19 Things From Your Childhood You Still Kinda Love

Twenty-Something Tuesday

We are supposedly grown adults—or whatever. We have jobs, we pay taxes, we’re still figuring out health care, and maybe we even enjoy some of adulthood’s dull pleasures (what’s better than a perfectly organized refrigerator? or a freshly vacuumed carpet? c’mon). But there are still those certain childhood artifacts or activities that may not be “age-appropriate” but are still just as fun, or fun in a new way, now that we’re “all growed up.” Here are some of LD’s most beloved childhood treasures.

1. Coloring

Coloring is like a fine wine; it only gets better with time. Not only can I now stay within the lines, I can handle more explicit detail and am capable of fancy shading when using crayons (and I do have the Crayola set of 96 with a crayon sharpener. Jealous much?). Plus, as my mother so deftly pointed out to me, coloring can be paired well with a nice cocktail and then there’s your weekend. And we’re not the only ones! Coloring is, like, officially for adults too. Go order your grown-up coloring book now! —Natalie

2. Kraft Mac-n-Cheese

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OK, so most people my age still eat this which maybe makes it not so much a childhood thing. But we all grew up with the bright orange powdery glory that is Kraft, the most divine of all childhood foods. Sometimes I’d get the special shaped pasta (Spongebob is most common now). Nowadays I jazz it up with cut up hot dogs or extra shredded cheese because apparently I’m begging for a heart attack. Fun fact: When I was living in England and craving this like crazy, my aunt shipped me five boxes and I almost cried. —Natalie

3. Lunchables

For the most part, I try to eat like a grown-up, but I’m always up for a good snack break. When I was little my mom was all about pretzel sticks and granola bars, but when I started getting involved in extracurriculars and going over to friends’ houses whose moms weren’t health nuts, I was exposed to a whole new world. And it was magical place full of salty, cheesy, sugary goodness. Admittedly, there were even a couple of after-school activities that I only did because of the expansive snack selection. Lunchables were near the top of my mom’s hit list, but the nacho one was oh-so-glorious and nothing could tear us apart. I know they’re probably full of not-so-good things, but just let me have my bliss. I was obsessed with that cheese. At lunch, kids in my class would heat up the cheese dip to perfection in the microwaveplastic packaging and all (I would not recommend that part). Now that I’m old enough to make my own dietary decisions, I just wish that the Lunchables portions were a bit bigger. —Lauren

4. *NSYNC

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I am one of only three people I know personally that passionately care about *NSYNC, perhaps more now than when we were six and “No Strings Attached” had just come out. When they briefly reunited at the VMAs, I thought I was going to die (see photo). I continue to hunt for rumors of reunion and have been known to tweet at the band members to beg for it. I’m not ashamed. “It Makes Me Ill” still has like, the funkiest beat, and I’m not sure how they predicted Skype sex in “Digital Get Down” but they did. Also not sure how my parents allowed me to listen to it. Anyway, *NSYNC is and always will be the best (and better than the Backstreet Boys. NO CONTEST. Sorry not sorry). —Natalie

5. Disneyland

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Living in Northern California my whole life, Disneyland was always this far-off dream destination that I never quite made it to in the height of my Disneymania as a child. I finally went for the first time when I was 13, and despite my early teenage malaise (I had just discovered “punk rock”) I was overwhelmed by the whole experience. I felt simultaneously robbed and redeemed and then became obsessed with returning. In my later teen years, upon learning that teen life has NOTHING on childhood, I returned to my love of Disney and have stuck with it. For my 19th birthday, my mom surprised me with a Disneyland trip and I literally sobbed in a restaurant for half an hour, like a grown up version of Lily. Currently I’m experiencing my own kind of Disney renaissance, because since 2012 I’ve been to Disneyland five times. Four of them were in 2014 (one was Disneyland Paris). I am supposedly an adult, but here I am spending $100 a ticket to spend the day sprinting around wildly, crying a little (or a lot, at the fireworks shows) and loving Disney more each time. —Natalie

6. The Amanda Show

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t run home from elementary and middle school every day to catch “The Amanda Show.” I’d put on some sweatpants (read: matching banana-yellow sweats from Wal-Mart. Thanks, Mom), grab the Cheez-Its and plop down on the old sofa in the playroom, just in time to hear the applause from the crowd. My brother and I still play the redneck knock-knock-joke game: “Knock knock. Who’s there? Fryin’ pan. Fryin’ pan who? I’m gonna hit ya in the head with this fryin’ pan.” —Haley

