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Everybody poops: Toymakers tap into obsession with bodily function

Consider it the Number 2 toy of the season -- poop-themed playthings are definitely steaming hot among kids, says IndigoKids vice president Lesley Nightingale. The game "Don't Step In It!" is seen in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Mastermind Toys *MANDATORY CREDIT*
November 20, 2018 - 12:35 PM

TORONTO - Poo toys are everywhere this toy season, with sparkly, shiny, squishy, slimy and even stinky takes on the giggle and gag-inducing substance appearing on gift lists.

Consider it the number 2 toy of the season — poop-themed playthings are definitely hot among kids, says IndigoKids vice president Lesley Nightingale.

"We call it 'all-things-gross,' that's one of our big trends that we've seen and some of it comes from the arts-and-crafts trend and DIY of slime," says Nightingale, who notes: "poo is universal."

"It's actually for all ages in some weird way."

It's not just cute replicas of fake human waste we're talking about, although there are plenty of super-soft poo-shaped pillows, figurines and plushies.

Holiday offerings include the Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn, which excretes glittery slime into a glitter potty when fed, and Mattel's Flushin' Frenzy, which shoots a stool rocket out of a tiny toilet.

Spin Master is pushing Flush Force, another tiny toilet in which an array of collectible characters lurk inside the tank, while Identity Games' Poopyhead and Doody Head by toy company Daron both make players the butt of the joke by forcing them to wear poop on their head.

Then there's Hasbro's Toilet Trouble, in which a malfunctioning toilet sprays players in the face, and Don't Step In It, where players have to avoid stepping in funny feces. Meanwhile, novelty company Hog Wild is courting pranksters with Sticky The Poo, a wide-eyed blob made for throwing, squishing and sticking in surprising places.

Ontario mom Melissa Abrosimoff says her three kids — aged 4, 6 and 9 — are enamoured with the stuff.

"They love them, they absolutely love them," says Abrosimoff, a doula in Ridgetown, near Chatham.

She says her nine-year-old daughter is the biggest fan, and is clamouring for a gross-out toilet game for Christmas.

Girls seem to be a particular target of dung doodads this year, with many versions of the silly secretions bedazzled and bedecked with bows, sparkles, rainbow colours and princess and unicorn themes.

"I think she likes it simply because it's everywhere and they're cute and poop is taboo, let's be honest," says Abrosimoff, whose daughter's bed is adorned with two poop pillows, including a flip-sequins version gifted by her aunt.

The preponderance of poop toys has led to a lot more toilet humour around her home, Abrosimoff admits, but she says she's using it as opportunity to talk to her kids about their growing bodies.

"It opens up lots of conversations. When you have a four-year-old who's terrified of having a bowel movement at school, it really is normalizing bodily functions," says Abrosimoff, also brand manager of the parenting website www.nestingstory.ca.

www.nestingstory.ca

Her pre-teen daughter, especially, is at the prime age for frank talk about body image, and feeling comfortable in your skin.

"There's a lot of secrecy around girls and their bodies. Boys fart and people laugh. Girls fart and people think, 'Oh my goodness,' right?" she says.

"At nine years old, she's becoming more body aware. That's kind of that age where a different consciousness takes over."

Ryan Carr, head of purchasing at Mastermind, traces the explosion in gross gags to social media's embrace of the poop emoji, which he says made poop humour mainstream.

"Poop and funny toilet humour and that sort of thing, that's been in toys a long time but all of a sudden you're sitting down with larger toy companies and they're like, 'And this is our pooping unicorn!" You're like, 'How did this happen?'" Carr says.

"I honestly believe it is because of the widespread use of the poop emoji. That started to get branded into a lot of different licensed product and then all of a sudden you see all these other toys."

For 15-year-old toy expert Emile Burbidge, Toys "R" Us Canada's "chief play officer," it's an extension of a broader slime fascination and collectibles craze.

He notes that this year, the manure mania seems to have made inroads into an increasing number of family-friendly board games, which has the added appeal of making mom and dad handle the hot takes, too.

But at the heart of it, the popularity of poop comes down to one simple fact: "Kids really like to play with gross stuff," he says simply.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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