7 pop-its your kid will love, according to a 9-year-old
Just after the pandemic lifted and my third-grader was allowed to return to school full time, Roblox lost its shine and pop-its entered her world. Let me share with you what I’ve learned in my crash-course over the last few months: These push pop bubble what-have-yous are silicone fidget toys that are generally about the size of an adult hand and mimic the action and feel of popping bubble wrap.
Pop-its are a hot commodity on the school bus and the playground where they’re compared, traded, and tossed around. “They’re really fun to pop, especially because of the pop sound it makes. It’s really satisfying,” says Violet, my daughter.
In honor of her ninth birthday, she and I went pop-it shopping together online. Here are her picks for best pop-its on the market, so the next time you’ve got to buy a gift for a grade schooler, you’ll have some solid advice to go on.
1. Pop Poppers Marble Cupcake
In general, pop-its come in shapes from circles and squares to whales and, naturally, unicorns. They also come in a variety of hues, from bold to pastel. This one from Claire’s puts a sweet spin on the trend with a swirling pattern of light pink, purple, and blue.
Violet gamely tells me, “It’s not the rarest pop-it, because I’m pretty sure the marbled ones are some of the most popular you can find, but I like that it’s a cupcake, and I like the colors.”
2. Chuckle & Roar Tie Dye Pop It!
This circular sensory toy capitalizes on another current kid trend: tie-dye. “It’s tie-dye, and it looks really cool,” says Violet. “Plus, it’s really poppy.” Enough said.
3. Random Color Push Pop Bubble
At 10 by 10 by 10 centimeters, this 3-D pop-it resembles a Rubix cube when fully assembled with six different pop-it pieces in a variety of colors like red, yellow, and green. However, when ordering be careful: Shein doesn’t make it very clear that $3 gets you just one single puzzle-piece side to the cube. You have to order six pop-its, for a total cost of $18, if you want to actually make the cube.
And Violet does. “I rate this a 20 out of 10 because it’s like a puzzle and a cube and there are multiple pop-its,” she tells me. “That’s actually a very rare fidget to find. I’ve never seen it before. I want it for my birthday.”
4. Simpl Dimpl
Fat Brain Toys’ charmingly named Simpl Dimpl is a smaller version of a pop-it, which, for Violet, is a huge perk. “I like that it’s a keychain and easily clips onto your backpack or jeans’ belt loop, and you can have it at recess,” she says.
It’s true, the Simpl Dimpl is simply two, side-by-side bubble pops in a hard plastic frame, and it’s small enough that it fits right in the palm of your hand.
5. Pice Yellow Octopus Push Pop Bubble Fidget
This sunny silicone cephalopod is one of Violet’s all-time favorites. She tells me that it’s a very rare pop-it because it has a raised figure of itself on each of its bubble pops—I tried to fact-check this, but ended up at the bottom of a YouTube spiral.
Pushing the bubble pops themselves is a defining moment for the kids, and this one is Violet-approved. “It’s really poppy.”
“I think it’s really cute,” she says of the octopus that also has a firm, circular, orange mouth and black-and-white eyes. “The only thing I wish they had done was make the eyes poppy and double-sided.”
6. Among Us Color-Changing Pop-it
Etsy maker Hazel Craft Crafts scores double high marks with this Among Us pop-it. Not only is it a toy heralding the pleasure of the popular online Clue-like kids’ video game Among Us—“The pop-it is an Among Us crew mate or imposter,” she tells ignorant me—it also changes colors after being exposed to sunlight or shade.
“They look really cool,” Violet says. “I’ve never seen a color-changing one before. I want this for my birthday, too.”
7. Pop Poppers SpongeBob SquarePants Keychain
Violet is full of opinions on this mini pop-it. “I wish they had put his eyes on there and his nose and mouth, and his red cheeks. Just add more detail,” she says of the odd and yet wildly popular underwater-living, Krabby Patty-cooking cartoon character she spends every morning watching on Netflix.
Regardless, she loves that this pop-it is a keychain that she can carry around with her hands-free.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.