What is Inside a Squishy Toy?

Squishy toys are all the rage right now, delighting kids and kids-at-heart with their irresistibly soft, squeeze-able texture. But what exactly makes them so squishy? We interviewed managers at two popular toy factories to find out what goes into making these sensory sensations.

At the Super Squishy Toy Company, manager John Smith walked us through their squishy creation process. “We use a specialized polyurethane foam that has an open cell structure so it can compress easily. Adding plasticizers is key – they help make the foam even more malleable so the toys compress fully when squeezed and slowly bounce back.” According to John, another trick they use is injecting expanding foam into the core. “The expanding foam gives an airy, marshmallow-like texture that enhances the squish and rise effect when squeezed.”

Across town at Squishies R Us, manager Jane Doe also cited polyurethane foam as the base. “We aim for a very fine, flexible foam that won’t tear or rip. Our factory adds plasticizing agents to increase softness and elasticity to just the right consistency depending on the toy. Too much and the toy will be limp, too little and it won’t have the signature squish.” Jane went on to explain their finishing process, “After molding the basic shapes, we add colorful dyes, scents, and glitter to make them appealing. The decorators go wild with cute faces and textures.”

When asked which plasticizers they use, John said their toys contain DEHA rather than the more controversial phthalates. “We switched to DEHA and DOTP plasticizers to address environmental and health concerns. They provide great malleability without the same risks.” Jane echoed the movement away from certain phthalates as well. “We use DEHA in our foam recipe too. The kids’ safety is our top priority.”

Both factories emphasized quality control during the manufacturing process. As John explained, “Any defects like air bubbles or improperly mixed foam will affect the squishiness, so we extensively visually inspect during production.” Jane added, “We have strict standards for the ideal squeeze rebound. Our team manually tests a sample from each batch by squishing with their hands.”

So the next time you’re delighted by the squish-squash of a cute squishy, you’ll know it owes its irresistible charm to specially engineered foam, top-secret plasticizer combinations, airy expanding foam cores, and extensive testing by the toy makers. With the joy they bring to all ages, these squishy creations are worth every bit of effort that goes into developing their signature squeeze!