Squishies – The Latest Craze Sweeping Middle Schools and Beyond
Kids are natural born collectors. They also love fads. Enter: the Squishy. These Japanese imports are the newest craze and are causing quite a stir. Not only are they hard to find, as they are not sold in your average store, most adults have never heard of them.
Today we will answer all of the common questions we receive about squishies. What are they? Squishies are soft “bread like” mascots, shaped as either a type of baked good, a character, or a combination of the two. They are the newest version of the stress ball, yet softer and more “kawaii” (the Japanese word for “cute”). Squishies are usually scented, cake or bread being the most common choice. Typically, squishies are attached to a cell phone strap or a lanyard.
Why do kids love them? Well, of course they are cute. Squishies are tactile and fun for kids to “squish” over and over, hence the name. Add in the sweet scent and you have a multiple sensory toy that can be quite irresistible.
Where did this fad come from? Like many great fads, this is another one of those fun and wacky imports from Japan. Japanese teens (and adults!) love to decorate their cell phones with fake treats, fruits and gems. This is called deco-den. You have probably seen someone with a Hello Kitty cell phone “blinged out” in this manner. In addition to making their cell phone covers as kawaii as can be, they also love to hang cute or funny straps from them. Cell phone straps are a huge trend in Japan, and have been for several years.
In trying to pin down how kids in the US have become obsessed with squishies, we seem to have narrowed it down one powerful source: YouTube. Search the word “squishies” in YouTube and you will find hundreds upon hundreds of videos all about them. On YouTube, kids, and even adults, trade squishies, show off their squishy collection and even attempt to make home made squishies. Two things are quite clear in watching these videos. A. these kids are absolutely obsessed with squishies. B. they want a lot of them, and the more “rare” the better.
Where can you find rare squishies, or even squishies in general? You will find the best variety in Japan. Of course, most parents are not willing to travel around the world for a five dollar trinket. Another place they seem to show up from time to time is in Japan Towns and even China Towns that exist in a handful of cities across the country. The easiest place to find them is right at your finger tips.