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10 Toy Fads That Have Faded

A Popularity Contest

Kids’ demands for the coolest new toys can make parents dread passing the toy aisle. But when Mom and Dad finally give in, kids often reach for the latest fad.

Many fad toys started off or gradually became collectibles, with owners of the rarest items garnering envy from fellow collectors, including adults, but eventually many of these items faded out. In other words, they don’t have staying power the way that, say, Barbie Dolls and Hot Wheels do, according to Mattel spokeswoman Sara Rosales.

Here are 10 toys that were cool kids fads. You might even recognize some from your own toy box.

Photo Credit: boopsie.daisy

Beanie Babies

The first Beanie Babies, which would run you about $5 a pop, were sold in 1993 and hit a high in the mid-1990s, when the price of the most rare Beanie, Peanut the Royal Blue Elephant, sold at auction for $3,005.

According to the Seattle Times, the Beanie Baby bubble burst around 2002. In that time, H. Ty Warner, the father of the Beanie Baby, amassed about $6 billion thanks to the small stuffed animals that kids and adults were crazy about collecting. Currently, you can get a Beanie Baby for about $5.

Photo Credit: Valerie Everett

Zhu Zhu Pets

Last holiday season, Zhu Zhu Pets were all the rage. These cute interactive toy hamsters were in such high demand that their prices inflated from nearly $10 to more than $60.

In total, more than 6 million “pets” were sold in the 2009 holiday season, according to The Washington Post. The fad appears to have died down, however, as prices for the furry creatures are back down to about $10.

Photo Credit: zhuzhupets.com

Troll Dolls

These ugly little good luck charms caused such a craze that they became keychains and pencil toppers. Now, Dreamworks even has animated characters in the works.

In 1992, Trolls were among the top-selling toys, according to the Los Angeles Times, but a little-known fact is that the dolls made their debut in 1963. Their popularity declined around 1970, long before the fad would be revived again nearly two decades later.

Even after the '90s, Troll Dolls are still considered collectible, as fans of The Drew Carey Show might note. Currently, you can get a six-inch dressed-up troll doll for about $15 on Amazon.com.

Photo Credit: GABY

Cabbage Patch Kids

In the '80s, just about every girl – and some boys - wanted a Cabbage Patch Kid. By 1989, 75 million of the plastic-faced, yarn-haired dolls were made, according to some estimates. According to Cabbage Patch legend, magic crystals sprinkled over growing cabbages yielded kids and babies.

They’re still around today and cost between $20 to $80 on Amazon.com. Chances are, however, that kids these days prefer the more realistic, relatable and pricey American Girl dolls, which, along with books, clothes and accessories easily cost nearly $200.

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Tickle Me Elmo

The Tickle Me Elmo doll was introduced in 1996. When squeezed, the cute red creature from Sesame Street giggled and wiggled. But Elmo became so popular that he caused fist fights in toy store aisles, according to USA Today. Several editions of the Tickle Me Elmo were released, including the TMX Elmo, which rolled around on the floor, kicking and laughing, but the craze slowed in 2008, according to Jezebel. The classic Elmo now costs about $25, while the TMX Elmo costs about $94.

Photo Credit: MJTR {w}

Easy-Bake Oven

First introduced in the 1963, the Easy-Bake Oven was popular on and off all the way into the ‘90s among kids who wanted to bake their own brownies, cupcakes and other baked goods just like mom did, making it one of the longer-lasting toy trends. About 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens were sold by 1997.

In 2007, however, nearly 1 million of the toys were pulled from the market because posed a risk of burning kids and causing fires. After such a long life, the recall may have caused the death of this fad.

Photo Credit: Paul V8

Shrinky Dinks

You didn’t need to be a kid to appreciate Skrinky Dinks. The product is a cutout from a cartoon-themed colored plastic sheet that shrinks into a smaller plastic piece measuring about a third of its original size and nine times its original thickness after two minutes in the oven.

Shrinky Dinks were first sold in 1973, but practically disappeared from the toy market, according to Inc. Magazine, a small-business publication. They’re still available now, at about $5 for a pack of about six.

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Pogs

Popular plastic discs called Pogs, which were used to play a game also called Pogs, were all the rage from about 1990 to 1995, according to Mahalo.com, but the game actually first came about in the 1920s on the streets of Hawaii.

The point of Pogs is to stack a number of them on a flat surface, then slam another Pog onto the stack. The player who gets the most Pogs to flip upside down wins the game. Hawaiian kids originally used milk bottle caps to play the game.

At their peak, rare Pogs might cost a few hundred dollars. Currently, a set of 165 Pogs will run you $11 on Amazon.com.

Photo Credit: kafka4prez

Pokemon Cards

Kids love collecting, and Pokémon cards were a hit for that very reason. Each Pokémon card showed a character, with a name, specific attack methods, weaknesses and other attributes used to “fight” other cards. Based on these characteristics, the goal of the game is to knock out an opponent’s Pokémon with an “attack” by yours. Basically, the game is like fighting without fists.

The height of the Pokémon card fad was around 1999, when some packs of cards sold for four times their original price, and the rarest went for about $375, according to The New York Times, in 2001. However, by that year, the market for Pokémon cards had dwindled, the Times said. Today, you can buy 100 cards for about $8.

Photo Credit: luisvilla

Silly Bandz

Silly Bandz are one of the newest fads among kids. They’re inexpensive, at about 20 cents each, and come in bright colors and fun shapes. Kids wear them on their wrists and trade them.

About $10,000 worth of them were sold two years ago, but now annual sales are at more than $100 million, according to some estimates.

The end may be near for the Silly Bandz craze, however, according to Dailyfinance.com, partly because knockoff versions of the stretchy silicone bands are flooding the market.

Photo Credit: stevendepolo

Whether They’re Worth It

When they’re at the height of their popularity, some kids toys can sell for thousands of dollars above their list price. So, if you buy them early enough, or when prices deflate, these toys might actually be worth the money.

Collectible toys help kids socialize, use their brains and build self esteem, as MainStreet notes in Why Your Kid Loves Silly Bandz.

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