There was a time when our lives revolved around eating, playing, sleeping (and occasionally studying) without a care in the world. Our childhood may be long gone, but we can still bring back fond memories with some of the childhood snacks and games that we grew up with – maybe even introduce them to the next generation!
How many of the following old school snacks and toys do you remember?
1 Iced Gem Biscuit
This must be one of the most iconic snacks of our childhood. Sweet, colourful, it has almost reached pop culture status, inspiring fashion, stationery designs, and even home living ideas! Were you one of those who just bit off the brightly-hued icing top and rejected the plain biscuit at the bottom?
2 White Rabbit Candy
Another childhood snack to have transcended the food category to star in fashion accessories and home decor is the White Rabbit candy. Milky and sweet, wrapped in a transparent piece of edible “paper”, it was the ubiquitous treat in every child’s pocket.
One of the joys of opening a packet of this chicken-flavoured corn childhood snack was finding a toy inside – an ingenious marketing strategy that had kids saving up their pocket money for their next packet. A shout-out also goes to another favourite childhood snack, Chickadees!
Remember the mint with the hole? POLO was probably the first breath mint that local children tasted back then – although no one ever took it for that purpose. The fun was in keeping the ring intact for as long as possible in the mouth. Whoever’s broke first lost.
5 Bee Bee
Bee Bee was a popular childhood snack during recess, probably because it was pocket-friendly – price-wise as well as size-wise.
6 Muruku Ikan
Like Bee Bee, this childhood snack was sold in small, square packets. Up till this day, its signature red and white packaging featuring a diaper-clad baby has remained largely unchanged.
7 Haw Flakes
We ate them while watching television, as a treat after completing our homework, and shared them with our siblings and friends. These little discs of hawthorn candy are an unforgettable part of our childhood, and the source of many sweet (literally) memories.
8 Mamee Mee
Crush, crush, crush! Pour in the super salty MSG. Shake, shake, shake. Crunch, crunch, crunch! Is this how you used to enjoy your pack of crispy noodles?
9 Satay Fish Sticks
It was a pleasure to bite onto these roundish pieces of salty, sweet, slightly spicy goodness, and yank them off the satay stick. Shiok!
These old school sweets were a common sight in many households. The black HACKS, with its intense spicy-cool flavour, was usually taken by adults as a remedy for coughs. Us kids were happy to be sucking on the milder orange and blackcurrant ones.
11 Super Lemon
A novelty at that time, Super Lemon was a great trick candy. Offer one to your friend and wait for him or her to wince from the initial super sourness!
12 Dried Fig (Wu Hua Guo)
Hands up those who remember this childhood snack! Its mix of sweet, salty and sour was somehow rather addictive.
13 Apollo Chocolate Wafer
The Apollo chocolate wafer was a popular choice of kids back then. Who wouldn’t love a sweet crunchy treat like it?
Childhood Games And Toys
14 Blowing Plastic Bubbles
Oh, the fun we had blowing bubbles of all shapes and sizes out of a tiny straw with a glob of viscous “plastic” attached to its end! And whenever a bubble started shrinking, we would quickly get to work, looking for the hole and pinching around it to close it up.
15 Bubble Gum Tattoo
We weren’t sure if this should be in the ‘childhood snacks’ or ‘childhood games’ category. Chewing on the gum was nice, but what made this sweet treat memorable was the temporary tattoo on the back of its wrapper. By just applying water, we could transfer the pattern onto ourselves! Those were the days when we could still buy bubble gum in Singapore!
16 Styrofoam Glider Plane
Unlike the children of today, who are plied with complex toys that beep, sing or even activate upon sensing movement, we were happy with simple childhood toys. This DIY plane is made up of just a few pieces of styrofoam and a small plastic propeller, but it glides beautifully across varying distances, depending on the skill of the “pilot”.
17 Sticky Man
Gravity plus sticky limbs – that’s the science to getting Sticky Man to climb down walls. It was always exciting to challenge each other to see who could get their sticky men to descend faster.
18 Five Stones
This childhood game needs no introduction. It was a perennial favourite during the recess break. Were you good at it?
19 Paper Dolls
Barbie dolls were expensive (they still are), so paper dolls with different sets of clothes that could be “worn” had to do. We weren’t less happy playing with these.
20 Country Erasers
Some kids liked to “conquer” by flipping their country erasers over their opponents’. Others were just interested in collecting the different nations represented. Country erasers were a world of fun!
Not every child knew how to play the ‘Gor Li’ game, but almost everyone had a marble collection because these glass balls were just too colourful to resist!
22 Water Ring Toss Game
This was as close to PSP or Nintendo Switch as we got back then. We would be frantically pressing the buttons to push the rings towards the pegs, only to have everything float out of place when we were nearing success. That would probably be considered resilience training in today’s world!