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From the Tamagotchi to Bop It!, the 90s were responsible for plenty of exciting new types of toys. But toymakers also worked their magic across all of the classics, including the humble stuffed animal. Here we take a trip back in time to look at the top ten forgotten stuffed animals of the 90s!
Originating in the late 19th century, stuffed toys have never failed to deliver on their simple promise of being cute and cuddly companions. Over the 90s, there were plenty of new variants of this classic toy variety being released, several with interesting quirks and design features to raise their play value (and price tag).
Below, we’ll jog your memory and perhaps even surprise you with our list of the top ten forgotten stuffed animals of the 90s.
How do you evolve the simple concept of a stuffed animal? Make a pregnant version, of course!
Well, that’s what Hasbro thought when they came up with this bizarre idea. Puppy Surprise looks like your ordinary stuffed dog, but hidden inside were between three to five babies. The magical ‘surprise’ for kids was seeing how many puppies they got and what sex they were (boys had blue ribbons, girls had pink ones).
Only one in five toys had more than three puppies, so for most kids, the surprise was a disappointing one. However, this didn’t stop the toy from becoming insanely popular, and Hasbro eventually applied the idea to other animals with Bunny Surprise and Pony Surprise.
If you thought this unusual 90s stuffed animal was gone, you’re in for a surprise of your own! That’s right; Puppy Surprise is still being made today, although not by Hasbro. While the core concept of the toy has remained unchanged, the newer ones have gotten more creative with the fur colors (the magnificent rainbow-fur Tia is a standout).
For centuries, kids were forced to make do with their dull, one-note teddy bears. Thankfully, in 1995 Tyco heard their cries and released the Doodle Bear, the teddy bear kids could scribble all over without consequence.
That’s right, Doodle Bear came with washable markers kids could use to draw as much nonsense as they liked. From crude smiley faces to misspelled names, the Doodle Bear was the ultimate bear-shaped canvas for endless artistic expression. The best part was that anything drawn on the Doodle Bear could be easily washed off, so kids could doodle again, and again, and again!
Yep, and they have an extra layer of interactivity! The latest Doodle Bears come with a companion mobile phone app that can be used to take a photo of a child’s bear to add stickers, backgrounds, animations, and more.
If there’s one thing guaranteed to make a stuffed animal more exciting, it’s adding a bunch of lights to it…right? In 1991, Dreamworks had the ‘brite’ idea to try this by releasing a small line of plush dogs with electronic bows and fur.
When kids pressed down on their CuddleBrite’s head, the fiber optics would light up. The light would also change when kids danced with or rocked their CuddleBrite to sleep.
There were four original CuddleBrites (Amberglow, Glitterplum, Rosyshine, and Lillylite) that had slightly different lighting features and came with a wearable charm. On top of lighting up, the fur could also be brushed by kids eager to groom their radiant puppy pal.
The CuddleBrites couldn’t spark enough interest to last past their initial 1991 release, and no more were produced. Unfortunately for these pups, their bright lights didn’t keep them from becoming stuck in the weird and wacky section of 90s toy history.
As a kid, secure storage was always a problem. After all, where are you going to keep your prized candy stash, loose quarters, and the various other treasures you’ve collected in your short stint on earth?
Well, with a bejeweled plastic tummy compartment and key, Secret Keepins was the coolest and cuddliest way to keep your stuff safe. Oh, and each toy also came with a wearable bracelet so kids could flaunt their proud ownership of a puppy-shaped lockbox.
Even without the storage compartment, Secret Keepins were pretty cute and cuddly on their own. Sadly this wasn’t enough to keep this stuffed animal from fading into obscurity, with only the Pink, Purple, and White puppies produced.
Interestingly, prototypes for two kitties and a bear were made but never released to toy stores.
If you had one of the Yum Yums, can you honestly say you didn’t try to chew on it at least once? These stuffed animals were scented with different treats like peppermint, jelly beans, cherry, and for the weirder kids, lemon.
Unsurprisingly, the novelty of a toy that smelt like candy quickly wore off, and this toy line was short-lived (only lasting until 1991).
There was a half-hour cartoon special featuring the Yums Yums released on CBS to help promote the toys. It was all very reminiscent of the Care Bears, leaving little doubt as to what inspired the creation of the Yum Yums in the first place.
Yes, you read that right. The Shaquille O’Neal Beanie Baby actually exists, and it’s pretty unremarkable. Despite the fame of the legendary NBA player that it’s based on, this basic teddy bear wearing Shaq’s NBA uniform is actually one of the most obscure Beanie Babies out there.
But hey, at least one of ShaqBear’s poems is pretty inspirational:
Whether you’re at work or play
Give it your best shot each day
Win or lose, what counts is this
Work really hard and you won’t miss!
ShaqBear is generally sold for around $20 online. Unlike many other Beanie Babies, nobody’s trying to sell ShaqBear for ridiculous prices. But if you’re interested in learning about the pricier ones, check out our guide to the most valuable Beanie Babies.
Ever felt like violently squishing your stuffed animals? Well, Sqwish Puppies provided a safe outlet for your pent-up aggression with their big, round, and squishable tummies. When you calmed down, each pup also had brushable hair and could be walked around on a leash. Twisting their bows also made them turn their heads back and forth (likely shaking their heads in disapproval of you).
Strangely, yes. These obscure toys are incredibly rare. Loose, Sqwish Puppies can sell for around $30-$50, but we’ve seen a sealed one listed for $300 on eBay!
With everyone going hysterical for the Beanie Babies, a rip-off line of cuddly collectibles was inevitable. Released in 1997 with 13 original designs, the Puffkins had their own swing tag with a name, birthdate, and poem (sound familiar?)
These copycats didn’t last long and were retired in 2002. Strangely, they did get a comeback in 2007 (with largely the same designs, just updated). Unfortunately for these little puffballs, they never took off as the Beanie Babies did.
Despite basically being a failed clone of the Beanie Babies, some Puffkins are valuable today. As of writing, the rare Screech Ghost Puffkin released in 1999 has been listed for as much as $200 on eBay!
A truly forgotten 90s stuffed animal! IKEA is famous for its flat-pack furniture, but it also sells a whole lot more, including a variety of cuddly critters. In the 90s, one of the most popular members of IKEA’s animal kingdon was the mighty DJUNGELORM!
At over 8 feet long, this stuffed toy snake was a real monster. Its bright green coloring and zig-zagging patterning are instantly recognizable to kids who grew up with it.
Tragically, the noble DJUNGELORM is now a forgotten relic of toys past and incredibly rare to find. However, IKEA has kept the DJUNGELORM’s spirit alive with the DJUNGELSKOG, a realistic-looking Burmese python.
Even licensed stuffed animals can end up being forgotten! If you grew up in the 90s, chances are you had at least one Looney Tunes stuffed toy. Was it Tweety, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat? Whatever crazy cartoon character you cuddled up with, at least they were more docile as a stuffed toy form than they were on your TV screen.
Yep! Looney Tunes may not be as big as they used to be, but they’re still popular with kids and adults who remember growing up with them. Plenty of Looney Tunes merchandise, including stuffed animals, still gets released by Warner Bros.
Lee is curator of nostalgia and a long-time collector of loveable junk. An 80s baby, 90s kid, he knows he had it good when it came to Saturday morning cartoons. Spends his life trying to recapture the dopamine hit of playing Game Boy for the first time and believes Beanie Babies will make a fortuitous comeback. Obsessed with everything (and anything) retro, he is your trusted guide to a world of 90s toys, games and collectables.
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