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Article by: Sophia Wahl

Baby Boomers saw the creation of the Slinky, Gen X had Cabbage Patch Kid obsessions, and let’s not forget the Millennial Beanie Babies craze! As the Gen Z age matures, we’re unlocking our ability to feel the sweeping waves of nostalgia that we’ve seen in older generations. From toys that we grew up obsessed with to technology and books, we have reached the point that now allows us to reminisce about our childhoods.

There are so many toys and activities that define the era we grew up in. One example of that is Rainbow Loom. The introduction of these tiny rubber bands and the creations that come from them sparked a rise in after-school, bracelet-selling, side-hustler children.

The object of every Gen Z elementary school kid’s desires

A core memory for many people born in the early 2000s is the thrilling feeling of coasting down a hill on a Razor scooter and reaching speeds that terrified our parents. Were there some accidents? Definitely. Although, our scrapes and cuts were not always the result of high-speed racing… These scooters swung a full 360 degrees, which meant that the back of the metal scooter was in frequent contact with our poor, bruised ankles.

Razor Scooters: full of fun (and fear)

Back in the day, before the age of technology-consuming 8-year-olds, many of us read books. Now, it is safe to say that these books, such as the Magic Tree House, Ivy + Bean, Geronimo Stilton, Junie B. Jones, and many more are considered “classics.” Today, if you asked a child about “Flat Stanley,” he or she would likely believe you were talking about a demolished tumbler, rather than the story of a boy who had an unfortunate interaction with the bulletin board hanging above his bed.

A staple in every classroom in 2009

However, in addition to unplugged activities, we did enjoy the technology we had at the time. Young girls in the 2000s had the ability to learn various dances in the comfort of their own homes with Bella Dancerella. This special kit came with a floor mat that labelled each ballet foot position, a barre, and a DVD with demonstrations and performances to dance along with, including an abbreviated version of Swan Lake.

Bella Dancerella was one of the greatest sources of happiness for 5–10-year-old girls!

Next, what public school kid could forget this scene: You walk into science class, expecting just another typical day, when suddenly- The teacher turns on the projector and reveals none other than Bill Nye the Science Guy! Instantly, your classmates begin to chant, “Bill Bill Bill Bill!” Or perhaps your teacher preferred the equally evocative The Magic School Bus! If so, how many times did you watch the episode where the bus shrinks and Miss Frizzle takes the kids on a sightseeing tour through Ralphie’s body?

“Inside Ralphie” was a class favorite!

Finally, in 2006, the best-selling console of our early childhood was undoubtedly the Wii. Classic games such as Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit served as family-bonding opportunities; Who doesn’t love beating their siblings at boxing and leaving them in the dust during cow racing? There were also plenty of chances for frustration, especially when you blow yourself up in Tanks. Perhaps this served as early character building?

2-player Cow Run on Wii Play!

As Gen Z’s reminisce nostalgic things from our early years, we easily connect with others in our generation without necessarily having specific shared memories. These experiences that we’ve had throughout our childhoods were more formative than we may realize, even now. Hopefully, this trip down memory lane brought you an equal amount of joy and a flood of beloved memories!