Review: Squishimals, K-Mart

A round, yellow Squishimals toy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The Squishimal is a round ball-shaped plush shaped like a very kawaii-styled chick, with a yellow plush body and wings, small orange feet, and oversized black embroidered eyes with white pupils and star-shaped eye-shines, pink embroidered cheeks under the eyes and an orange embroidered beak in the centre of its face. A white paper tag attached to the wing says “squeeze me” in English and French, white product tags are attached to its back and stick out across the underside of its body, and a cardboard swing tag featuring cartoon images of various Squishimals under a colourful header sits underneath the toy.

Price: $9 AUD for the full-size plush.

Dimensions: approximately 10.5 cm across.

This is a combination plush toy and squishy–a squishable foam core inside a plush animal skin. If you like squishable toys but don’t like the texture of foam/prefer the texture of minky plush, or you find that commercial foam squishies tear and wear too quickly for regular stimming, you may find the Squishimals worth the outlay. They are more expensive than many stim toys, but I do think they’re worth the price, as they’re not going to rip and tear under normal handling the way commercial foam squishies inevitably do.

You can get clip-on bag-charm style Squishimals for $5 AUD, but they are a fair bit smaller. This size cups quite nicely in my hand–a little bit bigger than the standard apple squishy, a little bit smaller than the average jumbo squishy. They’re moderately slow-rising–nowhere near as slow as many good squishies, but they don’t bounce back immediately, either.

Mine is very soft, made from a minky-style fleece, and the large embroidered textures add a nice texture. There’s also several seams because of the round shape, and while they’re not obtrusive, they also provide texture for stroking. Because of the shape, they can also be tossed from hand to hand. I really do like how this toy combines the best features of a plush toy, squishy and stress ball in one!

I have two drawbacks for the Squishimals. The first is that they’re denser and firmer than most squishies–somewhere between a squishy and a regular stress ball. They’re not too rough on my hands, but they’re not quite as gentle as a regular squishy. (For many, though, this may be not be any kind of disadvantage.) The second is that they are scented in an oversweet, dreadfully artificial fragrance. It does fade: I’ve had my chick for two months now, and it only smells of anything if I hold it right up under my nose. When I first brought it home, though, I had it airing out in the sunroom for weeks, and while I dislike most artificial scents, this one repulsed me.

I do think, if there’s somewhere safe for you to let the toy air out, that they’re worth persisting with, even for stimmers like me. The combination of plush and squishy has been worth the difficulty of the smell.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on August 30, 2018.

Review: Foam Putty, Lincraft

A photo taken on a red watermelon slice pillow background of a small plastic, sealed tub of green floam. The tub is round and made from a slightly opaque clear plastic; a sticker sits on the lid reading “Lincraft Foam Putty” in purple text against a white cloud over a photo of various coloured polystyrene beads.

Price: $2 AUD for 35 grams.

No online listing is available, as normal for Lincraft.

Lincraft has both floam and air-dry clay available in a wide range of bright colours for inexpensive prices, and I really like that this floam comes in a sturdy plastic easy-to-open tub. Seriously, the colour choices are fabulous. Red, blue, two kinds of purples, orange. Lots of lovely, bright colours.

The container is fantastic: the lid peels off easily while having a tight, non-leaking seal, while the tub part of the container is made from a thick, sturdy plastic. I’m pretty sure that it’d take determination and intent to break this, making it ideal for stim-bag or backpack use. I wouldn’t worry about this cracking or leaking.

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Review: Play-Doh Starter Pack, K-Mart

Play-Doh’s Rainbow Starter Pack, a selection of eight yellow plastic tubs, topped with a matching coloured plastic lid, of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink dough. Photo shows the tubs inside a box and covered with cling film, surrounding a picture of a Play-Doh zebra and giraffe surrounded by leaves and flowers in the centre of the box.

Price: $6 AUD.

I’m not reviewing Play-Doh as such here, as most will be pretty familiar with the product: brightly-coloured, squishable, mouldable, has an unmistakable scent. I was given the large selection of Play-Doh above as a birthday present (both the set of regular tubs in the second photo and the Starter Pack shown in the first photo) and I want to call people’s attention to this set of mini-sized tubs.

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Review: Mango Squishy, eBay

A photo of an orange mango squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy is shaped like a mango with a brown stem and a two-tone light-orange to dark orange gradient effect, splattered with fine white paint-speckle dots. It’s covered with a shiny slightly-opalescent paint that reflects the camera’s flash.

Price: $3.41 USD *

Dimensions: 17 cm x 11 cm x 7 cm (approx).

This was another birthday present from a friend of mine, @ambiguouspieces! I have to say that while I don’t love mangoes in real life, I adore this squishy. It’s so big! It completely overflows one hand when holding it and fits easily in both hands. If you want something that allows you to squish down on it with both hands being comfortably full of squishy, this. The smooth, rounded planes of the mango also fit very nicely in the cupped hand.

I’ve come to really like it’s plainness. There’s no added texture here, no fancy colours, just a subtle opalescent finish, a curved shape and lots of bright orange. It’s one of the slowest-rising squishies I own, although the lack of decoration does make this aspect less interesting than on other squishies.

Folks should note that this squishy is scented and does leave some scent on my hands, but–uncommonly for squishies–it’s a fruity, fairly non-chemical-type smell. Almost like peach, one of my favourite scents. It won’t work for anyone who can’t abide artificial scents, but I almost don’t mind it.

