Space Hoppers: a forgotten favourite?

History Pop Culture TV

How did you spend your childhood? It seems like the space hopper, one of our favourites here at Koala Chess Art, is long but forgotten. Trading hoppers and hopscotch for iPhones and Instagram, the kids of today will never know the combination of flight and fear that came with these giant rubber balls. But let’s relive them once more.

Triceratops on Space Hopper T-Shirt

Even dinosaurs loved the toy - check out our Triceratops on a Space Hopper T-Shirt

Us Brits know the term ‘space hopper’ but in the US they are instead known as ‘hoppity hop’ or ‘hippity hop’ or even ‘sit ‘n’ bounce’. Strange huh? Well whatever you called it, it was about 60 to 70 centimeters in diameter with two rubber handles to hold on to (for your life). You could even lean in any direction to make the ball bounce that way. Now, it wasn’t going to beat a car or even a bike, in fact it was really quite silly, but that’s why we all loved it right?

Space Hopper Race

The Space Hopper Race - we remember it well

Right. And we started loving it in 1969, a year after an Italian designer patented the design and it was introduced to the UK. It was originally called ‘pon-pon’ (we are still not switching from space hopper) and became a craze of the 70’s.

Tamarin Fortune Teller

We got our historical facts from our Tamarin Fortune Teller, who can see the future and the past

Space hoppers can even be seen in the background of a Star Trek episode. Yup - check out Episode 59 ‘And the Children Shall Lead’. Perhaps a more popular reference - the space hopper even featured in an episode of the show everybody knows - Friends. ‘The One Where They All Turn Thirty’ shows Phoebe bouncing for a mile on a ‘Hippity Hop’ (definitely space hopper) after it was on her list of things to achieve before turning the big 3-0.

Red Panda Pogo Stick

This Red Panda wanted to do a mile on a pogo stick before turning 30

But sadly the popularity of the bouncing ball has significantly diminished. No longer are kids racing (rather slowly) down the streets, jumping wildly in every direction on their uncontrollable hopper. They are now watching Netflix and online shopping. But we will remember the glory days - we will remember the big ball with deep, deep affection. And maybe we will try to bounce for a mile before turning 30 (make that 40…).

Octopus with Remotes

Obsessed with TV, this Octopus has too many remotes and not enough space hoppers


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