Back in the day, everything was different. The tooth fairy would visit now and then, brown cows would make chocolate milk, and you could grow a watermelon in your stomach if you swallowed a seed. But fast forward to today and the things that looked totally normal for you as a child, are, let’s put it this way—plain weird.
So when one redditor posed the question: “What things did you do as a kid that you now realize is extremely weird?” on r/AskReddit, 21K comments flooded in. From eating rose petals to trying not to breathe in too much ‘cause the air is full of germs, these are some of the craziest things we did because, I mean, we had to.
After you’re back from this memory lane down below, be sure to check out our previous post on things people considered normal while growing up that now look kinda weird. Life has happened to all of us, but that sheer ridiculousness from our childish selves is still lingering.
When I was in fourth grade (so around 9 or 10) at a private school, we used pinto beans as counters during math. Well, one day someone realized if you put a bean in water, it would sprout, and it became incredibly fashionable to keep a couple living bean sprouts hidden in your desk at all times.
This turned into a whole industry. Sneaking to the cabinet in the back and stealing the beans was risky, so people took on those roles. The beans were old, so getting them to actually sprout was valuable. Others would sneak the sprouts in and out of class to get sun.
A boy's grandparents had bought him a science experiment kit that came with hundreds of these little plastic vials that stood up on their own. They were the perfect size for keeping a sprouted pinto bean, so he started trading them. Another two kids had water bottles with a straw that fit neatly into the vials and made it easy to water the sprouts. They turned it into a service.
One pretty talented group of girls started making houses out of paper and cardboard for the sprouts to "live" in. This allowed bean "families" to become a thing. Another girl realized that the houses meant there was a market for bean sprout furniture. Kids starting pulling textbooks out of their desks and stashing them around the classroom to make space for larger and larger houses.
The houses were a turning point, because they ran anywhere from $5 to $10, which was the first time anyone had charged real money for something instead of bartering. In addition, demand for sprouts went through the roof, since you could fit 4 or 5 in a house. The kid who had been successfully sprouting the beans is under immense pressure to produce, and we've crossed a threshold so people are willing to pay real money now.
Into this high-pressure situation walks my classmate Julia. Julia brings a tiny bottle of purple liquid one day and tells bean-sprouter kid that it's the diluted slime of an extremely rare snail from the forests up north that she collected herself while camping with her family. It's such a strong fertilizer, even diluted, that one drop in each vial will guarantee that a bean will sprout; in addition, a drop to each already-sprouted bean will ensure a nice, green plant. There's enough for around 50 sprouts in there, but it's going to cost him $20 for the whole bottle.
Well, if you're selling the sprouts at $1 each, $20 is a steal. So the kid comes back the next day with the cash, Julia gives him the fertilizer, and he puts a drop in each vial just before we leave to go home.
The next day, all his bean sprouts are dead, and he's pissed. Turns out the fertilizer was just Julia's mom's perfume, and it killed all the plants. Well, bean-sprouter kid is not the kind of person to take this laying down, so he goes to the teacher to tell her that he got conned.
And the whole thing unravels. The teacher is upset that her students have been devoting hours of in-class time to beans. Parents are upset that money they thought was for snacks or field trips was for beans. The principal has to announce to the whole school that growing plants in your desk is now banned, which just confuses everyone else. And my class is angry at poor bean-sprouting kid for snitching and ruining everything. All their hard work is now in the trash.
The bean sprout industry never recovered.
My cousins lived across the street from a huge cemetery. I was the second to youngest of all my cousins so while they did older kid things, I would hang out, play and explore in the cemetery by myself. I noticed that after a funeral, the newly buried graves would have mounds of flowers kind of haphazardly placed on top and around them. For some reason, I felt bad for the graves that didn’t have flowers because that meant no one was visiting them. So I made it my goal to distribute the flowers to as many graves as my little self could manage...sometimes placing just one or two in the little headstone vases. I hope it gave me good ghost karma, if there is such a thing.
Several friends and myself had a fascination with writing in code. We had little pocket notebooks full of codes and deciphering instructions (also in code) and would write volumes of notes between us in code. Notebooks got confiscated by a teacher, we wouldn't tell her how to decode, she tried to get us in trouble. Parents thought it was hilarious. I'm almost 60 and I still have one of these notebooks around somewhere.
Bored Panda reached out to Sarah Ockwell-Smith, a parenting expert and author of “The Gentle Parenting Book” to find out more about the curious minds of children that we all seem to have had up until some point. We asked Sarah how it is so that we believed the most incredible stuff and at what point it disappeared.
Sarah explained that at around two and three years of age, the child enters a normal stage of development that psychologists call "magical thinking."
