The Back-to-School Supplies That Will Turn Parents Into 90s Kids All Over Again

Gel pens, scented markers, and Pokemon-themed school supplies. Is this the dream back-to-school list of a kid in 1999 or 2019? It’s hard to say. The return of the 90s can be blamed on a number of things. For one, looking to the past for trends is nothing new. (Just ask your own parents, who probably feel similarly about you asking for bell-bottoms circa 1998 as you do when your kid asks for a choker necklace.) But our own millennial nostalgia, which has fueled remakes and reboots aplenty, may also be to blame. Then again, who could have predicted an entire generation of teens would become obsessed with Friends? Should we be gearing ourselves up to see a return of the Rachel haircut in high schools?

Whatever the source of this 90s nostalgia, it’s easy to laugh or cringe — especially if you were the victim of some regrettable trends. But it can also be a chance to share some of your favorite memories and styles with your own kids. It may also mean that you may find yourself becoming a little jealous of your kid’s new backpack, lunch box, or gel pens.

While some things, like Trapper Keeper and Lisa Frank, may still (mostly) solidly reside in the 90s, plenty of that decade’s favorite shows and trends are very much on the radar of kids born in the new millennium — and these back-to-school buys prove it. Now, if only your kid could be as impressed with a TI-89 calculator as you were, and suddenly not want the new iPhone.

Lion King Backpack

The 2019 Lion King has apparently given Diseny an excuse to release a bunch of kid’s gear emblazoned with the 1994 hand-drawn characters as well. 

Lion King Backpack, $8 at Walmart

JanSport SuperBreak Backpack

Of course, while we were going nuts over tie dye, our parents were probably rolling their eyes and reminding us it was just a return of their own 70s style.

JanSport SuperBreak Backpack, $29.99 at Academy Sport

Slime Lunch Bag

Pass the dream of being slimed onto another generation.

Nickelodeon Slime Lunch Bag, $8.99 at Target

Lisa Frank 3-Pack Notebooks

Lisa Frank, perhaps one of the most vivid reminders of 90s aesthetics, remains frustratingly elusive despite her obvious influence on trends today. To get the real thing, you have to track down more expensvie options on websites like Amazon.

Lisa Frank 3-Pack Notebooks, $27.89 at Amazon

Fashion Notebook With Stencil Ruler

However, if you poke around, it’s not hard to find things that are reminscent of the day-glo fantasy world she created. 

Fashion Notebook With Stencil Ruler, $4.99 at Office Depot

Lulu the Leopard Rainbow Soft Pencil Case

Another Lisa Frank-adjacent item, this time from another 90s icon: Claire’s.

Lulu the Leopard Rainbow Soft Pencil Case, $16.99 at Claire’s

Ariel Zip-Up Stationery Kit

The original Ariel adorns gizmos and school supplies aplenty in this cute school supply set. 

Ariel Zip-Up Stationery Kit, $7.99 at Disney

Yummy Yummy Scented Glitter Gel Pens

There are enough pens in this set that we give you permission to skim a few off the top before giving them to your children. 

Yummy Yummy Scented Glitter Gel Pens, $9.99 at Amazon

Super Mario Lunch Bag

Having made his debut in 1981, that makes Mario an elder millennial, and definite 90s kid.

Super Mario Dual Compartment Lunch Bag, $10.99 at Target

Stringy Stretchy Pink Journal

Practical? Maybe not. Reminiscent of a Koosh? Definitely. 

Stringy Stretchy Pink Journal, $14.95 at Paper Source

Furry Pencil Case

Even the arbiters of prep, J.Crew, are jumping onto the 90s bandwagon. 

Furry Pencil Case, $29.50 at J.Crew

Dragon Ball Z Journal

The original Dragon Ball Z series ran in the U.S. on Cartoon Network only until 2003, but later revised versions have continued to introduce this classic anime series to a new generation. 

Dragon Ball Z Journal, $11.92 at Hot Topic

SpongeBob SquarePants Journal With Tabs

We were first introduced to SpongeBob in 1999, making 2019 the show’s 20th anniversary and all related merchadise something 90s kids would have loved. 

SpongeBob SquarePants Journal With Tabs, $11.92 at Boxlunch

Jurassic Park Backpack

Another exmaple of remakes igniting interest in the original, the classic Jurassic Park logo hasn’t changed in the subsequent sequels. 

Jurassic Park Backpack, $9.99 at Kmart

On-the-Go Two-Toned Lavender Case

Share the joy of organizing lip balm, nail polish, and more with a new generation. 

On-the-Go Two-Toned Lavender Case, $19.99 at Caboodles

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers

Do markers need to be scented? No. But Mr. Sketch is more than an olafactory gimic. The chiseled tips are excellent for poster-making and visual projects. 

Mr. Sketch Scented Markers, $12.99 at Staples

Two-Pack Metallic Hair Ties With Bows

Scrunchies are back, and these mini versions will allow your mini me to rock the trend on their wrists as well as their hair. 

Two-Pack Metallic Hair Ties With Bows, $5.90 at Zara

Kids Emoji Senior Backpack

The backpack says emoji but the winky face is giving us 90s rave kid realness. 

Kids Emoji Senior Backpack, $29.99 at Gap

Pokemon Backpack

Just like Simba, subequent remakes can never really repalce the original Pikachu in our hearts or imagination. 

Pokemon Backpack, $9.99 at Kmart

Gear-Up Ombre Homework Holder

Even with iPads and laptops, teens can still use a hand keeping their actual paper homework and notes organized. While the origianl Trapper Keeper is elusive in 2019, this take on it for PB Teen is an acceptable substitute. 

Gear-Up Ombre Homework Holder, $20 at PB Teen

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