Welcome to Toy Land
One Hit Wonders
We’ve all seen it happen: A new toy hits the market and becomes an instant hit, with people competing for a chance to buy one and kids sneaking them into school (when school was in-person, of course). Then suddenly they’re forgotten again. What are some of the most notorious toy “fads” that have come and gone? And what happens when a toy hits it big—then disappears?
what you’ll need
Ask About Today
If you could own just one of the toys profiled in this Camp Kinda adventure, which one would it be and why?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Cabbage Patch Mania
Six years after they were originally invented, Cabbage Patch Kids rocketed to worldwide popularity in 1983, leading some stores to call in the police to restore order. Each doll had a unique look and name—they even came with a “birth certificate”! For three years, they were the bestselling toy in America. Check out this news footage.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
A Slap on the Wrist
Kids loved them—parents and teachers did not! They were “slap bracelets,” and in 1990, these thin, fabric-covered stainless steel bands were everywhere. They were so cool! But they kinda hurt, too, when a flat bracelet was smacked against an arm. Ouch! Who wants that? Just as quickly as they swept the country, slap bracelets virtually disappeared. Read all about them.
Light Up Your Life
In 1967, the toy company Hasbro introduced Lite Brite, a light box that allowed kids to create illuminated pictures with colored plastic pegs. The possibilities were endless! Lite Brite was known for having memorable television commercials. Click here to watch one of the earliest ones, from 1972.
POG was a popular brand of Hawaiian juice made from passionfruit, orange, and guava. However, in 1990, the caps from POG bottles fueled a worldwide toy fad and game. Almost overnight, there were pogs for every interest and occasion. Before long, schools began banning them. Watch this news story from 1994 to learn how the game was played.
Full of Beans
In the mid-1990s, a line of small stuffed animals called Beanie Babies became so popular that some collectors spent thousands of dollars on just one of them! That’s a pretty high price for an item cost less than $5 to make. Collectors advertised their Beanie Babies on a brand new invention called… The Internet. But popularity didn’t last. It’s quite a story.
A Fidget-y Fad
Not long ago, fidget spinners were everywhere! Now? Not so much. Let's take a spin through this particular toy craze.
Be a Toy Trendsetter
It’s time to invent your own one hit wonder toy—something that will be instantly popular. Based on what you have learned about toy crazes of the past, it should be a snap!
- What will your toy be called?
- What will your toy do or how will it be used?
- Draw and color a picture of your toy.
- How much will your toy cost?
- Why will kids beg their parents to buy your toy?
When you are done, present your idea to an adult in your house. What do they think of it?
Share your work! We'd love to see it. Ask a parent to email a photo or video to us or share it on Instagram or Twitter by tagging @KindaGuide.
Organize a Toy Donation Drive
Go through all of the toys in your house. Could any of them be shared with kids whose families can’t buy new toys this year? If so, collect them and work with your parent or caregiver to identify a local charity that is doing a toy drive for this holiday season. Just imagine how much of a difference you can make. Need ideas on how to donate today? Here is a list!