Fidget-spinners seemed to explode in popularity overnight, but this type of fad-frenzy is nothing new. Does the long-forgotten fidget-cube of 2016 ring a bell? Let’s take a look at some of the top trendy toys of the past 20 years. Hopefully seeing all the here-today-gone-tomorrow fads will keep you from dropping $1500 on a custom Swarovski fidget-spinner like some people are wont to do.

1. Silly Bandz

A post shared by athaya akiela (@ayakiela) on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:18am PST

First sold in 2008 as an office supply, these rubber silicone bracelets quickly became popular with the youths. You know something’s really taken off when it’s ~banned~ in school for being too distracting. Tradeable, stackable, make-parents-regret-having-kids-able, sillybandz captured the hearts of late 2000s people everywhere. The Kardashians even had their own special pack:

kim kardashian silly bandz

2. Beanie Babies

A post shared by Ariana Moore (@ari_art14) on Jul 9, 2017 at 1:55pm PDT

Hands up if you can’t get rid of your huge Rubbermaid of Beanie Babies because you’re convinced they’ll be worth something one day. Beanie Babies took the late ’90s by storm with their limited production, all-important red TY tags, and culturally relevant designs. Princess Diana Beanie Baby anyone? At one point, Beanie Babies made up ten percent of all eBay sales.

3. Skip-It


What ’90s child didn’t LOVE skipping and knowing exactly how many skips they’ve skipped? We’re all about that hard data, baby! Skip-It took the schoolground by storm. (Yes I used that phrase in the previous entry, but there were a lot of toy storms back in the day, okay?!) Despite being painful when you didn’t skip it, this fad was so fun!

4. Furbies


Over forty million Furbies were sold from 1998 until 2000. That’s cray. Remember how your Furby only spoke Furbish then gradually started learning English words? Or how it would randomly say things in the middle of the night from your closet? Those were some good, non-creepy times.

5. Fidget Cube


Before the spinner, there was the cube. Born of a wildly successful 2016 Kickstarter campaign, the fidget cube burst onto the scene as a way to combat nervous energy and focus on the task at hand. Whether or not this is scientifically true, the cubes were still a success. Rob Kardashian even posted a promo on his Instagram. (I exclusively use Kardashian-engagement as markers of success.)

6. Tamagotchi


This keychain-sized digital pet was the signifier of cool on the playground in the late ’90s and early 2000s. I still remember girls who had like ten just hanging around their neck. If only my dog came with a Happy Meter, Hunger Meter, Bracelet meter, and Discipline meter. Maybe I’d love it as much as I did my ‘gotchi…

6. Tickle Me Elmo

A post shared by Tech Insider (@tech_insider) on Apr 24, 2017 at 12:25pm PDT

Tickle Me Elmo without fur, oh what fun. Anyway, Tickle Me Elmo was the hot toy of the late ’90s. A sensor on it’s belly could detect your sweet, sweet tickles. FYI, searching «tickle me elmo» on Giphy fetches some very strange tickling gifs.

7. Bratz

A post shared by Bratz (@officialbratz) on May 21, 2017 at 4:55pm PDT

When Bratz first emerged 16 years ago, who knew that a whole app would be overrun by IRL Bratz? That app is Instagram, because I just now realized that every makeup artist on Instagram looks like a Bratz doll. #passionforfashion

8. Zhu Zhu Pets

A post shared by Nina (@ppuhknf) on Nov 26, 2016 at 3:19pm PST

Who doesn’t love plush robotic hamster toys?! In 2009, these lil’ critters swept the nation with their… uh… okay, I don’t exactly know why people loved these. I guess I don’t fit the target demo anymore… They came in nurture mode and adventure mode, so that’s cool? Right?

9. Razor Scooter


Toy of the year in 2001, Razors were the best mode of transportation for kids on the go! Unless the kids were going anywhere with cracks, bumps, changes in pavement level, rocks, or any other form of sidewalk imperfection.

What’s your favorite toy fad you just can’t let go of? Let me know on Twitter @AndiHester!

Andi Hester
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