The Quick Report

30 Things Only 70s Kids Will Remember

The 70s were one groovy decade, but kids who were born in later decades won’t realize just how unique they were. From shag carpets to pet rocks, here’s all the far-out things that only 70s kids will remember about the decade that brought us unique fashion, great tunes, and some of the best movies ever.

Shag Carpet

clear drinking glass on clear glass table
Photo by Lexie Barnhorn via Unsplash

In the modern era, most people have realized that carpet is awful and ripped out all the terrible cloth from their floors, leaving the beautiful original hardwood behind. But in the 70s, everyone was crazy about thick, plush shag carpet.

Macrame Décor

a necklace with a wooden ring hanging from it
Photo by rocknwool via Unsplash

When you think “1970s interior design,” that weird décor your brain is putting into the mental margins of that shag-carpeted room you’re imagining is called macrame (pronounced mah-cra-may). Yes, these were everywhere, and, yes, every 70s mom loved this stuff.

Using 8-Tracks

a stack of cassettes sitting on top of a table
Photo by Matt Benson via Unsplash

An 8-track was the only way to playback recorded music in your car in the 70s, but people universally disliked the things. They were complicated and fiddly, using four “programs” and requiring a decent amount of attention to toggle through if you want to hear different tunes.

Metal Cars

a car parked in a parking lot next to a building
Photo by Simi Weisner via Unsplash

You might be thinking “well hey, cars today are made of metal, right?” Kind of. Modern cars are made from fiberglass and other lightweight, safety-tested materials. In the 70s, cars were exceptionally heavy and made of extremely durable metal. If you got into a car accident, the car would be fine, but you would be pretty banged up.


Image via Openverse

Waterbeds were everywhere in the 70s. On the surface, a waterbed sounds like a great idea. It’s so wiggly and fun! But the trouble with owning them is that they require a lot of maintenance, they’re tremendously heavy, and if they fail they spill water all over your bedroom.  

Absurd Appliance Colors

orange plastic cup beside black and gray radio
Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz via Unsplash

For reasons that few people even understood back then, in the 70s you’d get a pink refrigerator, a beige couch, and a bright blue radio. That actually looked cool at the time! It might seem like an eyesore by modern standards, but people ate it up back then.

Buying Records

black vinyl record on black vinyl record
Photo by Eric Krull via Unsplash

Kids today don’t realize just how tactile buying music was before the age of streaming. There was a point in time when you had to go a record store and buy a vinyl disc that played the music of your favorite band. Holding a record, reading the liner notes, and admiring the art on it was as big a part of being a fan of a band as listening to their music was.

Sesame Street

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Of course, any kid born in the past half-century has grown up with Elmo and his friends teaching them how to read. But the newness of Sesame Street in the 70s made it something every 70s kid remembers as a major touchstone. The celebrity cameos meant that even older siblings and parents were tuning in!

Tie-Dye Everything

yellow purple and blue textile
Photo by Alexander Grey via Unsplash

Tie-dying existed before the 70s, but the style really took on a life of its own in this decade. Everyone wanted to tie-dye everything from flags to shirts, and you couldn’t walk twenty feet in a city without seeing at least one person sporting this colorful design.

Lead Paint

four orange, green, blue, and red paint rollers
Photo by David Pisnoy via Unsplash

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows in the 70s. This was the last decade when houses were being outfitted with lead paint. Moreover, gasoline still had lead in it until 1975. Let that sink in: kids were inhaling lead fumes from the road and munching on lead paint chips as recently as fifty years ago.

Atari Games

Image via Openverse

Most people think of video games becoming popular as a mid-80s thing, and, to an extent, that’s very true. However, kids in the 70s adored a few Atari games, like Pong and Pac-Man. The simplistic graphics and straightforward gameplay might not be impressive today, but it was revolutionary in the 70s.

Mood Rings

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Mood rings were the coolest new toy in the 70s. While they were essentially useless for actually reading your mood, a very successful marketing campaign convinced a bunch of 70s kids that these color-shifting rocks would showcase their mood to their friends better than their own expressions or words would.

Fear of Sharks

black shark underwater photo
Photo by Gerald Schömbs via Unsplash

Jaws kind of rewired everyone’s brains in the 70s to suddenly become terrified of swimming in the ocean. While shark attacks are vanishingly rare, a huge contingent of kids developed serious thalassophobia after watching Spielberg’s watery horror flick.


an old sign on the side of a building
Photo by Ronnie George via Unsplash

All together now: it’s fun to stay at the… you get the idea. The Village People’s athletic anthem bizarrely sang the praises of a local recreational center for reasons that kids at the time might have been too young to understand. The song still rules, though.

The Hustle

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Photo by Mitchell Orr via Unsplash

Speaking of hit songs that came pre-packaged with goofy dances, the Hustle was the Electric Slide of the 70s. If you’re too young to know the Electric Slide, it’s basically the Cupid Shuffle. If you’re too young to know the Cupid Shuffle, it’s basically… well, you get the idea.

