lifestyle

Tamagotchis, Loom Bands and 5 other toy crazes that drove parents insane.

A New Year, a new craze.

It seems every year a new craze takes over the children of Australia.

Circa 1985, it was stationery. Yep, that’s right. The kind you write on. We would go to Granny May’s, buy a single sheet of stationery and matching envelope, put them in our display folder and then take them to school and swap them. Now either this made me a massive nerd or, nope, just a massive nerd. One year later though, it was Cabbage Patch Dolls. The year after that, marbles.

This year it’s these suckers:

Now I mercifully have avoided these because my seven-year-old son seems to be more obsessed with AFL footy cards than making rainbow coloured choking hazards bracelets but I’ve been there before. Just in a different form.

Now, I’ll admit, I don’t know much about these. Although I drove past a Newsagency today that proudly displayed a gigantic sign with the words ‘LOOM BANDS NOW BACK IN STOCK!’.

A craze ain’t a craze unless it sells out.

2. Tamagotchi

Hand held digital pets. Because you know, those REAL dogs, cats and goldfish just weren’t nearly as fun to starve and neglect. These seemingly indestructible handheld devices were the ire of teachers and parents alike. Often banned from schools for being too distracting, most children, as a result, eventually starved and killed their virtual pets within the week.

3. Zhu Zhu Pets

I had an actual interstate telephone conversation trying to track down these fecking things. Toy distributors are not stupid. They knew the ONLY thing your child was asking Santa for in 2010 was one of these babies. Not for love nor money could I secure one locally, hence the interstate phone call to a girlfriend in Sydney. YES, she could grab one of these gerbil creations and express post it to me by COB Christmas Eve.

Fun Fact, these guys reactivate in the dead of night and squirrel themselves away in the almost undetectable black holes of your children’s rooms.

4. Cabbage Patch Kids

God I was desperate for one of these. I remember seeing the televised mini riot parents found themselves embroiled in when the first batch were released in Myer. I of course, was crazy jealous of my classmates as they started to bring their own dolls in, week after week. My own mother flat out refused to allow me to own one. She would however, let me have the Cabbage Patch’s poor cousin, The Flower Kid. She may as well have just had ‘lamest kid in school’ tattooed on my forehead and be done with it.  Extra points if you remember the supposed flying demon dolls the Cabbage Patch Dolls turned into at night. Quadruple points if you can remember the name on your own doll’s adoption certificate.

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5. Bindeez

Circa 1997, these guys had the dubious honour of being the child’s toy that accidentally also doubled as a hallucinogenic drug. In fact, once swallowed, the chemical it was covered in, was converted by the body into gamma-hydroxy butyrate (GHB) – also known as Fantasy or Grievous Bodily Harm. Which you know, can cause at best case, drowsiness, at worst, seizures, coma and death.

Before this was discovered however, this ‘1997 Toy of the Year’, was coveted by almost every young girl and boy in Australia.

To be honest, I don’t even know WTF they were supposed to do with them once they were made but we had flowers and dogs and horses and god knows what floating about the house. We also had a crawling baby that put everything in his mouth and so once the drug discovery and recall was made, these guys simply ceased to exist in our home.

6. Marbles

I think these swing in and out of fashion, much like the Yo Yo and equally, are banned for much the same reasons. Usually because some kid cops one to the head OR a full scale riot breaks out when some kid nicks one. Any 80s child worth their salt will be able to spot the most important marble in the picture above.

7. Rubik’s Cube

Basically a vessel to prove how much smarter someone is than you. If like me, you tried to cut corners and simply remove the stickers and magically make all the sides align, then you probably also don’t have fond memories of this torture chamber  toy. I myself liked the Rubik’s snake that I also couldn’t master but I could make into a kickarse triangle.

Crazes aren’t going anywhere. Well not anytime soon. As long as there are kids and there are conversations and there is a natural instinct for competition, it’s only a matter of time before our children are begging us for the next cool thing.

If only we could pick what it’s going to be, we could all retire handsomely.

Here are some of the childhood toys that have come and gone in a flurry of  popularity.

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What craze has your child become obsessed with? Was there something from your own childhood that I’ve missed?