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Where Pop It Fidget Toys Originated

The story of Pop It Fidget Toy begins with Theo and Ora Coster, a married couple from Israel. Over the years, they invented more than 190 games—including the face recognition game Guess Who?—and founded a company called Theora Design, according to the BBC. (Amazing fact: Theo was actually a classmate of Anne Frank.)

When Ora's sister died from breast cancer in the mid-1970s, she had a dream about a field of breasts. "Imagine a field of breasts, that you can press from one side, and then press from the other side," Boaz Coster, her son and co-C.E.O. of Theora Design, said when describing his mother's vision. Theo created a prototype, and it sat around for many years until the couple's sons sold it to Montreal-based games company FoxMind.

FoxMind manufactured the product in silicone, and it was marketed as a game called Last One Lost, a puzzle in which two players press the bubbles together, and the player who presses the last one loses. It debuted in 2013 and was not exactly a smash, but in 2019, it relaunched under the name Pop It! and hit Target shelves.

How Pop It Fidget Toys Took Off

The big moment of Pop It Fidget Toy has been linked to its appearance in a viral TikTok video. In the clip, a capuchin monkey-turned-influencer with almost 8 million followers named Gaitlyn Rae can be seen playing with a Pop It. The monkey's owner, Jessica Lacher, told the BBC: "Somebody sent her a pop-it for her birthday. … That was the first we had ever seen of them."

Gaitlyn's video launched a craze. You can now get Pop It-style knockoff toys—not licensed by FoxMind—in a variety of shapes and colors. You can find versions inspired by Peppa Pig, dinosaurs, unicorns, pineapples, and more.

Kids have been loving Pop Its during the pandemic and while learning remotely, according to The New York Times. "Especially in these times, they can be calming, they can be soothing," Adrienne Appell, a senior vice president at The Toy Association, told the outlet. "Even adults are enjoying them."

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