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Childhood Artifacts: School Survival Supplies We Loved

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Photos by Megan Swann and Renee Stevens

Comments: 6

  1. BOOK IT! Program: Read books. Get free pizza. Promote reading through unhealthy eating? Is that a “Hmm” or an “Mmmm”?
  2. Temporary tattoos: Yeah, you were a badass. You didn’t flinch while your mom applied these with a warm washcloth.
  3. High-trade snacks: Dunk-a-roos, Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups and any sugar water that came in a barrel. The right snacks put you at the top of the lunchroom hierarchy.
  4. NERF guns: You probably snuck one onto the playground at some point. It’s too bad these darts didn’t stick to the back of your teacher’s head that well.
  5. Pencil toppers: What’s the most useful part of a pencil? The eraser. But that’s too simple, so someone came up with a way to render it completely useless. And we all bought it.
  6. Pipe cleaner crafts: What? You don’t think it looks like a sculpture of Optimus Prime? Fuck you! My mom says it’s awesome.
  7. Pogs: We know this game was a ton of fun...but does anyone actually remember the rules? Have they been lost to the ages? Oh well, they're still fun to look at.
  8. Slap bracelets: Just slap it against your wrist or leg for hours of distraction during class. Better yet, just hit your friends with them.

With back to school season just around the corner, Handshake contributor Nick McCrea takes a look at the most-needed school supplies of days gone by. If this doesn’t make you nostalgic for second grade again, nothing will.

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6 Responses to “Childhood Artifacts: School Survival Supplies We Loved”

  1. avatar Rhe says:

    Epic piece Nick. When I was like 8, my parents took me to this store that had giant bins full of pogs for 25 cents each. My brother and I dove in head first. One of the greatest childhood moments ever.

  2. avatar Nick Feely says:

    Fruit by the Foot held the most trading weight at my elementary school. You could make the asking price whatever you wanted. Currency is so much simpler when you’re young.

  3. avatar Shruthi says:

    What surprises me is how universal all this stuff is. We went through a phase going crazy over this stuff at my school in India too. Truly nostalgic!

  4. avatar Erica Sanderson says:


  5. avatar Nick Cicero says:

    It was always a battle to see who had the biggest/coolest slammer to flip the pogs. I remember getting the whole 94 world cup bracket in pogs.

  6. avatar Meghan Russell says:

    True confessions of a child geek: …I had a pog maker machine.