10 Toys You Think Are From the ’90s (But Are Way Older)

The nineties were a great time to be a kid. We had awesome cartoons, great TV shows, fun movies—and amazing toys! But a surprising number of toys that we think of as nineties toys are really a whole lot older.


Yo-yos were a major late-nineties fad, possibly thanks to international yo-yo sensation Yohans, upon whom we can also blame backwards newsboy hats and khaki cargo pants. But yo-yos are a very old toy indeed. The modern yo-yo was invented in 1928 by Pedro Flores, a Filipino man living in LA. But yo-yos have been used since at least 500 BC, as they’ve been depicted on ancient Greek pottery. But it was Flores who made yo-yos with a loop instead of a knot, which lets you do things like sleep the yoyo and other tricks.

Lite Brite

Your nineties version was probably all plastic and colourful, but this toy has been around in many forms since 1967.

Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots

You probably played with this toy in a neighbour’s unfinished basement in 1995. And then, when you knocked your little brother’s block off, he ran crying to mom, who didn’t seem to get that you weren’t really fighting. But she should’ve known, because Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots came out in 1964. Besides, that’s a total narc move.

Creepy Crawlers

Also called Thingmaker, this orange and green oven turned goop and die-cast moulds into gross bugs you could stick in your teacher’s desk. However, the 1992 release was actually a revival. The original was made in 1963.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

These hippos have been hungry since 1978. Although the inventor ‘published’ the idea in 1967. Why did he wait so long?

Koosh Ball

Still popular, these were first made in 1987.

Roller Blades

Roller Blades, which is a brand name of in-line skates, has been making in-line skates since the 1960s. For years, they were only really popular with speed skaters. Aggressive marketing with a nineties radical flare helped make them popular among teens.

Troll Dolls

A fad in the nineties due to their two TV specials, video games, and new costumes, Trolls have actually been around since 1959. In fact, they were first a fad in the mid-1960s.

Moon Shoes

Every cul-de-sac had one kid with Moon Shoes. And then no other kid had them, because they definitely weren’t as good as an actual trampoline. And then if you jumped on the trampoline in your moon shoes, you either got a concussion or were grounded.

Anyway, you’re probably imagining the purple Nickelodeon-branded kind, which were a nineties thing. But the original Moon Shoes were invented in the 1970s and made of metal. Which sounds less fun.

Game Boy

Yes, the Game Boy was one of the most iconic toys of the nineties. One of the best-selling handhelds of all time. Heck, would there even be a handheld market if it weren’t for the Game Boy?

Alas, the Game Boy was released in 1989, technically making it an eighties toy. As if those darn eighties kids didn’t have enough! Oh well, joke’s on them—Game Boy Colour is all nineties, baby.