If you have kids or TikTok, you know Pop It! Yes, the trademarked name ends in an exclamation point, so I hope you like the punctuation!
This toy is an endless foam package in a molded tray. Once you pop one side, flip it and pop the other. There are many imitations, such as unicorns, rainbows and neglect of duty. You’ll throw it across the room, but it always comes back. You can’t! Stop it! Bang!
I found this out on a recent beach vacation with my kids. By the end of the trip, I had lost control and was slowly falling apart like Lady Macbeth. When we got home, our “friend” had sent us a set in the mail. Ha ha! Ha! Ha!
These are the toys of the summer, the new fidget spinner, the slap bracelet, the Rubik’s cube. They are simple and powerful. Some experts say sensory toys help calm and focus the mind.
Mickey Howard of Dunedin learned about it when her 17-year-old and 11-year-old grandchildren visited from St. Louis. One has autism and the other has post-traumatic stress tension syndrome, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and sensory issues.
At the Florida Aquarium, her granddaughter was captivated by a pile of bubble toys. The girl thought it would be as soothing as rubbing her two-way sequin pillow. This girl takes her new green turtle popcorn with her everywhere she goes, drives, eats and even goes to bed to “sleep.”
Howard said: “I think they’re an amazing little invention.”
How did we get to that constant bang? To get the whole picture, listen to the Power Kid Podcast where host Phil Albritton interviews David Capon, President of FoxMind Games, and I’ll sum it up.
It all started with Theo and Ola Kost, a married couple who invented many games, including Guess Who? Theo, a Holocaust survivor and classmate of Anne Frank, later went to Tel Aviv, where he met Ola. One night, when her sister dies of breast cancer, Ola has a dream full of bubbles. She tells Theo that it’s time to make a bubble toy.
It was 1975, and they had been trying to sell the prototype triangle for 30 years. FoxMind acquired it in 2009 and started producing iterations. Ten years later, the company and partner Buffalo Toys got an exclusive deal to popularize it with the name Target! They also produce various forms of umbrella-branded Go PoP games! Follow?
Enter TikTok, the toymaker that started reaching out to influencers. With the help of epidemic boredom and viral videos, “we started seeing all hell break loose,” Capone said on the podcast. “It was really a nuclear reaction.”
If you dare, go to TikTok right now and search for #popit. These clips exist in the best place of entertainment and comfort, mixed with a little bit of ASMR —- This is ASMR, another internet detour if you have 6 hours of free time. People glue marbles in holes to create patterns. Lately, they’ve been making sugar cubes in the grass.
This frenzy has spawned a string of fraudulent practices that the company is trying to combat. Capone says in the podcast that understanding the original story is important to making ethical buying decisions. I felt bad staring at the little Yoda spring toy on the table, most likely a knock-off.
How did I deal with the guilt? The mechanical dance, of course. I think one of the best things about this toy is that it lets you sit alone with your feelings. Of course, you can play with other people. An earlier version, Last One Lost, involved two players bursting as many bubbles as they wanted in a row. The last person to jump loses.
But honestly, it’s much more satisfying to replay those awkward things you said at the post-vaccination party, where you stare blankly into the middle distance and then suddenly jump into infinite space. It makes it feel productive. It makes it feel therapeutic. It feels ….