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Everyone Needs a POP-IT

My ten-year-old Grand sent a text message from his parent’s phone.  ‘Hi, Gran. Here’s what I’d like for my birthday,’ he wrote.  He shared a link for a Bubble Push Pop Tie-Dye Sensory Fidget Pop Toy and the picture showed a blue, white, and red circle.  It was advertised as a stress, anxiety, and tension reliever, great for anyone with autism, ADHD, ADD, and a gift idea for all ages.

            The price was $14.99.  (Is anyone fooled into thinking $14.00, not $15.00?)  It was five inches in diameter and had 28 bubbles. So, I thought, if my Grand thinks this toy is worth requesting for his birthday, then I’d get one for all our Grands to play with when they visit, and I can always use something to relieve stress and tension.  

             I ordered two.  One for the birthday boy.  One for me.  

            If you don’t know what a POP-IT is, then you probably haven’t been around a child recently. On a shopping trip to a toy store with two Grands, ages 6 and 8, we saw a POP-IT display that would fill a grocery store cereal aisle.  Every color and color combinations.  Every flat geometric shape and designs from apples to bears to rainbows to unicorns.  Priced from $3.00 – $25.00.  All small enough to fit kids’ hands.  

             According to Wikipedia, a POP-IT is a silicone-based tray of half-sphere bubbles that can be pushed in, thrilling kids with a resulting popping sound.  (I’d say entertaining, not thrilling.)  The pop is like a muffled bubble wrap pop, and after a bubble is pushed down, it can be pushed back up.  

            So, what do you do with a POP-IT?  “Pop it,” said my young Grands. Is that really fun? It is if you race someone to see who pops faster.  Or if you create a design by popping a few bubbles.  Or if you pop only the ones around the circumference or every other bubble.  Or just want to keep your hands moving.

            As an elementary school teacher, I knew students who picked their fingernails or twisted a strand of hair around their fingers or tapped pencils on their desks.  They fidgeted.  Some students kept a piece of fabric to rub or a rubber ball to squeeze inside their desks.  All these kids would’ve liked a POP-IT.

            When I rode in a car for 1½ hours with three young Grands, I was glad they had POP-ITS.  They sat still and were calm as their fingers moved constantly, but there were a couple of arguments about who popped faster. 

            While I wrote this column, I picked up my POP-IT several times. I looked out the window at green treetops, collected my thoughts, popped some bubbles, and put my fingers back on the keyboard.              A POP-IT a simple toy – I wish I’d thought of it – and will soon be replaced by another got-to-have-it toy.  Then, you can ask your favorite kid for the one he discards.  It’ll keep your hands busy and might relieve tension and stress.

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