“During this period, children are particularly imaginative, believing in mythical creatures, and they also believe that they can influence the world around them with certain beliefs and actions.” Like, “if they jump up and down ten times, they may be able to make fairies appear.”
Between the ages of 5 and 7, I was a really big fan of nature documentaries, especially those narrated by David Attenborough. There was a big flamboyant tree in our garden that shed lots of twigs. I imagined those twigs were snakes and would spend hours every day narrating documentaries about them in David Attenborough's voice. Each "snake" had a different scientific name I would give them and they had very specific hunting tactics and courtship displays and territorial fights.
I used to stand naked in my bedroom window and try to stay as still as possible so the neighbours would think my parents had had a statue made of me.
I would stand in different poses, too, so they'd think there were multiple Dendronate statues which my parents would rotate around the house.
The way I saw it, only important people had statues built of them. I wanted the neighbours to know they lived near a pretty important guy.
When I was a kid, in the 80's, I had very strict teachers. Any form of back-talking or, god forbid, swearing, would get you a quick slap and a fast march to the head teacher's office to explain yourself.
My teacher once sat me down for "A talk", as happened fairly often, which was basically her just berating me. In the middle of this she suddenly stopped and told me I needed to keep my eyes under control, because I had this terrible nervous habit of twitching my eyes when she was talking to me.
In actual fact, I was tracing out imaginary swear words with my eyes. Basically, drawing out things like "PISS OFF" and "SHUT UP", tracing the letters with my eyes as if they were right in front of her face.
I didn't realize she could see my eye movements - I mean, I don't know why, as an adult it's obvious that my eyes were darting all over the place and looking crazy, but child me thought that it was subtle enough that it was unnoticeable, and that I was being super sneaky.
As soon as I realized she could see it, I stopped, but looking back, probably the funniest part to me now is how much it must have unnerved her. And she never did know the reason for it. To her, I must've just been the weird kid with the crazy eyes.
At this point, kids often have imaginary friends too, which is again “a completely normal phase of child development.” Sarah said it’s caused by immature brain development and concrete knowledge of the world around them. Adults may also encourage this thinking with books, films, shows, toys, and even actions. “Like pretending to be the Tooth Fairy, Santa, or the Easter Bunny. So a lot of it is actually just learned behavior,” Sarah explained.
A big change in children’s development happens as they approach the "concrete operational stage" at around seven or eight years. “At this age, brain development has taken a big leap and children are much more experienced at logical and hypothetical thinking.” Sarah said that this is when they are able to work out that unicorns and Santa don’t exist as their knowledge and experience is way more matured.
I once wandered out of the open back door in the townhouse we lived in when I was 5. Found the biggest pit bull I could and made friends with it.
Unfortunately, when my dad came to collect me, the dog was not so happy about it. Said the dog chased him away and he had to talk me into coming home from a distance lol.
He still swears to this day I have magical animal powers.
I used to eat tissues as a kid. My mum found out one day and yelled at me to stop, (as any sane parent would do) so I started eating them in secret. Sneaking away with a tissue box to another room to eat a tissue or two.
Until one day when I was about 5 years old I had to go to the hospital. I had no idea what was going on all I knew was that I had trouble breathing through my nose. Before my operation I was in the hospital and I overheard one of the nurses say that they just needed to remove the excess tissue in my nose. Naturally I thought that the tissues I had eaten had started getting clogged up in my nose and I never ate a tissue again. I made the realisation at 14 that it was muscle tissue in my nose and not the actual tissues I was eating.
I would add several drops of Tabasco to my unsweetened iced tea. I called it Asian tea despite knowing Tabasco and Lipton were in no way Asian. I also didn't like it very much but made myself drink it so that I could understand the Asian community better.
Asian friends I have now are still baffled at the connection I tried to make.
After it, the "tween years" follow at age eight to thirteen. It’s these that are full of skepticism. “Parents can often struggle with this and try to cling onto the magical world of their child's early years for too long,” Sarah said. However, the best response is always to be led by the child. “This stage is important for children, though, as they transition from childhood to adulthood.” Life happens and this is how they become grumpy realists like me and you.
Found a cat skull buried in the garden, pulled the teeth out and put them under my pillow for what i thought would be easy money
I would give myself a limit of three repeats when listening to a favorite song on a CD. I was convinced the artist was literally in the studio singing the song over-and-over again and would get sick of me. Didn’t wanna piss ‘em off.
Purple was my favorite color but I didn't like the word so I called it murdalop.
