Skip-It is one of those toys that you can’t believe it took so long for toy manufacturers to think of. Or maybe it isn’t that it took them so long to think of it—maybe it took them until the late-80s/early-90s to decide that maybe, just maybe, this thing could actually sell.
Because on the surface, Skip-It sounds too simple to be a commercial success. A plastic loop goes around the ankle, attached to the ‘Skip-It’, which could best be described as resembling a ball and chain. You then moved your ankle in a circle to send the Skip-It around in a circle, which you then hopped over. It can best be described as a combination of jump rope and hula-hooping (you know, just for your ankle), and is just about as complicated.
The secret of Skip-It? It had a really catchy jingle.
And yes, the ‘very best thing of all’, the big, super-cool addition to the Skip-It that sent us all flying to the toy store to buy a ‘new and improved’ Skip-It--the counter built into the ball. No longer would we be expected to keep count in our head! No longer would we compete with our friends in Skip-It contests (Skip-Offs?) and argue about who truly had completed the most revolutions! (Just me?) (Okay, even I didn’t do that. But clearly this must be the train of thought Tiger Electronics, makers of Skip-It, were following.)
Now, of course, the big challenge was to get to 999 skips—the counter only had three digit places. So if you got over 999 skips, you clearly won at Skip-It. You defeated the Skip-It.
Of course, we were all like, six, so we had neither the patience, determination, nor the coordination to make it to one thousand Skips.
Skip-It, much like Pogs, is a toy that you just won’t find anymore. However, unlike Pogs, it’s not because we all collectively realized how utterly lame it was—it’s because they’re not made anymore. Weirdly, Toys R Us will still sell chains, ribbons, stickers, etc. with which to decorate your Skip-It, but if you want an actual Skip-It, you’ll have to get ripped off by someone on CraigsList or eBay. (Seriously, they sell for like…forty bucks. Whaaaaat? I could make my own Skip-It if I so chose!)
So looking back, just how cool was Skip-It? Well, it was pretty basic, especially compared to some of the other toys of our childhood, and yet, because it was so simple, we didn’t expect much out of it/it didn’t have bugs or problems. Almost everyone (girls, at least, as this was more of a female-geared toy) I’ve mentioned it to looks back fondly on their Skip-It.
I stand by my assertion that it’s all due to the jingle.
Next time, visit our old bookshelves and dust off a copy of one of the most popular, most extensive book series of the 90s—The Babysitter’s Club. But no pressure—you can always Skip-It.
Bah dum cha.