7. French Toast Crunch

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This was my favorite cereal growing up, and I was deeply saddened when General Mills discontinued it circa 2006. Luckily, meeting the demands of 90s kids everywhere, they’ve brought it back, and it now graces grocery shelves across the country. I can taste my childhood in every delicious bite as I sit at my desk right now, eating it for the first time in almost a decade. Wow that makes me feel old. But I am very content with my decision yesterday to snag my favorite sugary cereals from the store, including this one. —Allie

8. “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle” series

Growing up, I would periodically grab these books off my bookshelf (where yes, they still reside) and breeze through them because they’re almost more amusing as an adult than as a child. Basically, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle will always be awesome because she lives in an upside down house, has gold in her backyard, was married to a pirate, and has a hump on her back where magic is stored. Oh, and no big deal she always smells like cookies. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle is also every parent’s friend because she helps them with their misbehaving children in the most unconventional waysuch as planting radish seeds on a child who refuses to bathe. Isn’t it odd how that solution seemed completely normal to a child? —Kelsey

9. Blanket Forts

Did you ever do this, darlings? Build a secret blanket fort that you were “totally going to live in…like… forever?” For me, it was one of my favorite childhood activities! But growing older doesn’t mean you can’t replicate that good old “camping out at home” experience. So much fun and so easy to make, since as a functional independent twenty-something, you probably already own most of the required construction materials. All you need is a couple of comforters and pillows to make the floor comfy enough for lounging, bed sheets for the “walls” and the “ceiling” so that your fort is truly a perfect private hideaway, flashlights or a few strands of Christmas lights, and lots of snacks (ideally with sugar) and drinks (preferably containing ethanol, if you know what I mean). Oh, and of course there has to be a secret password required for entry! —Victoria

10. Darkwing Duck

As a child, my love for the masked superhero Darkwing Duck knew no bounds. I was convinced I would one day marry Drake Mallard (as Darkwing was known when not fighting crime), and would often make my entire preschool class sit down so I could tell them wild stories about spending the night before helping Darkwing thwart evil. My poor mom regularly had to make this weird voice that I thought sounded like Darkwing’s and play pretend with me. I was into it. And I still am. Although I’ve given up on my hopes of being Mrs. Mallard, Darkwing Duck holds up over time. He’s a neurotic duck plagued by a less-than-brilliant sidekick and rebellious adopted daughter who enlists her bookish best friend in all her adventures. And his girlfriend is a magnificent witchy-duck with spider minions. The show was bizarre. He’s always just this side of having a straight up breakdown, barely holding it all together while chaos surrounds him. Darkwing Duck was basically a hot mess before it was cool to be a hot mess… and his dark purple, black and pink color palette was on point from day one. Let’s get dangerous, darlings. —Bridey

11. The Cheetah Girls

I’m convinced that the premiere of the Cheetah Girls movie on the Disney Channel when I was 10 years old marks the start of my feminist conscious. Every single one of their catchy tunes inspired me that I can do anything, regardless of race or background, with or without a man. I still remember buying this soundtrack in elementary school while shopping at Limited Too (moment of silence please). Now that all of the Cheetah Girls movies are on Netflix (even the unfortunate “Cheetah Girls: One World” where Raven-Symoné is MIA), I can continue to re-live this not-so-guilty pleasure. —Mayura

12. The Powerpuff Girls

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Not only did they have the catchiest theme song ever, but the Powerpuff Girls were the coolest superheroes ever. They were my age, smart, kind, badass, and saved the world from weird monkeys with exposed brains. ALL BEFORE BEDTIME. I would pretend to be them on regular occasion as I zipped through my living room and pretended my brother was Mojo Jojo. I remember watching the movie on VHS on repeat and making someone play the boardgame with me over and over (yes, I still have both). As a child, I loved how they were relatable superheros who kicked butt with flashy graphics and happy endings, but I now realize their progressive and feminist values. It showed that girls didn’t have to be “traditionally” feminine (Buttercup was the OG), but that they also could be (Bubbles was the happiest ball of sunshine). Plus, it had a single working dad and few traditional gender roles. It was progressive and awesome. I used to identify most Bubbles, but now I’m definitely a mixture of all three. Thank goodness it’s on Netflix and they’re relaunching the series so I can still pretend to save the world before bedtime. —Rashi

