The Magic of “Surprise” Toys & Why Children Love “Unboxing”

Posted by on 7/12/2019
Wanting to achieve and affect wide-eyed expressions of happiness from children, parents look for toys which motivate their children’s creativity, are engaging, enriching and fun. If these toys also encourage children to be better global citizens, do chores to earn their own funds to purchase them, and engage their imaginations, then these toys truly do deserve parental attention.

The Big Reveal Affect

A child’s senses are stimulated with bright colors, sounds, and the mystery of what is inside an unopened package.  Surprise, mystery or “blind bag toys”, pique the interest of children, making them go bananas with eagerness and anticipation, as the impatient wait commences. These toys, once revealed, are usually small, finger friendly, little collectibles, and may require a little bit of thoughtful dexterity to put the pieces together.  This process is all more than ok with the eager recipients.  Children love looking forward to things, especially when the things interest them, are collectible, unexpected, and very much wrapped up, requiring effort to reach and reveal.  When parents purchase “blind packaged” toys which have been encapsulated in wrappings that keep the contents inscrutable, mystery is formed, and strengthened by natural curiosity.
Delayed gratification enhances the experience, which is about more than acquiring more things; it’s about children, locking fingers into investigatory mode, and unpeeling, or poking open the wrappings, without knowing what they’ll see.  Heightened anticipation is achieved, as the toys become visible, identified, touched, squeezed, stacked, collected, put together, and activated gross motor skills are honed.  Children’s imaginations are engaged as they experience, cause and effect, problem resolution, and the joy of nurturing their unique, creative persona.  Additionally, Neuroscience acknowledges that surprises are an essential element of living a full, authentically engaged, and happy life.

Double Wrapping, Double Surprise and Delight

According to Laurie Schacht, an expert reviewer from The Toy Insider, the very trendy “collectibles category” of toys has had a steroidal growth spurt recently. These phenomena are largely due to the enormous demand for incredibly popular surprise and blind bags/boxes.  Doubly impactive wrappings, offer twice the degree of mysterious fun and surprise.  The colorfully and graphically designed boxes, as with the Lucky Poke Games, or blind bags, must be opened by pealing back the wrapping to reveal, yet a second covered mystery packaging.  Intrepid and adventurous fingers boldly tear open, or poke a hole in, this last layer of reveal. Often the surprises vary from collectible cards, tiny animals, slime, mini food shapes, squeezable creatures, puzzle pieces, and even uniquely unfamiliar prizes. Children don’t know what to expect, and an aura of delight is enhanced with every reveal.  The Lucky Poke Games offer 15 different finger-poke opportunities within individual compartments, for even more fun, and no technology is required. This game offers popular prizes, and unique, hand-made items from Peru, Africa, and many remote countries around the globe. The funds are used to support artisans and grow struggling economies and the families who populate those environs. Children learn to be better global citizens when the purchase of toys which they enjoy, helps others to have a better life.

Toy Unboxing – it’s a Thing

Children love anticipating the unexpected events in life that culminate in adventurous fun.  It seems unusual that receiving something which cannot be seen, would captivate the interest, and stir the imagination of children, for what will happen in the future.  Dr. Rachel Barr, director of Georgetown University’s Early Learning Project, has suggested that the act of unboxing: removing a newly purchased toy or other item from its packaging, to view, interact, and become familiar with its function, special features, interactive abilities, and capabilities;  or viewing others, actively unboxing games, prizes and toys; stimulates the basic instinct of participating in an action which, when completed, has a positive, interesting and pleasurable outcome.

Unboxing, for children, can be magical, as this tearing open or poking into an unknown, encourages them to imagine the possibilities of what they will soon hold and behold; and the endless, astonishing, activities which will be experienced when they can see, feel, possess, play with, engage and be delighted by something intriguing which requires tactile functionality and provides entertainment.

What is it About Peel and Reveal?

Parents, parental figures, grandparents, extended family, and teachers too, are struggling to understand the conundrum of exactly what is so mesmerizing about the phenomenon of unboxing blind toys, and experiencing the surprise related, and mysterious fun that accompanies these experiences. Toy makers have recognized the demand for these toys, as they witness the demand for this packaging soar within the last two years, encouraged or fueled by very relatable videos which depict children and adults, engaged in the process, and sharing their contagious excitement.  

Toy makers are stepping up their efforts to create the kinds of newly designed products which inspire children to use their imagination and curiosity to  interact with fluffy animals which must be cleaned and cared for; or science related little toys in which children do experiments to reveal the beaker creatures they love.  A large number of blind bag toys are educational, and others, like Lucky Poke Games, encourage the” hole pokers” to earn the concealed and uniquely crafted toys, by finishing homework, doing chores, or as an incentive for good behavior. 

Positive Spill-Over - Family Life

The positivity created by this trend can spill over into family life as parents create a home environment filled with unexpected surprises they create, such as designating a “special-activity-day-of-the-week” for saying yes to requests, or baking something never tasted before, and doing it together. Notes hidden under pillows, sudden road trips to unrevealed destinations, and surprise play dates, are just a few of the inspired activities that can happen, to keep family time magical, entertaining, inspiring, rewarding, and filled with priceless love and attention.