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What Was It Like Growing Up in the 70s?

What was it like to grow up in the 70s? Well, it probably depends on who you ask and what you mean by “grow up,” but you can bet just about every answer will include generous helpings of Saturday morning cartoons, shag carpet, sunup-to-sundown adventures, and all sorts of crap that should have killed us.

Here are some reflections on what it was really like to grow up in the 1970s.

How Did Kids Play in the 1970s?

We played outside all the time. We pretended to be cowboys and Indians, spacemen and astronauts, baseball players or football field goal kickers as we ran around a dirt yard that was usually strewn with dog droppings (because pets weren’t allowed in the house), building forts out of sand boxes while wearing helmets made from recycled turtle shells.

We played “capture the flag” for three days straight until one side finally declared victory (or we simply got bored).

We played in streams and creeks that sometimes had alligators, snakes, or snapping turtles. We swam without wearing life jackets (because they didn’t exist) and would get told a million times to not go too far out because we could drown before anyone knew what was even wrong.

Kids these days can’t get enough of their video games — what will they do when the power goes out and the rain soaks their cell phone battery?

What Was School Like in the 1970s?

In school, we did math with paper and pencil — no calculators. We used rotary phones to call our friends or family members (and sometimes “invisible” ones because they were strictly forbidden). In yearbook photos, it was a big deal if you had your eyes closed because there were no redos.

One thing we didn’t do was type. We wrote our papers by hand and used the typewriter at school for grades or if you were writing a paper for an assignment.

The teacher had to keep one eye on every student because kids would talk in class, not pay attention, pass notes back and forth (which sometimes resulted in being sent to the principal’s office), or doodle (which was usually just as bad).

We had to memorize math facts for our multiplication and division tables. You couldn’t use a calculator when you took the SATs, so we practiced with flash cards instead. Teachers graded us on spelling tests by hand because they didn’t have spell-check back then.

How Did Kids Dress in the 1970s?

Kids dressed just like their parents. Most of the time they wore jeans, t-shirts or plaid shirts with tennis shoes. Kids didn’t wear much in terms of fashion because it was a little simpler back then. It wasn’t until later on that kids started wearing more clothes and had trends to follow like what clothing designer they liked best or which designer shoes they just *had* to have.

Fashion fads in the 1970s included bell-bottoms, which were pants that flared out at the bottom. They came in a variety of colors and styles — some had zippers or belts on them for extra flair!

Kids also wore disco shirts, which usually had funky patterns with bright colors like purple and orange mixed together. You could find these shirts at any department store from Sears to JC Penney’s.

What Was Music Like in the 1970s?

There was disco, which had a lot of different types of music in it like funk, soul, R & B, and rock and roll, all with a techno beat and vibe.

Disco clubs became mainstream and there was even talk of “disco demolition.” This meant that some cities would bulldoze their old buildings and build new disco clubs in their place.

This was a time when there were lots of long-haired rockers like Elton John, Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper, the Bay City Rollers — they looked like girls with their hair down to their waist! The Rolling Stones had been around since the 60s but seemed to fit in with the disco scene.

What Was TV Like in the 1970s?

There were the soaps, of course — Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and All My Children.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on PBS in the US from 1975-1979. It was a hilarious sketch comedy show that had some biting social commentary but also silly stuff like talking animals or people trying to break into Buckingham Palace by using a vacuum cleaner to suck the guards up.

The “Love Boat” aired from 1977-1986 and was one of my favorite shows as a child because I always felt like there were happy endings with glamorous people in exotic places.

In 1975, George Carlin hosted the first episode of Saturday Night Live on NBC. It became an instant hit and one of the most influential TV shows in history.

What Movies Were Popular in the 1970s?

Jaws, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars. The 70’s were a mixed bag of movies: some good and bad but iconic to this day. Jaws came out in 1975 and was such an enormous hit that it made more than $450 million dollars at the box office. It redefined the blockbuster and remains a measuring stick today.

What Were Parents Like in the 1970s?

A lot of parents were strict in the 1970s. But now, we’re more progressive and open to having discussions about everything on the internet — what it was like growing up in the 70s is just one tiny little thing that’s out there for everyone to see.

Some parents in the 1970s, though, were very strict (like I said). They didn’t allow their kids to have a lot of freedom, and they got into huge arguments about what was appropriate for children at that time.

Other parents had been hippies in the 60s, and they had a very different mindset. They wanted to be more open with their children because of what they went through in that decade before.

I’m not sure which group I fall into!

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