Friday 15:05 – calm before the storm.
Bradley Meriel has ordered the delivery of Pop It toys to his Anime store in Abbotsford, in inland Sydney.
He told the children who asked about them that he put up a board on the street to inform them that they had come.
“At six minutes past three, it sounded like I was in Spain with a bull run,” he said.
“All I heard was feet, then all I saw were feet, shoes in my shop.
“We sold 92 Pop It in 10 minutes.”
The toy itself, which Mr. Meriel sells for $ 7.95, seems unremarkable – when held in the hand, it looks like a reusable and colorful plastic film.
But it has gained immense popularity on TikTok, the hashtag #PopIt has garnered more than a billion views.
Accounts created by people who play with the toy have more than tens of thousands of subscribers.
Mr Merriel said a number of Australian manufacturers are starting to make toy options to meet demand in stores like it.
“All the kids when they come in, they burst it and they’re like ahhhh,” he said.
“School teachers come to me and ask them.”
New Fidget Spinner?
Sandra Mortimer, a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at Flinders University, said Attracting toys was her simplicity.
“We are most often accustomed to children with sensory problems, developmental delays or difficulties using such sensory tools,” she said.
“I think it’s very interesting, it’s something that’s really appealing to kids without these problems.
“It has gained some wide appeal.
“I think there’s something special about a restless toy, and it has components … it’s really the ability to touch, squeeze, interact with the toy with your hands.”
Ms. Mortimer said such toys could be useful to try to “turn off” touch inputs.
“A fidget toy can really help a child through the sense of touch and the use of this toy to help them regulate themselves,” she said.
“To give extra tactile input through their hands, it helps them calm their sensory system as a whole.
“It’s really important to be able to achieve what we call a calm and stressful state; where we feel good in our minds and bodies, and where we can best learn, relax and absorb information.”
The kids at the toy store said they liked the feel of playing with the toy and they wanted it after seeing their friends play with them in class or in the schoolyard.
Mr Meriel said he expected the toy’s popularity to last just over a month.
“With Loom Bands and with Fidget Spinners they both worked for about five or six weeks,” he said.
“I see the same thing here, maybe it could be seven, we’ll see.”