Growing up as a teenager in the early 90s, life was pretty simple. Sundays were still seen as a fun, family day, Sunday shopping did not exist, and the ‘Sunday drive’ with the family was very much the thing to do. But those things aside, these are 10 childhood things I loved that kids still love today.
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#1. Penny Sweets & 10p Mixes
There was nothing better, as a kid, than getting your pocket money, hopping on your BMX bike, and going to your local (shop, just to clarify), to find the best way to spend your money and get as much bang for your buck as possible.
Invariably, some of this spend went on penny sweets and 10/20p mix-ups, simply because value was always judged on quantity. And although the 10p mix that I loved is now probably a 50c pre-made bag of jellies, the concept is still as popular as ever: kids still love jelly mix ups because they are fun, exciting, and you get loads in a bag!
#2. Mr Freeze Ice Pops
There was nothing better than getting a full size Mr Freeze treat ice pop, often completely out of the blue, on a hot summer’s day spent playing with a bunch of friends.
That moment when Mum would shout out “would anyone like a Mr Freeze?” was the moment when every kid stopped what they were doing, and raced liked Carl Lewis to try and get first pick. And has anything changed in this regard? Good old Mr Freeze is still as popular as ever, and kids still fall over themselves to get first choice on flavour!
#3. Picking Wild Blackberries
As a kid, I used to love going to my Uncle’s wonderful fruit giving garden, taking a big bowl and competing with my siblings and cousins to see who could pick the most blackberries and raspberries.
This is something that my own kids now love to do too….not just because they get to eat the delicious fresh fruit that they pick, but because of the novelty and yes, that sense of competition in wanting to be the one who picks the most!
#4. Puzzles, Jigsaws, Colouring Books and Lego
There is something heart-warming about seeing kids getting creative in a traditional sense. Whether it’s drawing pictures, building Lego houses, doing word puzzles or dot-to-dots, it’s truly satisfying just watching kids doing what kids have done for generations.
Ah yes, despite the constant onslaught of tech devices, the fact is that kids are the same as kids have always been, only the parents have changed!
#5. Football Sticker Albums
For donkey’s years, I spent pretty much all of my hard earned pocket money buying as many packets of football stickers that I could physically lay my hands on, given the limited means at my disposal.
Why? Well, the challenge of trying to get those seemingly impossible stickers that no-one ever seemed to get was one element. But ultimately, the sheer satisfaction of watching those blank pages come to life was hard to beat.
So isn’t it great to see that sticker book collecting is still as popular a hobby with kids now as it has ever been? Only question is: are the stickers still 50p a packet I wonder?
#6. The Zoo
As a kid, Dublin Zoo defined many of my childhood summers and as a result, trips to the Zoo with my own kids nowadays really take me on a trip back down memory lane.
The zoo was simply magical and it had it all; from the picnic to the treats, especially the rock hard dummy style lollies that hang around your neck, from the souvenir shop to the exotic animals, and from that excitement filled car journey to the sweet laden stalls tempting me in with sticks of rock. Every minute of the summer zoo trip was a childhood delight!
#7. Picnics – and not just in summer!
There was, and still is (if my kids are anything to go by at least) nothing better than a picnic on a nice hot summer’s day. Or even on a chilly Irish day when you simply need to inject some fun into your family life.
You see, the thing about the picnic was that the location was (and still is for my kids) pretty much irrelevant. The real excitement was always in the preparation and the anticipation. Packing up that basket in the morning, piling into the car and heading away for the day, and finally get stuck into all those fun picnic treats that you had forgotten had even been packed…..that’s what picnics were, and still are, all about!
#8. Trips to Granny and Grandad’s House
Being a Dub born to two country parents, going to Granny and Grandad’s house meant going ‘down the country’ for at least one sleepover.
That meant a 3 hour car journey (two hours in today’s money), stop-offs in various towns and villages along the way for ice cream or, if we were really lucky, lunch in a hotel. Wow! And that was all before even arriving at Granny and Grandad’s, and the expectation and anticipation of further treats to follow.
9. Going to Football Matches with your Dad on a Sunday
From the age of 7 or 8, my Dad took me to Croke Park almost every Sunday without fail. And this is still one of my favourite childhood memories. Getting to hang out with my Dad for a whole day, just me and him, was awesome in itself, but every little thing about those summer Sundays combined to make it an experience to remember.
Cheering for whoever he was cheering for, getting hats, flags and headbands, soaking up the match-day atmosphere, learning about the games, and re-living it all on the way back home, made match days an experience to remember. And thankfully, judging by my own kids’ reaction to going to Croke Park for a big match, this is still as exciting an experience nowadays as it was for me way back then!
As with many of the points in this list, a sleepover is one of those things that we all associate with our childhood, no matter when or how long ago it was!
The sense of adventure, the excitement at the thoughts of sleeping in someone else’s house without Mummy and Daddy, and that first taste of independence, are what have always made sleepovers such an exciting experience for all kids – and still do to this day.
Over to you, what are the childhood things you loved? Please share them in comments box below.