Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Toy Trends

It’s really amazing, the speed at which the latest and greatest toys come and go in the classroom here in Korea. I always take a few minutes at the start of each class to play with whatever strange item the kids have found to occupy their short attention spans.

December 6, 2005 -

Toy: Slime -A- Foam

Up and Coming? A 10 year old girl brought this to class today, a bunch of boys and girls were crowded around her. Appears to be a unisex toy.

Description: A viscous, green, gooey, slime, filled with what looks like miniature Styrofoam balls.

Closest Relative from my Generation: Gack – A neon, snotty goo that was fun to squish and didn’t stick to your hands. Usually dried up and got completely saturated with dirt after a few days. Could never be reconstituted, I tried everything from water to cooking oil.

Fun Factor (3/5): Fun to squish, not much else can be done with it
Durability (2/5): Will suffer from the same fallbacks as Gack
Affordability (?/5): Unknown
Disruption Factor (1/5): Relatively low as it makes no noise and only little mess... so far

Toy: Dinosaur Eggs

Up and Coming? Already Past

Description: Small jelly eggs of various colors that like to reside in very moist areas. If left in water they will grow to three or four times their size. Students appear to adopt eggs from other students. Those who cannot afford aquatic homes for their eggs resort to a box lined with moist toilet paper.

Closest Relative from my Generation: Bath Bubbles?

Fun Factor (2/5): What can you really do with these things? Watching them grow is like watching paint dry. They also break at the slightest touch and are high maintenance, but they do feel cool.
Durability (1/5): Awful as excessive handling means broken eggs and jelly left everywhere
Affordability (4/5): 1000-2000
Disruption Factor (4/5): High due to maintenance requirements. Students are constantly trying to nurture eggs. Lots of crying and fights caused by students handling, stealing and breaking each other’s eggs

Toy: Top

Up and Coming? Already Past

Description: Large, futuristic plastic housing on a solid metal plate. A kind of launcher/gun is used to get these beasts into motion. The top is clicked into the launcher and a Zap-Strap looking device is pulled through some gears to get the top up to speed. The strap can then be used to guide the heavy, spinning top into your opponents or around obstacles. (Predominantly male toy)

Closest Relative from my Generation: I don’t know, never played with tops

Fun Factor (4/5): These things are pretty sweet, they’ll spin on stuff you never thought possible. Being able to make them fight is definitely a bonus!
Durability (4.5/5): I’ve seen these things dive off of tables and ricochet into desks, walls and doors. If they do fly apart they can be put back together!
Affordability (3/5): 2000-5000
Disruption Factor (3/5): It’s not the kind of thing you can play with when stationary though my boys still manage to figure out ways to amuses themselves with them during class. Getting the boys off the floor and out of war mode is the most difficult part.

Toy: Spherical Magnets

Up and Coming? Already Past but most long lived and popular toy I have seen to date

Description: Two black, shiny, spherical magnets. These things make the most head splitting racket when they collide and this is the thing to make these magnets do. They are either launched in the air so that they collide or one is placed under, above, in front of, behind or between an object so as to make it appear the other magnet is moving on it’s own by shear magic.

Closest Relative from my Generation: Magnets, these simple chunks of iron have been entertaining humanity since they were discovered.

Fun Factor (4.5/5): I hate to admit they’re addictive little buggers to play with. The sound isn’t so annoying when you are the one throwing them.
Durability (5/5): How do you destroy a magnet?
Affordability (3/5): 2000-4000
Disruption Factor (5/5): Huge! I couldn’t go anywhere in the school and not hear kids playing with this things. The rattle they made, made me jump all the time. Even worse they are easily concealed and can provide hours of entertainment for kids during an English class. Can also have fatal consequences for kids when they try to stick them to my aluminum laptop!


Up and Coming?


Closest Relative from my Generation:

Fun Factor (/5):
Durability (/5):
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Krista said...

just wait for the small animal phase to come back...hamsters and fish in the classroom was...shall we say...interesting. Especially when they came transported in pencil cases, try cleaning up hamster "messes"

traci said...

this isn't a toy--it's candy. i call these tiny, gold envelopes "crack packets." One of my kids gave me one and i swear they are pure sugar, and perhaps a bit of coke really is mixed in. He told me to eat it and then made this weird grin and started bouncing off the walls--literally.

comatose said...

Krista: Are these like pre-existing pets or do they just go purchase a small animal to show off for a while?
Traci: Can you hook me up?

me said...

i found out on friday that the contents of the packet is... POP ROCKS!! Yep. it's true. I have no idea where they get them, however.