'Satisfying' new craze popping up in NZ classrooms

Pam Evans, from Uncle Bills in New Plymouth, says Pop-Its sell out as soon as they go on the...
Pam Evans, from Uncle Bills in New Plymouth, says Pop-Its sell out as soon as they go on the shelves. Photo: Robin Martin
We've all been entranced by the peculiarly addictive pleasure of popping bubble wrap, right?

Now Pop-Its - a moulded silicone toy that mimics the sensation - is the latest craze sweeping through the nation's primary schools.

Jillian Bleasdale, who teaches Year 5 and 6 pupils in Room 14 at Vogeltown Primary in New Plymouth, says Pop-Its appeared out of nowhere a couple of weeks back.

"I didn't know whether it's a Vogeltown School thing because it's just got a bit wild at the moment even over at the junior school, but I don't know if all schools are like this."

Bleasdale said the children were learning about money at the moment and had pleaded to be able to use their classroom loot to buy Pop-Its.

"So we have a little class treasure box that they can save up for at the end of the week and buy some stuff if they've been on their best behaviour and they've been on my case to get Pop-Its to add to the treasure box."

She said the children were fascinated by the toys in a similar way to Fidget Spinners a couple of years back.

Children find the Pop-Its' sound satisfying. Photo: Robin Martin
Children find the Pop-Its' sound satisfying. Photo: Robin Martin
"To me it's nothing very exciting, but to the kids it's this amazing tool and they say they are satisfying, something to do while you're talking to other people. But I've had to stop having them in the class because they are a little bit distracting."

Connor Gain was a fan. "They're just so satisfying and you can just pop them over and over and over. And it gives you something to do when you're bored."

Braxton Hancock was on the same page. "I like popping, they're really satisfying and they make lots of noise."

And Ruby Smith got the connection to the wrapping.

"It's like never-ending bubblewrap. It's just like, I don't know, It's just like satisfying and really poppy and stuff," she said.

Outside school, the mum's spoken to by RNZ were not so keen.

Tia Christiansen had resisted the temptation to buy one.

"I've seen them and my daughter's wanting one and I've said no. I just think think kids need to learn to sit and relax and not have something at their fingertips all the time."

Emma Applegarth got the fascination though.

"I think it might be the sounds and just the satisfaction of doing it. I was watching a video yesterday and I could see how addictive that could be. The sound and the popping and then flipping them back over and doing it again and again," she said.

She confessed she was a fan of bubblewrap herself.

"Yeah, yeah, definitely. I get it."

Downtown at the New Plymouth branch of Uncle Bills, manager Pam Evans, said Pop-Its had been flying off the shelf.

"They're the absolute biggest craze ever. We've got more coming. Like we've got the rainbow ones, but apparently these tie-dye ones that are coming through are the next biggest thing as well.

"I couldn't give you a number, but generally when they come in they are all gone within 20 minutes, half an hour."

But Vogeltown's Bleasdale was not convinced.

"I can see where it's coming from, but also I don't know if I'd pay for it. You know you can just go and get some bubblewrap."

For those who insist on parting with their money Pop-Its are available just about everywhere ... for between $5 and $10 a pop, no pun intended.

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