8 Ways Back-to-School Was Different in the ’90s

Back-to-school shopping will always be a thrill, but the school supplies that kids get excited about today are very different from what we used to look forward to in the ’90s! For one thing, most back-to-school shopping is a one-click visit to Amazon, instead of the annual trip to the mall that we used to look forward to!

If you were a student in the ’90s, these were probably some of your most precious back-to-school possessions. And no matter how you buy them, some of these are still prized back-to-school items!

Lunch boxes

Sure, kids take their lunches to school but those metal and plastic lockable lunch boxes with the matching thermos are long gone. To be honest, if we could get our hands on a Spice Girls lunch box, we’d be tempted to take it to work now!

Floppy disks

Kids wouldn’t even know what to do with these anymore since there’s virtually no equipment that reads them! But we still have a few that hold our very best essays.


Remember when AOL sent free CDs all across Canada to get people to sign up for their internet service? While those CDs make no sense to school kids these days, they’re actually considered collectables now!

Lisa Frank everything

Thanks to the ’90s revival, you can still get all kinds of school supplies with Lisa Frank’s famous psychedelic pastel rainbow illustrations all over them. Try not to steal them from your kids.

Cartoon pencil-topper erasers

If you didn’t have an extra-large scented eraser on the top of your pencil, were you even in school in the ’90s? Kids might not have Pacman erasers like we did, but at least they still have the joy of a “smelly eraser” on their pencils!

Multicoloured pens

Kids get excited about tablets and laptops now and all the different fonts they can type in. Back in the ’90s, we thought we hit the jackpot when we had a single pen with 12 ink colours in it.


The classroom hamster was cute, but in the ’90s, everyone had a digital Tamagotchi pet they took care of all day long from home to school and everywhere in between – and no one had to take it home for the holidays.


Cool girls kept their lockers organized by keeping their makeup and extra school supplies in pastel Caboodles cases – and they still do! We’re actually really happy that this ’90s brand came back this year because they really are the coolest cases out there.