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What are popping toys? Latest fad in fidget toys popular with LI Kids

Sisters Eva, 9, and Brooke Inzerillo, 7, of Nesconset love playing with their popping fidget toy collection. Credit: Alyssa Inzerillo

When the Easter Bunny comes hopping into homes on Sunday, he may also be "popping" in — bubble-wrap style fidget toys are a new fad among kids, and many parents with a pipeline to the Bunny predict they’ll be showing up in droves in Easter baskets.

"My daughter has been obsessed with them for a month; I think she saw them on YouTube," Jaime Olivieri, 41, of Babylon, who works for a mortgage brokerage, says of her fourth-grade daughter Gianna, 9. "It seems to be the hot thing all these kids are talking about and asking for."

Catalina Gavidia, 9, a fourth grader from of Westbury, already owns several, and says "everybody" brings them to school. "A lot of people think it’s satisfying and fun to do," she says of the bubble popping. "You can just keep popping them until you get bored."

The toys come in different sizes, from miniatures to the size of an adult’s hand to bigger, and range in price from $4 to $12. They also are available in different shapes and colors, from a basic circle that looks like an Eggo waffle to shapes like ice cream cones and rocket ships. Some even combine two trends — making the popping toy in the shape of a character from the popular online video game "Among Us." Kids play games with them, trade them with friends, and make TikTok videos with them.

LOCAL STORES SELL OUT

Unlike Bubble Wrap, which is permanently popped, users can push the bubbles from one side to the other over and over; one side makes a louder pop than the other. "Pop it, flip it. Pop it, flip it," says Corey Glassberg, co-owner of the Ronkonkoma-based company Top Trenz, which offers retailers a variety of Pop Fidgety items, including glow-in-the dark and tie-dyed versions.

Local stores are selling out of the items, says Michael Timko, owner of Fun Stuff Toys in Seaford. "All of a sudden it just exploded. As soon as we get them in, they go," Timko says. "If I get 50 in, 50 sell. If I get 100 in, 100 sell."

The popping toys are just the latest iteration of fidget toy, joining other items such as fidget spinners and squishy toys in kids’ ever-expanding collections, users say; fidget spinners were all the rage during Easter season of 2017. "Personally, I don’t understand it myself," says Brian Cohen, owner of Sugar Crazy in Plainview, who says most customers range from ages 7 to 12. "It’s all these fidgeting things."

Kristin Maguire of Melville is a third-grade teacher in Queens. "All of my students bring them to the classroom," she says. She’s tried the popping one herself. "It’s addicting. I can see why the kids like it." Maguire’s sixth-grade daughter, Mckenzie, 11, has been lobbying for one.

'SOOTHING AND CALMING’

The popping toys are the modern version of spinning a paper clip or clicking the top of a pen to let off stress, says Alyssa Inzerillo, 41, a speech pathologist from Nesconset. "I play with it. It’s very cathartic."

Her daughter Eva, 9, a third grader, says "the silicone buttons feel nice on your fingers. It’s very soothing and calming." Her sister, Brooke, 7, a second grader, agrees, saying she plays with the popping fidget toys on the bus and at recess.

Ilana Eichinger, 36, of Old Bethpage, who works in marketing, has purchased 40 of the key chain versions of toy to give out as favors during an upcoming birthday drive-by parade for her son Elijah, 6. Elijah has a bigger version shaped like a video game controller.

And Nicole Johnson, 36, a hairdresser from Levittown, is sure that a unicorn and a star will be in the Easter Basket of her daughter, Riley, 7, a first grader. "I think it’s another fad. It’ll be hot for a few minutes," she says, "and then there will be something new."

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