It is hard to predict what trend is going to click and become the next big thing. The craze of the moment is to collect Silly Bandz bracelets - also known as Zanybands, Animal Bandz and Crazybandz.
They are on Amazon.com's top-selling toys list, stores are selling out of them and there are reports of kids intercepting the UPS truck before the owner gets the delivery. The silicone bracelets come in various shapes and colors and bounce back to their original shape after being stretched out.
Animals, princesses, sports items and dinosaurs are just a few of the shapes of the rubber-band looking ornament that kids are stacking on their arms, up to fifty or more at a time.
In fact, they are quite low-tech. The item's simplicity seems to be part of the magic formula for a fire-hot craze: colorful, cute, affordable, easy to collect and trade. Think Jibbetz charms for Croc sandals combined with the fervor for Beanie Babies or Webkinz.
After receiving national attention in a recent New York Times article, the demand seems to be spreading rapidly, with area parents trying to keep up with the craze. Some have been searching high and low for the $5.00 package of twenty-four bracelets.
"My kindergartener gets so excited about them and just loves collecting them," said one Larchmont mother, of her daughter who attends Murray Avenue School. "We are giving them out to friends at her birthday party."
Sabine Poux, a sixth-grader at Pocantico Hills Central School in Sleepy Hollow said they were very popular in her grade too. "My friends trade them after they get bored with a certain shape." She has another use as well. "I can use them to tie my hair back too!"
The trading and showing-off of the bracelets became too much of a distraction at an after-school program in Maplewood, NJ, where the director had to ask students to stop playing with them during the after-school activity time. "It was not a ban on the kids wearing them, but we had to put a stop to the sharing and trading of Silly Bandz," said Irene Gallagher of the Maplewood Recreation Center who oversees the program.
Terry Costin, the assistant principal at Katonah Elementary School says though Silly Bandz are becoming more popular by the moment, no such policies have yet been put in place. "We have really noticed this fad just in the past few weeks. Lots of kids are wearing them and we will monitor the impact and address any type of disruptions."
Lori Montag, co-owner of Zanybandz, says that any type of ban actually fuels the demand for more bracelets. "The kids want bragging rights and the harder they are to get, the more calls we get from frantic customers. The tie-dye Zanybandz are the hottest right now." She added that both girls and boys, young kids and teenagers are trying to get their hands on them.
Chances are that we will be seeing lots of Sillybandz on swim-suited kids this summer. But like frenzies gone-by, these bracelets can only stay hot for so long. So until the next "must-have" thing reveals itself, there will likely be armfuls of Sillybandz around your town.