1. Kooky Pens
Kooky Pens, also known as Kooky Klickers, were released in 2004 in a New York retail store. Covered in unique hand-painted faces and bright designs, Kooky Pens quickly caught the eyes of children. Their popularity drastically boosted between 2007 and 2009. They were commonly traded amongst peers in elementary and middle schools, to the point where they were often confiscated by teachers for over-clicking.
2. Silly Bandz
The first Silly Bandz were sold online in 2008 and were a new take on the previously released Animal Rubber Bands, which were created in 2002. By early 2009, Silly Bandz of all shapes, colors and sizes reached retail stores in Alabama. The sale of these silicon bracelets then spread to the east coast of the U.S. Soon after, the product was banned from Blind Brook classrooms for being a distraction and cutting off circulation on children’s arms.
3. Mighty Beanz
Back when the current Blind Brook seniors were in kindergarten, Mighty Beanz were all the rage. The tiny, oval-shaped toys were available from 2002 to 2006, taken off the market, and then relaunched in 2010. The toy’s slogan, “Play’em, Race ‘em, Collect ‘em” provides a complete summary of how children ages 5 and up would use them, as they carried the Mighty Beanz everywhere with them.
By 2010, over 76 million Tamagotchis were sold. The egg-shaped, handheld devices featured digital pets, whose care proved hard work for their elementary school owners. Tamagotchis were quickly banned from schools, as they were a constant distraction for students, who feared the death of the virtual pet, which was inevitable if the device was not attended to for just a few hours. Over 40 versions of Tamagotchis have been released over the years and the Tamagotchi iPhone app triggered nostalgia in countless students, as they rapidly downloaded the game to relive their childhood.
5. Jibbitz (for Crocs)
In 2006, Jibbitz were released to adorn every child’s Crocs. The miniature shoe charms came in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Similar to today’s popular Alex and Ani bracelets, the Jibbitz on student’s Crocs would portray their unique personalities and interests. Some kids opted to plug their Crocs’ insulation holes with dragons or flowers, while others chose their favorite Disney characters and superheroes.
Webkinz were first released by Ganz in 2005 and their popularity skyrocketed. In just one year, Webkinz World had one million online accounts and their profits were over 100 times that. Each Webkinz went for around $10 and came with a “secret code,” used to add that pet to an online account. The stuffed animals came alive in cyberspace, where children would play games such as “The Wheel of Wow” in the arcade or decorate their virtual house by spending KinzCash on pixel-objects.
7. Nintendo DS
The addictive handheld gaming console with dual, backlit LCD screens, known as the Nintendo DS, was first released in 2004. As an offering for kids who were ready for more than the GameBoy Advance had to offer, the Nintendo DS featured a touch screen, wifi capabilities, and a sophisticated stylus. Since the Nintendo DS was compatible with a wide range of games, from Cooking Mama to Nintendogs, with these in their hands, kids would be entertained for hours on end.
8. Wikki Stix
Wikki Stix are mess-free playpacks containing eight sticks covered in colored wax and packaged with connect-the-dot worksheets. They were commonly found in restaurants and other businesses that desired ways to keep kids busy by putting their imaginations to use. As if being non-toxic and unbreakable products was not enough to make parents happy, Wikki-Stix were also clean-up free and kept kids creating wax art projects for extended periods of time.
9. Livestrong Bracelets
In 2004, Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor and famous bicyclist, began to sell bracelets engraved with “LIVESTRONG” as a fundraiser for cancer. With over 80 million sold, the yellow silicone bracelets were worn by kids and celebrities across the United States. However, the popular bracelets were discontinued in 2013 by their producer, Nike, due to the scandals surrounding Armstrong.
10. Env3, Firefly, Voyager, & Juke Cellphones
Right when the phone frenzy began, these four phones were at the forefront of appropriate cellular devices for kids. The hardest decision to make at this time was whether the Env3 or the Voyager was the cooler replacement for an obsolete Juke or Firefly phone, which provided very basic phone functions.