Whether or not you like sitting in class as a kid, I think we can all agree that at least one part of school in the '90s was pretty awesome: The school supplies. From the neon rainbow kittens adorning Lisa Frank folders to all the Gelly Roll pens, there were certain school supplies every cool kid had in the '90s — and, let's be real, we either still use today or wish were still around. As a self-professed school supply hoarder, I can say with all certainty that using items that fuel my '90s nostalgia still makes me feel like the coolest kid in school.
Of course, it's been a hot minute since I actually attended school ... and, as evidenced by the decade in which I came of age, even longer since I attended primary school. So it's gotta be a testament to these throwback school supplies that I can recall using them like it was yesterday (OK, in some cases, it really was yesterday — thank you, '90s renaissance, for making this stuff trendy again). Sitting on my desk this very minute is a haphazard stack of milky pens. Beside them? A black paper notepad, of course.
Before you know it, summer will be gone in the blink of an eye, and back-to-school shopping will begin again. Since we can't zip back in time entirely and join our '90s selves for that hallowed and heady experience, join me in a journey down memory lane to revisit some of the school supplies every '90s cool kid had.
1. Trapper Keepers
Ah, Trapper Keepers. The '90s wouldn't have been the same without them. I wouldn't have been the same without them. (Name the '90s movie reference for bonus points!)
2. Pencil Toppers
My pencil topper of choice was a troll, whose hot pink hair kept me entertained when class did not.
3. Milky Pens
Were milky pens practicable? Of course not! But the fact that they only really showed up on black paper made them so very kewl.
4. A Land's End "Collegiate" Backpack
My fam was on a budget so I had a basic Jansport until I scraped together enough babysitting cash to buy one of these babies. And, you guys, it was monogrammed.
5. Lisa Frank EVERYTHING
Bring on all the sparkly kittens and smiley rainbow unicorns. Lisa Frank 4 lyfe.
6. Pencil Grips
It's 97 percent possible these rubbery little guys hindered penmanship as opposed to help it, but '90s kids dig not GAF.
7. Yikes! Pencils
Who wanted to write with a regular ol' No. 2 pencil when you could doodle "I love Freddie Prinze Jr." all over your notes in style with Yikes! pencils?
8. A Character Lunch Box
Nobody wanted to be the kid brown-baggin' it when their BFFs were toting their eats around in a lunch box adorned with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or, better yet, the Spice Girls.
9. Multi-Colored Push-Up Pens
Of course you tried to push down more than one color at once. What would your life be even if you didn't?
10. Crayola Changeables Markers Or Crayons
You know the deal — these markers each drew in a specific color. No big, right? WRONG. Because if you scribbled over your original drawing with the magical clear marker, the OG ink would turn into a totally different color.
11. Scratch 'n Sniff Stickers
If you ever needed to motivate a '90s kid, all you had to do was tell them they'd score a zany sticker that smelled like grape or banana.
12. Five Star Notebooks
Sure, Lisa Frank's trippy visages were fun, but you felt like such a badass when your mom bought you the seemingly indestructible and oh-so-grown up Mead Five Star Notebook in Black.
13. Mechanical Pencils
Was it just me, or did these things actually make your handwriting better?
14. A Sizable Stash Of Erasers
Built-in erasers were for chumps — every cool '90s kid had a massive collection of colorful handheld erasers they probably blew their book fair money to buy.
15. Gelly Roll Pens
Like milky pens, Gelly Toll pens were modus operandi when it came to '90s kids' writing utensil of choice. In full disclosure, still my fave.
16. A Pencil Pouch Or Spacemaker
Hello! We were clearly obsessed with pens and pencils back in the day. It's only natural we tricked our parents into buying us a super cool case to carry all those pricey writers around so we didn't lose them.
17. Highlighters That Weren't Yellow
You had to have a yellow highlighter. But what really set you apart was if you had so many colors your notes looked like they were on the losing end of a fight with a rainbow.
18. Binder Reinforcements
Keeping our notes safe was serious biz, y'all. That, or we just thought these decorative little circles made our binders look even cooler.
19. Erasable Pens
Never, not once in recorded '90s kid history, did an erasable pen ever completely erase its own ink. That said, they were hella neat.
We were big on smelling things back then, ICYMI.