Are Pop It Toys Good for Kids?

Pop It toys have become one of the hottest fads among kids in recent years. These simple silicone toys that make a popping sound when pushed inside out seem harmless enough. But are they actually beneficial for kids or just an annoying distraction? Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of Pop It toys for children.

Pros:

  • Stimulates senses. The tactile nature of Pop It toys provides sensory stimulation as kids push the bubbles in and out. This can be satisfying particularly for fidgety or sensory-seeking kids. The popping sounds stimulate hearing too. Sensory stimulation helps kids focus and self-regulate.
  • Promotes fine motor skills. Pushing the silicone bubbles on a Pop It toy in and out requires fine motor skills in the hands and fingers. As kids play with them, they build finger dexterity and strength. Occupational therapists sometimes recommend Pop Its as tools to improve fine motor skills.
  • Relieves stress. There is something inherently satisfying about pushing in the bubbles and hearing the pop. This can have a calming, de-stressing effect for kids. The repetitive motion can even be a self-soothing technique. Fidgeting with a Pop It can help relieve nervous energy.
  • Easy to use. Pop It toys are intuitive, simple, and easy for kids of all ages to use independently. They don’t require batteries, charging, or any setup. Kids can fidget and play with them anywhere. They’re easy options to toss in a bag to occupy kids while waiting or traveling.

Cons:

  • Potential choking hazard. While marketed to kids as young as 3 years old, Pop Its do pose potential choking hazards due to small parts if not supervised properly. The silicone bubbles could become a choking risk if they get detached.
  • Noise distraction. The popping sounds produced by Pop Its can become annoying, disruptive, or overstimulating in classrooms or other quiet settings. Some teachers ban them in class for being too distracting. The sounds can also irritate parents and siblings when used constantly at home.
  • Limited developmental benefit. While they have some sensory benefits, Pop Its are a fairly one-dimensional toy. Besides fine motor skills, they don’t provide much educational or developmental value. They don’t foster creativity, problem-solving, cooperation, or imaginative play like many other toys.
  • Hinders focus. If used too frequently, Pop Its can actually reduce focus. Kids can become so absorbed in the fidgeting motion and sounds that they lose focus on other tasks. Some children also become overly dependent on having the sensory input.

Moderation is key for any toy, and the same applies to Pop Its. When used prudently under supervision, Pop Its can be a satisfying sensory tool for kids. But letting them use Pop Its too often can be distracting and even counterproductive. Setting reasonable limits will allow kids to get the benefits without the downsides.