What do all these things have in common? Yes, they are all fads which kids at different points in history HAD to have. But they are also the worst kind of fads: the fads that make somebody rich by forcing poor parents to spend hard-earned money on crap we can already find in our homes: Beanie Babies=bean bags. Garbage Pail Kids=drawings of gross characters (my son makes these on a daily basis). Pogs=cardboard and poker chips. Silly Bandz=rubber bands. Pet Rock=rocks. Friendship Bracelets=thread. Jelly Bracelets=more rubber bands. Slap Bracelets=mini-blinds.
And now, there is the Rainbow Loom.
I’m going to bet every parent with a school-aged child just grunted. Why? Because the Rainbow Loom is a pain in the ass. For those of you lucky enough to not know what a Rainbow Loom is, it’s basically a combination of Silly Bandz and friendship bracelets. In other words, it’s a super hybrid fad. I would like to meet the genius who turned orthodontic rubber bands into the hot new must-have item among the juvenile set. And I would like this person to invite me over to his or her
home mansion so I can sprinkle those tiny, brightly colored elastics all throughout it. Because if my daughter doesn’t manage to weave those little pieces of junk into a tight-fitting bracelet that cuts off the circulation to my hand, then they ultimately end up on the floors of every room in my house. And if they are all over the floors of my house, they aren’t in her little rubber band organizational case. And if that organizational case it empty, then I am tasked with spending another $5 on a small bag of things I used to get for free at the orthodontist’s office and made my teeth sore while correcting my overbite. And don’t even think about trying to use a coupon to help subsidy this new habit. Because those awesome weekly 40% off coupons at the hobby store can be used on pretty much everything…except the Rainbow Loom and its accessories. Bastards.
Don’t get me wrong. I think fads are fun, especially ones that promote creativity and artistic skill. But wouldn’t it be nice if something would catch on with kids that didn’t involve sweatshops in Taiwan?
Far be it from me to simply complain about something yet remain inactive. So I have taken it upon myself to suggest some candidates for new fads in children’s play…and none of them will cost you a dime. As a bonus, they all have that “reduce, reuse, recycle” thing going for them, because they are all born from crap already lying around your house.
1. Produce Bag Twist Ties Sculpture Kit
You guys, we’ve had a goldmine of endless hours of play sitting in the bottom of our refrigerator produce drawers ALL THIS TIME. They twist. They bend. You can turn them into pretty much anything in the whole entire world. And when you run out, all you need to do is head to the grocery store to pick up some more apples. Which brings up another amazing quality of this toy: you can bribe your kids into better eating habits: “The more bell peppers you eat, the more twist ties I can get for your sculptures.” I don’t know, but I kind think this one could be a “Parent’s Choice” Award Winner.
Until someone figures out a foolproof way to teach kids that the caps go back ON the markers after they are finished with them, this fad will likely enjoy some good longevity on the market. And you don’t have to use any harsh chemicals to remove them…or risk your child setting all her nail polisher remover-soaked cotton balls directly onto a bathroom shelf, adding yet another piece of household furniture to the “claimed by children” list. As for all those dried-out markers, sorry. The idea ends here.
We can finally all be free of those overpriced Lululemon headbands. I mean, my kids eat granola bars like they are going out of style, but it’s also apparently not in style to throw away the wrappers. Because they litter my house with them. No worries. Now our daughters can use them to make stylish headbands that promote adequate daily fiber intake and Puritan modesty, instead of ones that might become see-through if their heads exceed the maximum circumference deemed acceptable by some sad excuse for a CEO who doesn’t know how to apologize to his customers and all of humankind.
4. Dog Hair Knitting
Think about it. It’s cruelty-free fur, and your floors will have never been cleaner.
5. Crayon Stubs Mosaic Kit
Pretty self-explanatory. I wouldn’t mind buying a new box of crayons approximately every three months if I knew the nubs would end up someplace other than the bottom of random drawers, under couch cushions, smashed into carpets, and melted inside my floor vents.
So, what do you say, fellow moms and dads? Should we take the matter of fads into our own hands? Create the next big thing every kid in school has to have (and already does)? Keep our money for more important things, like college tuition…or splurging for heated seats on our next car purchase?
Let’s keep tiny rubber bands where they belong: in the metalled mouths of middle schoolers.
Do you have any more ideas for free fads? I’d love to hear them!