From snap bands to POGS, crazy quick toy trends have come and gone and new ones pop up yearly. The one thing that always seemed to bind them is the generally simple and cheap construction. Cheap or not, these toys made millions and delighted us when we were kids and some delight our kids today. In no particular order, here are some of the best and worst depending on your point of view.

  • POGS

    Pogs or Milk Caps, was a game and collectable started in 1991, but the origins go even further back to the 1920s and 1930s being played on the island of Maui. When milk caps became obsolete in the 1950s, companies like Haleakala Dairy and Orchards Hawaii distributed caps as promotional items. In 1971, a drink called POG from Haleakala was released; and in 1991, the revival of the “Milk Caps” game brought about the general usage of POG for the game. The concept of the game was this: you played with flat circular cardboard milk caps. Players make a stack of these caps, and take turns to drop a heavier “slammer” object onto it, causing the caps to be knocked down.

     

  • Snap Bracelets

    Slap bracelets or snap bracelets were a bracelet invented by a teacher in Wisconsin, Stuart Anders, in 1990. I remember being terrified by these because there was always a story going around how they would cut your hands. 

  • Fidget Spinners

    Promoted as a toy or “tool” to help people who “fidget”, Fidget Spinners exploded on the scene in 2017. The toy consists of a ball bearing in the middle of a multi-lobed flat structure made from metal or plastic designed to spin along its axis with very little effort.

  • POP IT

    Fidget toys have taken the world by storm. Originally invented back in 1971, they made a major resurgence in the spring of 2021 because of all of the stress from the Covid 19 pandemic. And now you can’t go five feet without some property being turned into a popping toy. OMG! A hamster in a POP IT maze! HECK YEAH! 

  • THE PET ROCK

    What’s more infamous as a trendy toy than the Pet Rock? A collectable toy that was invented by Gary Dahl in 1971. The rocks were marketed as live pets and even were sold in boxes with holes to allow them to “breathe”. Gary sold a million of these rocks at $4 apiece.