I remember the catchiest jingle I had ever heard as a child with this unforgettable first line: “Hey now kids come gather round, see what just skipped into town” – so of course I had to see it, had to play with it and had to master it! I’m talking about the perfectly plastic, classic toy known as the Skip-It! Though my uncoordinated body loathed my addiction to this normally kid-friendly contraption, I planted myself on every smooth, hard surface I could find to practice my hops, skips, and jumps to beat my best skipping score (which roughly averaged 150 skips per turn). Though I never won a neighborhood “Skip-Off” or out-hopped my older cousin, the Skip-It was my first favorite toy –I still have it in my house!
Here’s a little history on the Skip-It from Wikipedia:
Designed specifically for children, the Skip-It was invented by Victor Petrusek and manufactured by Tiger Electronics in the late-1980s. Like any child’s toy worth knowing, the Skip-It became a commercial success through its “avid advertisements on daytime Nickelodeon broadcasting as well as other children’s programming.” (Nickelodeon was my absolute favorite channel and it was the first place I ever saw an advertisement for the Skip-It!). Drum roll please… the Skip-It commercial:
The Skip-It was designed to slip onto a child’s ankle with a small plastic hoop, which the child used to spin the “ball end” around in a 360 degree rotation while continuously skipping over it. During a second production of this product, which occurred in the early-1990s, the Skip-It was “manufactured with a counter on the Skip-It ball; designed to make the number of skips impeccably accurate” (making neighborhood “Skip Offs” that much more competitive). Though Skip-It’s are extremely functional, they are also extremely colorful and glitzy with glitter-filled plastic decorations that make colorful patterns while being swirled. Here are a few examples of some super silly, yet stylish Skip-It designs:
There was even an early model of the modern Skip-It made in the seventies known as the “Lemon Twist.” It was made from durable colored plastic piping that featured a large lemon at the end that had little rocks inside, which made noises as you twisted it around your ankle.
No matter what decade you first discovered the active fun of the Lemon Twist or the modern Skip-It, it’s one of those infamous toys that truly only a child would love – for the most part at least. I admit that when I went home the other day, I searched my “I’m too old for this stuff” closet and found my Skip-It! I won’t incriminate myself by saying what happened next, but between us – I’ve still got the moves!
“Skip-It.” Wikipedia. September 24, 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skip_It