Welcome to our ‘Having a moment’ series, where we offer a run-down on the latest trends, fads and crazes taking social media (and beyond) by storm. If you’re staring at the title of this post wondering what the heck we’re on about, you either a) don’t have children, or b) don’t have children who have Instagram. Let us explain…
They’re the slow-rising squeeze toys that have quickly risen to the top of every child’s wish list. Available in every shape and colour – from cupcakes to cats to Cinderella – these soft stress-relievers have out-lasted fidget spinners and replaced slime as the must-have kid’s collector’s items.
Made from memory foam or similar materials, the trend started where all cute and colourful things come from – the streets of Japan. Squishies can be large or small, come as keychains or pillows, and smell like popcorn or strawberries or nothing at all. But they all have one thing in common: they’re super Kawaii (adjective: cute, noun: the Japanese culture of cuteness).
So, what do they look like? Literally anything (like, even tacos) which is probably why they’re so popular – there’s no real limit to how many you can collect. There’s also no telling which kinds of squishies are most popular amongst kids. Online distributor Squishy Kiosk’s ‘popular items’ page features a ‘jumbo narwhal ice cream cake’, a ‘strawberry-glazed pretzel’ and a ‘rainbow pearl poo-shape monster’ squishy. See what we meant when we said they could be ‘literally anything’?
Now that you’re fully caught up on the squishy-phenomena, there’s only one thing left to know: what’s the point? Honestly, we’re not too sure. Beyond the satisfying sensation of squishing something in your hand and watching it slowly return to its original shape, squishies don’t really serve a higher purpose. There’s no skill involved, or knowledge to be gained. They’re seriously just for squishing.
But much like a stress ball, there are proven stress-relieving benefits that can be gained from toys like squishies. The action of repeatedly squeezing and releasing something soft activates the muscles in your hand and wrist, relieving stress and tension and even acting as a great form of physical therapy.
And, as with any trend these days, squishies have gained their own set of hashtags with dedicated accounts posting videos of squishies in action and reviewing their ‘squishability’. Check out these ‘grammers sharing the squishy love:
Ask your kids why they like their squishies, however, and we’re pretty sure the answer will simply be: “they’re cute”. For parents, they’re relatively harm-free (though smaller ones, like any small objects, can be a serious choking hazard) and super cheap.
While in the early days of the squishy trend they could only be acquired on largely random, mostly Asian websites – and would take weeks or even months to arrive – squishies can now be found in most children’s toy stores… even Kmart.
Yep, that’s when you know it’s ‘having a moment’.