Guest Poster today is the knowledgeable Lisa at What2Buy4Kids who has written a great intro of her own so I will hand you straight over to her:
I’m Lisa, the Toy Hunter. I love crafting, cooking and gardening with kids and I am a firm believer in learning through play. I used to be a primary school teacher, I’m a mum of 3 and I own and manage what2buy4kids. I am always on the look-out for great quality and unique toys, gifts, crafts and activities that will educate and delight children.
Today’s kids may think fidget spinners are the only things to ever have made a splash on the playground, but there are many other kid-led fads that made kids crazy over the last 60 or 70 years. Playgrounds are the birthplace of crazes because every child wants to get their hands on the latest small, affordable, tradable or collectable item that can be shared with friends. Add to the mix that these kinds of toys often get banned by schools, and it becomes a must-have item!
We’ve compiled a list of 5 playground crazes that have impacted kids through the generations. Of course, there were others, but these are the kid-led fads that stick out when remembering playground fun over the years. It can be nostalgic to remember top toys of our past, but when thinking about playground crazes, spare a thought for the poor teachers who had to deal with them in the classrooms!
This is where playground crazes first began. Marbles can be traced back to the 1500’s but were popular in the playground in the 1950’s and 60’s when kids collected or played competitively with marbles made of glass, china or metal. Marbles with coloured centres were valuable and kids would search for the most rare and beautiful marble to add to their collection.
Most children of the 1960’s had 10 criss-cross metal shapes and a small rubber ball in their pockets, ready to whip out for a quick game of Jacks at a moment’s notice. Jacks was played with at least 2 children, but more players made for more fun. Words like “onesies, twosies and threesies” became part of kids’ vocabulary as the popularity of the game soared. Jacks are still around, and kids today would be impressed with the skill needed to pick up all the jacks in one go.
3. Cat’s Cradle
If they didn’t have Jacks, then 1960’s children probably had a Cat’s Cradle in their pocket. This was a huge playground craze because all that kids needed was a simple 1 metre loop of string or yarn to play. The more hands to play Cat’s Cradle the better, because the most intricate designs and games came from groups of Cat’s Cradle-playing kids.
The 1990’s biggest playground craze was these small key-ring sized virtual pets, manufactured in Japan. Kids’ lives were taken over by these little beeping plastic toys with basic graphics on a small screen. Tamagotchis were needy and kids had to press buttons to care for their pets to make sure they didn’t die. Their incessant beeping and kids’ obsession with them meant that they were soon banned from classrooms. Mothers up and down the country had to tend to them at home, ensuring that the Tamagotchi didn’t die before the kids got home from school! Annoying as they were, they were ground-breaking toys because they inspired a generation of gaming and electronic toys.
5. Fidget Spinners
We had to end the list with these – the latest craze to hit the playground to date!!! The 3-sided aerodynamic ball-bearing spinning gadgets, which are cheap, easy to use and a fun fiddle toy (they’re also a tool used by professionals who work with kids with ADHD or autism.) These must-have items were the talk of the playground during the month of May and part of every child of this generation’s life. At the time, and during the peak, their popularity made them hard to find, and therefore all the more desirable. So just how long will this craze last? With the introduction of the glow in the dark, patterned, metallic, light up versions, will the fidget spinner craze continue into the summer holidays, or by then will they have become a craze of the past, and in such a short space of time, these once must-have toys, tossed away and put to one side.
Whatever the toy, whenever the time, playground crazes are not going anywhere, and they can have a lasting impact on generations of children. The question is, what will be next? We’ll have to spend a few weeks or months on the playground to see!
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