Top 10 Cool Things Every 80s Kid Had for School
Top 10 Cool Things Every 80s Kid Had for School
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Top 10 Cool Things Every 80s Kid Had for School

By Christian Roemer

Since school is about to start back, and kids everywhere are stocking up on supplies for the upcoming year, we figured that we should do a blast-from-the-past featurette and provide some insight about how education looked 3 decades ago. School in the 80s, judging from my experience of watching tons of 80s movies, is that it was a free-for-all with well defined cliques, goofballs, and hijinks.

Since I was born in ‘86, I’m much more familiar with what was happening in the 90s (hello, Tamagotchis!), but with research, anything is possible. Based on these almost certainly peer reviewed articles, these are the top 10 items that everyone had on their first day of school in the 80s.


Trapper Keepers

If the 80s were one thing, they were certainly analog. Everyone was old school--paper, pencils, pens, and everything was written on physical things that you turned into the teacher. Trapper Keepers kept your stuff in one legacy, probably awesomely colored place.

Lisa Frank Folders

The 80s were also colorful. Lisa Frank folders and notebooks featured mystical creatures in the brightest colors they could muster. Whether you chose to go with the unicorns, trolls, or dolphins, there was a Lisa Frank accessory for you.

Book It Reports

The best part about going back to school was cashing in on your Book It reading log. Over summer break, you could read for a few hours a week, your parents signed off, and Pizza Hut would send you a personal pan pizza coupon. The sweet buttery crust will forever be imprinted in our minds.



The footwear du jour of tween girls everywhere in the 80s, jellies weren’t necessarily comfortable, but sometimes fashion hurts. Available in a multitude of colors, jellies were it for young girls everywhere.


Portable music found its beginnings in 1979, but the 80s is when it became accessible to everyone. The walkman was a tape player that could fit on your belt and you could blast the newest Madonna album on full volume through bright, orange-earpadded headphones. What a time to be alive.

Brand New No. 2s

The more things change, the more they stay the same. For some reason, pencil technology has stayed the same for basically ever. Every kid in the 1980s, just like in 2018, was be expected to report to school with a full new pack of number 2 pencils.


Garbage Pail Kids

In the 90s, baseball cards were incredibly popular. In the early 00s, it was all about Pokemon. In the 80s, kids were weird and traded Garbage Pail Kids cards instead. These were basically spoof cards of Cabbage Patch Kids that featured the babies being gross. Okedoke then.


Cartoon Metal Lunch Boxes

In the 80s, nobody trusted school lunches, so mostly everybody brought their midday meal from home. The most stylish way to tote your noms was in a tin lunch box emblazoned with your favorite cartoon characters. Mine would have had Ren and Stimpy on it.


Do these even exist anymore? Usually the metal lunch boxes included a thermos, which was basically an insulated drink holder. They held approximately 2 ounces of liquid, and you were always thirsty because the thermos didn’t hold water enough to hydrate an ant, much less a developing child.

Newspaper Book Covers

Before tablets took over, reusable textbooks are how every kid got his or her schoolwork done. In order to keep those books in pristine shape, you’d have to cover them in paper. The best paper to use was newspaper, and the best newspaper to use was the comic pages. That way, if you were bored in class one day, you could read the funnies and get a chuckle while not learning.


Going back to school is fun and recalling those 80s/90s years of cool school stuff is just as enjoyable. Your memories should last for all to enjoy. With Legacybox, you can do just that. 

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