Lets face it, life was pretty simple back then. All we had to worry about was how many gel pens we owned and who we wanted to share them with (ok…that seemed like a big deal at the time). If you went to primary school in the 90s then you'll probably remember some of these...


1. Smelly gel pens

So first there were gel pens and then came smelly gel pens. From blueberry to bubblegum, you just had to have the whole collection.

2. Novelty pencil cases, sharpeners and rubbers

We were forever changing our pencil cases to keep up to date with the latest craze. There was also endless variations of over the top pencil sharpener and rubbers. We could spend hours in WH Smith deciding which was the most impressive.


3. Wrapping paper covered textbooks

At the start of each school year, there was always one very important task to do- to cover your text books with wrapping paper or sticky back plastic.

4. Spice Girls Photos

Oh the rush to the playground to trade these among your friends. We’d fill whole photo albums with these and still wanted more. The craze got too out of hand and a lot of schools banned these. But who can blame us… it was the Spice Girls after all.

PA Photos

PA Photos

5. Pokemon cards

And a little later on came pokemon cards, which caused even bigger hype at break times. Sadly in the end, this was banned too. Apparently some of the rarer cards can now sell in their thousands, better see if we can dig any out.



6. Labelled stationary

We used to spend hours the night before a new school year, carefully labelling our brand new set of colouring pencils and stationary with our names (all to go in our brand new pencil case of course).

7. Plastic pva glue sticks

When these came out of the cupboard you knew there was lots of arty fun to be had. Paper mache-ing a balloon was a firm primary school favourite. You’d spend all afternoon peeling off the glue from your hands too.

iStock Photos

iStock Photos

8. Pogs and Tazos

This was a game involving flat circular cardboard discs which were decorated with images and patterns.  If you won a game you could keep other children’s pogs, usually storing them in a fluorescent tube called a “pogtainer”. Pogs were banned in lots of schools as it was considered a form of gambling…!

9. VHS

Everyone would gather round a tiny square tv to watch a video in class, usually wheeled in on a trolly which could cause great excitement. In the earlier years we loved watching Brum, Words and Pictures and Come Outside



10. The recorder

We now respect our music teachers for having to endure 30 school children play their rendition of Londons Burning all at once (on one of the least forgiving instuments!).

iStock Photos


11. Fountain pens

It was a big deal when you were allowed to finally use a fountain pen. You felt like a boss with your new Parker pen. They’d always be that person who leaked an ink cartridge absolutely everywhere, and managed to get covered from head to toe in blue ink.

12. Badges

Prefect, house badges, games captain… We wore them with enormous pride and felt extremely important with them clipped onto our jumpers.

iStock Photos


13. Overhead projector or OHP

You always felt very important if you were given the task of helping set up the projector.

14. Fresh exercise books

We all loved the satisfaction of getting a brand new exercise book. You’d spend ages writing your name and class on the front as neatly as humanly possible. And you’d vow to keep all your work neat in this one..

15. Birthday treats

If it was your birthday, you would often bring in a multipack bag of chocolates or sweets. At the end of the day, everyone would stand in a line, and you would proudly hand out one of these one by one to your classmates as they left to go home.

iStock Photos


16. Co-ordinates robot

We all learnt how co-ordinates worked by using one these robots that moved across the floor.

17. Beams, vaults, “horses” and springboards

If this gym equipment was coming out in P.E you knew it was going to be a fun afternoon diving into crash mats.

iStock Photos


18. The Magic Key books

We all loved following the adventures of Biff, Chip and Kipper in this book series.

19. Frozen water

Feeling so happy that you were allowed to have your cold water (which you’d frozen the night before) on your desk during class, in the hot summers. It somehow made lessons seem more interesting!


Is there anything else you remember from primary school in the 90s?