss if I didn't divulge that stint I was obsessed with New Kids On The Block — enough to have their poster on my closet wall. I only wish I was kidding.
9. Make Some Pokemon Trades
Few things could keep a '90s kid from fostering their burgeoning Pokemon collection after school ... largely because we'd gotten in trouble for it so many times during school already that we'd gotten the iconic cards banned.
10. Log On
In the soundtrack of '90s kids lives, the screeching blurble of dial-up internet would symbolize a large part of our after school extracurriculars. Particularly on days when weather kept us from going outside, we'd log into AOL and trade what we thought was witty banter with total strangers in questionable chat rooms. Fun times, my friends. Fun times.