They may have been around since the 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2017 that fidget spinners became the latest playground craze. And whether it’s a tool for concentration or just a distraction, all we know is it’s not the first time a fad has come along. So, even if you haven’t jumped on the fidget spinner bandwagon just yet, you’ll probably recognize these equally wild trends from the 2000s… and get your daily dose of nostalgia to boot.
20. Finger skateboards
Everyone knows that learning to ride an actual skateboard takes time, effort and more than a little bit of natural skill. So, for all those kids who just couldn’t be bothered investing the energy, finger skateboards were the perfect alternative.
Ever wondered where your Tamagotchi is now? After years of neglect, your once-loved virtual pet has probably long since withered and died. But for a few glorious years at the turn of the millennium, this digital companion was your life.
As often happens, the rest of the world was late to a country-specific trend with Scoobies, which first sprung up in France in the 1950s. Half a century later, the plastic threads were confusing kids all over the globe. After all, how many of us really knew how to tie those insufferable bracelets?
Back in the early 2000s, you basically couldn’t move in a school playground without tripping over a Beyblade or two. In fact, the spinning top toys were such a craze that they even had their own accompanying TV show.
16. Pokémon cards
Okay, so they didn’t really do anything. But because of that, Pokémon cards proved that children could still be entertained by simple pleasures. And of course, the crazy collecting premise also helped. Years later, we’re still searching for some of those rare, shiny cards.
15. Crazy Bones
Like many playground fads, Crazy Bones were a “collectible” twist on a classic premise: here, hundreds of plastic figures were the basis for what were essentially jacks. And, of course, the kids of the 2000s absolutely ate it up.
14. Livestrong wristbands
Remember decking your wrists out in all sorts of charity wristbands? While most now lay forgotten, you’ll probably recall Livestrong’s gaudy yellow numbers. After all, if you didn’t emblazon yourself with these, how else would people know how charitable you were?
While Bakugan never really took off in Japan, the TV series that accompanied the brawling spherical toys was a huge hit in the U.S. and Canada. It was no surprise, then, when the strategy game that encompassed the tie-in plastic figures became equally popular.
12. Mighty Beanz
If you’re ever looking to create your very own playground fad, there’s one quality that will seemingly ensure instant success: collectibility. Mighty Beanz, for instance, featured hundreds of different characters across many series, and were supremely successful despite not really doing anything of note.
Pencils that you could smell? Of course they were going to be a hit with kids. Anything to distract them from the monotony of their schoolwork, after all. In fact, some schools even ended up banning Smencils due to them being abused by kids.
10. ZhuZhu Pets
Real animals can be such a hassle to look after. And, usually, kids aren’t up to the responsibility, so that cat, dog or hamster suddenly becomes the parents’ burden. ZhuZhu Pets, then, were the perfect solution: robotic hamsters that didn’t drop down dead if you neglected them.
By the 2000s, teddy bears were no longer just teddy bears. No, like everything else, they had to have a virtual element to them, which is where Webkinz came in. Each stuffed animal had a unique code that gave you access to play as its cuddly counterpart in an online space called Webkinz World. Such was the grim reality of the internet age.
Remember these horrendously garish dolls? Their name alone inspired contempt among everyone but seven-year-old girls, while their success courted controversy thanks to their exaggerated figures and features. Somehow, though, they’re still going today.
Action figures that you could build? The Lego Group was totally on to something with Bionicle, which enjoyed nine long years of success in its original run. In fact, so popular were the toys, they’ve even inspired their own memes, long after their demise.
Remember when the Beanie Babies craze was in full swing? Jumping on the bandwagon just a little too late were the Puffkins, which only lasted five years before being retired. That didn’t stop kids going crazy for them in the meantime, though. After all, those color variants were going to be worth a fortune one day. Right?
5. Moshi Monsters
While predominantly an online phenomenon, Moshi Monsters inspired their own wave of tie-in merchandise that swept through playgrounds in the 2000s. And with 100 million users online, it’s little wonder that something tangible kids could get their hands on did so well.
4. Tekno the Robotic Puppy
Don’t fancy having a real dog running around, making a mess and requiring heavy financial and emotional upkeep? Neither did the parents of the 2000s. Hence the success of Tekno the Robotic Puppy, which sold a massive 40 million pieces in the four years it was on shelves.
Tekno wasn’t the only robot making waves in the early 21st century, however. On Christmas morning, 2004, millions of children woke up to find Robosapien under the tree, ready to walk, talk and throw objects around. And we definitely didn’t all get bored of it by January 1. No way.
If you weren’t lucky enough to find a Robosapien under the Xmas tree, however, you may have instead found yourself with an Aquapet. Included in Toy Wishes magazine’s top Tech Toys of 2004, the interactive, underwater characters responded to interactions from kids, resulting in hours of entertainment. Literally, hours.
Bringing out the artists in us all, Munnys were blank figures able to be decorated however you liked. Their adorably cute proportions were perfect for appropriating with all manner of designs, and their articulated limbs just added to their personality. Who knew we’d all come to love what was essentially an oddly-shaped mannequin?