Being born in the ‘90s meant you were a part of a whole culture in itself. Lives weren’t dominated by gadgets and playthings – passing time required actual thought and creativity. Without a phone in one’s hand and with a couple of hours to spare, the ‘90s kids led by example.

Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, kids lack the creativity and parents seem to lack the patience to allow their scarce creative juices to flow. Even when toddlers are cranky, the easiest solution is to calm them down by handing them a phone to fiddle with. Kids seem to follow a routine similar to their ‘90s  counterparts – school, home, tuitions, free time, homework and sleep. The only difference lies in the nature of how the free time is spent.

We ‘90s  kids often struggled with the hours we had to kill; kids nowadays lose track of time as they busy themselves with mindless memes, videos, and sometimes by stalking each other online instead of conversing in person.

We reminisced and came up with a popular list of activities the ‘90s  kids indulged in during their free time. Here it is, the life of an average ’90s kid in a nutshell for you.

1) Build forts

At a younger age, role-playing was always fun. One member of the troop became the tired father returning home from work, while the other took on the role of the mother slaving away in the kitchen. However, none of the above was actually fun until it was enacted inside a fort. We don’t mean forts like the ones built in the world of Minecraft. We mean forts built out of cushions, pillow, and quilts thrown together. One section became the inside of a house, whereas the other became the office. With a lava lamp to light it, building forts was always fun and required immense creativity to make it hold for an entire day.

2) Mountain Lava or the more desi version ‘Oonch Neech’

Sometimes as an only child, it is even harder to come up with things to do in your past time. However, if you have an imaginative mind, the problem is almost solved. That is exactly what the ‘90s  kids had in abundance – resourcefulness. How we viewed the world was exactly how we intended to. With parents busy with housework, passing time was incredibly fun as the sofas and chairs took the shape of Rocky Mountains and the floor became hot lava that had to be avoided at all costs.

The ‘90s  kids were their own little versions of Tomb Raider and Ethan Hunt dodging obstacles.

3) M.A.S.H.

You cannot be a true ‘90s  kid until you played the epic game of M.A.S.H. The acronym represented our fate. Who would we marry? Where would we live? A game played to predict one’s future, MASH helped ‘90s  kids decide their vital career choice, the car they’d drive, and the kind of house they’d live in. Kids in the ‘90s could blacken page upon page, deciding futures that almost never came to be. But boy, what a fun way to kill time!!

4) Dark Room

If this game doesn’t define the ‘90s childhood, we don’t know what does. Darkroom – was open to and played by any and all members of the family. Whether it was cousins getting together or friends, this game was the go-to. Including a room dark enough to inhibit sight, kids in the ‘90s would jump on and off beds, sofas, chairs, hiding behind curtains, or the bathroom until someone would get hurt and the game would be brought to an end.

5) Kona-Kona

This game always had the ‘90s  kids struggling for a part of the house that had a lot of corners. Kona-Kona was an activity that demonstrated one’s skill at speed and deception. It entails several people acquiring nooks within a room, while one of them is left in the center with none. As people would shift from their respective corners, the person in the center had to rush to acquire their cranny and leave them in the center. This game took hours and was always a fun way to pass time with siblings or cousins.

6) Reading Books

If you’re wondering where the kids in the ‘90s  took their creativity from, think again. It wasn’t from YouTube or Buzzfeed articles. They actually held a tangible book, flipped through the pages and read them.

Shocking? Not really!

It is unfortunate that in the 21st century, reading books has become such a dying art. We’re not against kindle or ebooks, but there was a joy in itself when kids in the ‘90s  went to old and new bookstores, spent hours reading the synopsis and came home with a bag full of an activity that would engage them for weeks.

7) Hopscotch

This game would bring together every child in the neighborhood. This often started with the struggle to look for a chalk but ended in tears and sweat and a lot of competition. Hopscotch if the epitome of any ‘90s  game. Whether it was someone’s porch, garage or part of the street, it didn’t matter where you played, as long as you did.

8) UNO

Speaking of fights, nothing spurred them more than the UNO card game. Any family member could’ve sat down with a deck of colorful cards. The rules were altered each time to make it fun, difficult, and more interesting than it was before. Everyone dreaded the “Wild Draw Four,” “Draw Two” cards. This game was all fun and laughter as players hogged their secret cards to use them to make the other suffer while they were on the verge of victory.

9) Baraf-Pani

Lastly and most importantly is Baraf-pani. The game is an interesting play on catch-catch. The rules implied that whoever was caught was “frozen” in place unless another touched them and thawed them out. If you were iced thrice, it was your turn to do the chasing.

We don’t know about you but jotting this list down has made us immensely nostalgic. The ‘90s was the time to be a kid. Life wasn’t dominated by gadgets and the underlying troubles that come with it. Quality time was actually quality time. If you think the above list represents all the activities; you’re mistaken. There’s a plethora more ranging from parking pakrai to luddo. Pitho garam to carrom board and a ton of others.


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