13. Winnie the Pooh

Having a seven-year-younger little sister let me extend my love of Winnie the Pooh far longer than most, and because of that it will forever have a soft spot in my heart. Existing entirely in a land of the brilliance of one boy’s imagination, it perfectly captures the absurdities and wonders of a child’s mind. It also surprisingly has a very well-rounded cast of characters who are neither one-dimensional nor necessarily easy to get along with. Each brings their own wisdom to the table and reminds us that adventure, imagination, and friendship are critical components to our lives, something adults tend to forget. To this day, if I’ve watched some horror movie and am scared out of my mind, I’ll go dig out some Winnie the Pooh and reset my brain to something far more innocent. —Katie

14. Character-Shaped Fruit Snacks/Gummy Vitamins

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What is it about fruit flavored gummies that is so impossible to resist? As an adult I have found myself buying Scooby Doo fruit snacks and wine at the grocery store more times than I care to admit. Even though they melt in hot weather and kind of stick to your teeth in the worst way possible, there is nothing in this world that can compare to hoarding all your blue Scooby gummies and eating them angrily as you try not to kill your co-worker. I blame a childhood of fruit snacks for my unfortunate habit of snacking on gummy vitamins. Spoiler: Don’t do this. Over-consuming vitamins (like, half a jar) is bad for your health and will give you a massive stomach ache (like you’ve never imagined) and possibly constipate you (for like a week). Not that this has ever happened to me. But just saying. —Hope

15. Lisa Frank  

It was the height of individuality. You could be boring with your stuff or you could put Lisa Frank stickers EVERYWHERE! We used to have a store dedicated to Lisa Frank, and it was like entering a magic shop. Anybody who says they didn’t covet all the unicorns and aliens is obviously trying to cover up some deep-seated problems. It was always a treat it have some colorful stickers on my books or backpacks. If I had leftover allowance money it was Lisa Frank or candy, and I loved it. —Lindsey

16. “The Swan Princess” and “Thumbelina”

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My dad went through a phase when I was younger that he didn’t like Disney. There were no Disney movies, Disney channels, and the few movies that made it through the cracks were hoarded religiously (maybe that was his problem). Without the ever-present Disney to turn to me and my sister had to find other places for princesses and fairy tales. Thus leads me to “The Swan Princess” and “Thumbelina.” They were beautiful princesses and had handsome princes (with names). They were outsiders who didn’t fit in, but found love anyway and that’s why we love them to this day I am waiting for the price of the Thumbelina soundtrack to be less than $30 on Amazon so I can have it forever! —Lindsey

17. Playing Dress Up

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I admit to occasionally trying on fancy dresses I don’t get to wear often enough and applying a full face of make-up for the sole purpose of standing in front of the mirror and feeling awesome about myself. It’s self-indulgent and vaguely narcissistic (you know, since I’m no longer 10), but it’s fun every time. And now that I’m over 21, it’s totally fine if I’m also a little tipsy. —Liz

18. Kermit the Frog and “The Rainbow Connection”

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Technically “The Muppet Movie,” where this song first appears, predates my childhood by a little over a decade. But I didn’t know that when I first came across it as a kid—I actually probably didn’t know that until fairly recently. I grew up a devotee of all things Jim Henson, and I have loved this song in particular at truly every moment of my life. It is just so darn sweet and hopeful and makes me feel like a wide-eyed kid again in the best way. Listening to Kermit marvel at the mystery of rainbows is the most failproof way—for me, at least—to rekindle that sense of childhood wonder. Also, it really is a good piece of music, with renowned songwriters Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher behind it. I kid you not, I wrote a paper on “The Rainbow Connection” for a graduate seminar last month. I got an A. —Sara

19. Nancy Drew Computer Game Series

If there’s one thing I’ve always loved more than anything, it’s a good mystery. What’s more, I love computer games. The Nancy Drew computer game series is the all-time best for all of these things. I got my first Nancy Drew game (#3, Message in a Haunted Mansion) at age 10 and have been played my way through all 31 in the last 12 years. Just because they are for ages 10 and up doesn’t mean they’re easy games though. Each one has two levels, Amateur and Master Sleuth, and these are games are hard. Most of the time I have to go online to find the answers to the puzzles online (thanks to my fellow #ClueCrew peeps for helping me out). Game 32: Sea of Darkness will be out in May and you better believe I have an alarm on my phone set for the second it’s released. —Emmy


What are your most beloved childhood artifacts! Tweet us @litdarling or let us know in the comments!

Natalie
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