I used to run a “purified dust” cartel. My school had a sandbox area with eucalyptus trees, and I’d assign workers to throw sand over the trees so that the larger pieces would get filtered out by the bark. The remaining powder was labeled “purified dust.” Surprisingly, a huge number of kids were interested in buying our purified dust. Our currency was plastic BB gun pellets, and a pinch of dust was worth 5 pink pellets. Different colored pellets had different values, and freshly made dust cost more than old dust.
There were even different “companies” of people creating purified dust at different trees. We’d devise plans to sabotage each other so that our own company could earn more profit. We were basically 6-year old a**holes running a fake cocaine business. Weird times.
I would sometimes think of myself in the future, thinking back at that past self thinking at the future. As a way of communicating with myself outside space and time. Sounds really silly.
I'll give an example: sometime in middle school, when I was having a big math test, during the test I stopped solving it and started thinking of future me and told myself "Hello"
Then sometime in high-school I remembered that, and said hello back to my younger self.
:)) I don't know what was that about, it kept ongoing for a few good years, don't do it anymore
When I was four or so, we lived in a flat in the USA that had this massive concrete structure behind it. I've no idea what it was, but at the bottom of it was at least a foot of dank water, trees, etc. I was convinced it was a swimming pool, and begged my mum to let me swim in it. "No, absolutely not," she said. "It's full of snapping turtles, and they will snap off your fingers." I also wanted to eat all these berries that were on local bushes. "No, absolutely not. Those are poisonous. They'll make you very sick and then dead."
Clever me, I put the two ideas together and thus spent that summer throwing poison berries into the swamp structure in order to kill all the turtles. Four years old, stuck on murder mode for three months.
I would go out to my local cemetery and talk to dead people. I would find someone whose anniversary it was, either birth ar death, and just wish them well. I don't think it's weird now, I still do it, but I definitely thought it was weird at the time.
When I was in elementary school I would use one hand to cover my butt when I showered because I was afraid that a monster would warp through the bathroom wall and attack my butthole
Every time I ever turned a full circle for any reason I would always turn a full circle the other way as well to make sure that it was "balanced" because I didn't want to turn one way more than the other.
Whenever I got new shoes, I would hold the old shoes up to my face, breath in and then breath on the new shoes. I would then say, “transfer of souls complete.”
I used to waste a ton of water by turning on the shower and lay on the floor next to it with a towel over my body and fall asleep with a tiny bit of water splashing on my face. I used to imagine I was in a cave and it was raining outside for some reason. ah good times
I used to have “science experiments” in the bathroom sink. Meaning, I’d go the bathroom and lock the door. Once in I’d make sure the sink drain was shut and then proceed to add every cleaner/ chemical/ shampoo etc under the sink to the sink in hopes of a reaction. Never got one, but it also never stopped me from trying. In hindsight I probably could have killed myself if I had mixed the wrong stuff. I obviously didn’t.
I (a girl) used to sit back to front on the toilet to pee. My reasoning was that that way it sounded like my dad peeing and then the monsters wouldn't try to grab me. Childhood anxiety is wild!
I used to think that we were all characters in a book that someone was reading right now, and that’s why we were moving, eating and talking...etc, and that when we go to sleep at night it means that that person closed the book.
I also used to think that all days in each week had different and new names. I’d always say that “I only know Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. But I don’t know what comes after that.”
I would walk out the bathroom after taking a poop and spread my butt cheeks to whoever was in the living room and ask, "Is my butt clean?". One time it was the guy cleaning our carpet.
A few years ago, I was visiting my aunt and uncle, and they had some old film from the '80s of my extended family on a camping trip. There was a full playset there including a trampoline, and my mother was filming my cousins and I playing. I'm not sure why my aunt and uncle had the tape instead of my mother, but whatever.
I was about 3 at the time, and my mother panned the camera away from my cousins playing on a swing set towards me on the trampoline. Except I was lying face down on the trampoline, full-on thrusting my hips into it as hard as I could.
Now, I don't specifically remember doing that, but I have a pretty good idea of how my little mind worked at the time. I'm certain that I was just trying to see if I could build up enough force to lift myself off the trampoline mat, or flip myself over. Still, not exactly the best thing to be watching with your aunt and uncle, who threatened to save it and show at my wedding.
Jokes on them; I pocketed the tape when they weren't looking.
I used to eat cat food because I thought I would become a cat if I did that
Saying some gibberish all the time and thinking that it is probably meaningful in some languages. I felt smart as hell
Running any lollipop or sucker I ate under the faucet water after every lick because somehow it tasted better after being rinsed lol
When I was around 8 years old, I liked the way clean towels tasted. Something I really enjoyed was putting a towel over a straw, and drinking kool-aid through it.
My mother wasn't a fan of having white towels covered with red spots, so she put a stop to it pretty quick
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