27 Fun Things Seen At Schools In The 1980s

As a tribute to the upcoming school year I thought that we should take a trip down memory lane. As a result, I have rounded up several fun items which would remind any child of the 1980’s of the things that they would see at school. If you were a cool 80’s kid then you will probably remember seeing these things at school too.

boys bike

The cool kids got to ride to school in style. Most of us had to walk. At least in my small town that’s how it was.

eastlands

Whether you walked or rode to school these Eastland shoes would line the hallways every day.

reebok

Or there were these popular colored Reebok high-tops!

vintage nintendo backback mario 1980s

Many young boys would tote a Mario bag in route to school to hang on their hook in the classroom.

vintage smurf backback 1980s school

This Smurf messenger bag is one of my personal favorites from the early 1980’s!

1980s charm necklace

These necklaces filled with charms were quite a hit! You could hear kids jingling through the halls as they walked and they were quite popular for trading. 

chinese jumprope

When it came to recess…. if kids weren’t  found playing football, dodge-ball, red-rover, or kickball they would be seen playing Chinese jump rope. And of course there was still an option for break dancing or double-dutch. 

sammy sosa card

The cool boys would have baseball or football cards to trade with one another while the girls were busy trading their charms for their necklaces.

1980s snap bracelets

These snap bracelets were a hit alright. You could legally hit your classmates with them. The trick was to see who got the biggest welt.

glitter bracelets

These water filled glitter bracelets were also pretty popular. Although it was short-lived. I remember them being recalled because some kid thought it would be great to drink the contents. Soon after they were discontinued and jelly bracelets began rising back up the charts in sales.

coca cola shirt

It seemed as though everyone had a shirt from coke. On second thought, Hard Rock Cafe attire was pretty popular too.

jelly purse 1980s

Young ladies would carry these handbags in the early to mid 1980’s. We called them jelly purses, but there was nothing jelly about them. They were however a must have accessory and one of my absolute favorites.

push pencils

color pens

Hello….. Cool pens and pencils! It was a tragedy if you lost one of the little lead pieces. And the pens usually broke from multiple attempts to make all of the colors write at once. 

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No matter how cool your pencils were, for tests and such everyone sharpened with this style of sharpener. They were commonly hanging near the blackboards.
school box 1980s

To hold those pens and pencils was this widely seen pencil box. The second most popular boxes used for pencils and such were empty cigar boxes! They were sturdy and they lasted the whole school year! 

crayola crayons 1980s

The rich kids got to get the boxes of crayons with the built-in sharpeners on the side. The rest of us carried these. We were basically were given a consolation prize… the plastic container. But since they were not rose art we were still in the cool club.

1980s vintage trapper keeper

Long gone are the days of these awesome Trapper Keepers! Some schools would sell them in the front office. They also sold tablets of paper and pencils you could buy from a machine. Printed pencils became quite popular.

1980s calculator

Most students had one of these around. I am not certain why because we weren’t allowed to use them. We actually had to know how to do things. On paper.

typewriter

This was our computer!

projector

Before VHS players became affordable this is how we watched movies.

desk

The desks were great for storage! They made it difficult to cheat off of a classmate on tests. It was also tricky to sneak in them because they had worn hinges that needed oiled. So if you were not supposed to be in your desk, you had better keep it shut.

scented markers

These scented markers were loved by many! But there is some bad news about them. They were often used to catch a little buzz when sniffing the scents for too long.

These markers in the picture and the rubber cement we used in class were America’s true gateway drugs. It began in elementary school in the 1980’s and has been a highly guarded secret.

lunch boxes

After the rubber cement and marker buzzes wore off children would assemble themselves for lunch. Those kids who packed a lunch often came to school with these awesome lunch boxes!

lunch tray

Even the kids who packed their lunch would choose to buy the school food on pizza day. It was a day many looked forward to on the school lunch calendar. 

paddle

Back in those days, if you misbehaved in any way or disrespected your peers, elders, etc. then your name went on the wall of shame. The principal was called, the paddle was presented, and your hands went on the wall. Needless to say, it didn’t happen often.

vintage chalk holder

After being paddled or disciplined one could expect to be writing their apologies on the chalkboard repeatedly for the entire class to read. They would be writing at recess, or perhaps after school. (And they were not allowed to use this chalk holder!)

I could continue this list for quite some time. Aside from the last two items, the rest remind me of fun times at school in the 1980’s. The only fun part about the last two I mentioned, was if you were watching it happen to someone other than yourself.

What fun things do you remember about going to school in the 1980’s?

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