You’ve probably seen them in stores and maybe even under the Christmas tree. You can fidget with them, cook with them and trade them. The Pop It! is one of the biggest toy stories of the last few years and kids can’t get enough. But did a monkey really start the whole trend?
The Pop It! is a food-grade silicone toy with little reversible bubbles that you can pop again and again, like reusable bubble wrap. It comes in many shapes and sizes, from keychain-sized hearts to dinner plate-sized unicorn heads. If you pick one up, it is completely addictive to press and pop.
The design of the toy comes from Theora Design, an Israeli-based company founded by married couple Theo and Ora Coster. Ora has said the design of the Pop It! came from a dream about her sister, who was dying of breast cancer. Ora imagined a field of breasts where you could pop them in, and reverse from the other side.
The toy design sat around for decades before becoming a logic game in 2013 called Last One Lost. Produced by FoxMind toys, the game was a bit of a flop. It was rebranded as Pop It! in 2019 and gained a little more traction, until a monkey took it to new heights.
Gaitlyn Rae is a TikTok superstar with 7.7 million followers (that's more than Lady Gaga) and she also happens to be a capuchin monkey. The monkey often opens gifts she receives from fans and this time she was sent a Pop It! Eleven billion views later, a success story was born.
The toy first caught on as a fidget device. Remote learning helped as many kids would use them while trying to stay focused on their computer screen. But, much like its predecessor the Fidget Spinner, kids who didn’t need them for focusing soon grew obsessed, too. With the endless shapes, colors and themes, they have become much-coveted collectibles.
Unfortunately for the creators, the toy has many knockoff versions, so they are not getting to enjoy all the benefits this monkey has wrought, but FoxMind has sold millions. They even have new versions that change colors in UV light sold under the name GoPop! As people find more and more uses for this simple toy, we don’t think it will go away any time soon.
TL; DR: A monkey did help the Pop It! become a huge toy, but the monkey also happens to have a ton of TikTok followers, too, so this is no ordinary monkey.