Rock Being Cool

man in black suit playing brown electric guitar
Photo by andre mosele via Unsplash

This one might sound hard to believe, but rock music used to be considered cool. Not like “what a neat old-fashioned way to make music” like it is in some circles today, but genuinely exciting, innovative, and cool. Hearing a new band like Led Zeppelin or Electric Light Orchestra could be a truly life-changing event back then.

Saturday Night Live was Funny

white and blue labeled box
Photo by Asit Khanda via Unsplash

With no offense intended for the fine actors and writers currently working on SNL, the show was downright hilarious in the 70s. Perhaps these bits haven’t aged perfectly, but the show was well-regarded as a premium source of televised comedy back then.


silver mirror ball
Photo by Honey Fangs via Unsplash

Disco was phenomenally popular in the 70s. The sequined outfits, glittering decorations, and Zodiac-sign medallions now visually define the entire decade, with four-on-the-floor beats and syncopated basslines dominating radio airwaves until the late 70s. While the trend cratered in popularity in the 80s, the music still lives on.

Tube Socks

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Tube socks are still around today, but they really hit their stride in the 70s. The image the entire student body in gym class wearing tube socks up to their knees is still fresh in a lot of 70s kids’ minds.

The Hair

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Three words can call the images of 70s hairstyles to mind for an entire generation: Farrah Fawcett Hair. The flowy, feathered hairstyle was the coolest thing in the world for every woman in the 70s, and many hairdressers made their living on giving their clients this iconic blowout.

Star Wars Blowing Everyone’s Mind

brown wooden bench near gray rock formation under white clouds and blue sky during daytime
Photo by Carol Kennedy via Unsplash

Everyone loves Star Wars now and everyone loved the first one back in 1977. The movie did things with visual effects that absolutely blew people’s minds. It’s impossible to overstate how much of a cultural juggernaut the film was in the late 70s. And yes, everyone owned the action figures back then, too.

Roller Rinks

people walking inside a building
Photo by Lukas Schroeder via Unsplash

Sure, you might go to the skating rink every now and then these days, but you can’t imagine how popular the scene was in the 70s. Roller discos were tremendously trendy in the 70s, with disco fanatics zooming around the rink, dancing and rolling all at the same time.

Tupperware Parties

white plastic food container on white table
Photo by Kate Trifo via Unsplash

This one might be hard to believe, but people used to sell Tupperware in the 70s like it was Mary Kay. The idea of being able to lock in freshness with a reusable plastic container was new in this decade, so keeping leftovers in the fridge was quite novel.

Tiger Beat

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If you weren’t a kid in the 70s, you probably don’t even know what “Tiger Beat” means. The outlandishly popular magazine was the one subscription every 70s kid needed. If you wanted posters of your favorite heartthrobs, you were getting Tiger Beat in the mailbox every month.

Off the Air

black crt tv turned on on white table
Photo by Bruna Araujo via Unsplash

At one point in time, you could actually watch a TV channel long enough to see it go off the air. Since people had to actually program the broadcast from a live station somewhere, and those people wanted to go to bed eventually, stations would just turn off at night. Of course, these days, younger people don’t even watch TV anymore, they just stream movies and TV shows.

Rotary Phones

person holding black rotary telephone
Photo by Wesley Hilario via Unsplash

Believe it or not, phones actually did have rotary dials on them in years gone by. That’s why people say they’re “dialing” a number! What’s more, these types of phones “hung” from a “hook,” hence the phrases “hanging up” and “ringing off the hook.” Clunky rotary interfaces went out of fashion quickly in the 80s as keypad-style number entries became more commonplace.

Writing Letters to Pen Pals

Suomi postage stamp
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In an era before the internet and cell phones, the best way to keep up with your friends in distant cities was to write them letters. As such, many 70s kids had pen pals—friends who had moved away, buddies they met in a pen pal program, you name it.

Needing to See Movies in Theaters

group of people staring at monitor inside room
Photo by Jake Hills via Unsplash

If you missed a movie during its first run at the theater, you would need to wait for it to hit second run showings or midnight movie circuits to see it again. There was no such thing as home media for films unless you were a huge enthusiast with your own projector.

Read More: 10 Things Kids Don’t Have at School Anymore

Your Friends Couldn’t Record You

white and gray control panel
Photo by TheRegisti via Unsplash

These days, people out on the town get recorded and uploaded to the internet by their own friends. Kids who were acting out in the 70s were lucky because their buddies didn’t all have advanced recording equipment just sitting in their pockets!

Read More: 20 Things Only 90s Kids Will Ever Understand

Pet Rock

Image via Openverse

Imagine the kind of marketing genius who figured out that you can call a rock a “pet” and sell it to credulous kids for four bucks. And that was four bucks in the 70s, so that wasn’t just pocket change! You could get lunch for four bucks back then!

Read More: 30 Things Only 80s Kids Will Remember