Some squishies are great because they have added texture for stroking or have visual stim utility, but for simple squishing, this has become my new favourite. I can’t quite explain just how good this feels in the hand, so I’ll just say it’s on my chest of drawers with all my other favourite stim toys, easily grabbed from desk or bed. For a simple squishy, I really do recommend it.

* Note: because this was a present, I have no way of knowing the actual seller or the price paid for it, so I’m finding a listing that’s as close to what I have as possible.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 6, 2018.

Review: Duck Cake Squishy, eBay

A yellow duck-cake squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy is shaped like a squarish cake bun with bright yellow icing, small stubby yellow arms and two orange dots for feet. It has brown dot eyes above a rounded orange rectangle for a beak, resulting in a very stylised duck–how a duck might look were it a cake. A black phone charm strap is attached to a plastic eye pin at the top of the squishy.

Price: From $1.19 USD *

Dimensions: 5.5 x 6 x 2 cm

Another one of my birthday squishies is this cute little duck bun/cake. It has a flat back with texturing designed to mimic the rougher surface of a cake or bread, spray-painted orange with some white paint showing.

This is the second one I’ve had, and there is some variation in the brightness of the yellow/orange colouring and the softness of the squishy. This particular one is the softest squishy I’ve ever had–it’s so foamy and light! Like shaving cream were it made into a squishy, somehow! The first one was much denser and duller in colouring, though, so I think it might be a bit of luck depending on what you get. As with all off-brand squishies, there’s a fair bit of quality variation.

Both of mine were scented, but not too strongly, with a sweet bread-like smell.

If you’re willing to take the risk, I really do recommend this. It’s so soft, cute and sized well as a bag charm.

* Both of mine have been gifts, so I can’t recommend a specific seller.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 9, 2018.

Review: Smooshos Unicorn Squishies

Two plump three-dimensional unicorn squishies sitting in the middle of a pink and white daisy bush. The unicorns are somewhat like vintage My Little Pony with a little more kawaii styling, with oversized eyes, oversized heads and chubby bodies. The squishy on the left is white with a pink tail and horn, with a purple/pink/aqua striped mane. The squishy on the right is pastel pink with a blue tail, a yellow horn and a blue/pink/yellow striped mane. Both have large, round black eyes with three white eye shines, two lashes and a small pink stripe for a cheek. The photo is taken in bright sunlight.

Price: $10 AUD on Cool Things Australia and $8.95 AUD on Toy Shop Online. The Tumblr posts links to Sister Sensory, but these squishies are no longer available there.

Dimensions: 12.5 x 10 x 5 cm.

These were another gift from @ambiguouspieces! I understand that these were purchased from a local pharmacy, but they’re available at the above links as well as at a variety of online vendors. Just do a search for the brand-name “Smooshos”!

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Review: Watermelon Ice Pack, Daiso

A round watermelon water bead ice pack, sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The pack is a circle of two pieces of clear vinyl fused together at the edges, with a white-green rind printed on the front side and two rough circles of black seeds printed inside the rind. The pack is filled with multiple small red water beads/orbeez. The pack sits inside a plastic bag with a light blue snowflake backdrop and the header, showing a photo of the ice pack sitting atop a lunch box, has the English text “ice pack” beside the red and white Daiso logo.

Price: $2.80 AUD.

Dimensions: 9.5 cm across.

Yet another birthday gift! I ended up with watermelons being an accidental theme despite the fact that they’re not my favourite fruit, so now I am gifted watermelon things whenever folks run into them.

I’ve had another of the Daiso cool packs that had that very strong musty vinyl smell–it smells like the unholy merging of cheap plastic and my grandparents’ mothball-scented house. I was relieved to discover that this one was only slightly scented and has fully aired out to be a usable toy.

I don’t like it quite as much as my ladybird Cool It pack, as I prefer the matte texture of the vinyl over the glossy, slightly rubbery texture of the watermelon pack, but I’d say that’s more about individual preference than a criticism. The pack is nicely full and makes little in the way of creaking or rustling sounds, very nice for squishing and poking. Unlike conventional jelly or orbeez squishies, it isn’t sticky, and I prefer the gel and water bead cooler packs over the commercial toys for this reason. It’s so much nicer to me to handle.

The beads do slowly crush down as I squish the pack, so folks should keep in mind that they won’t stay whole forever. Eventually, I end up with a crushed mess of red polymer instead of round, red beads. I don’t think this will work for more forceful stimmers, as I do worry that pressing too hard will pop the vinyl!

Daiso has a wide variety of water-bead-filled ice/cooler packs, so there should be a style or shape for most stimmers.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 26, 2018.

Review: Pineapple Squishy, eBay

A photo of a pearlescent pineapple squishy sitting on a red watermelon slice pillow. The squishy has a yellow oval-shaped base with a raised diamond-scale pattern to mimic the texture of a real pineapple, finishing with a stem composed of small protruding leaves. The leaves are bright green covered with a pearly green paint, the fruit bright yellow covered with a pearly yellow paint. A few bubbles in the foam are visible under the paint layers.

Price: $2.99 USD *

Dimensions: 12.5 x 7.5 cm

Please note that you’ll need to select option F from the drop-down menu.

This squishy looks like it should be a jumbo squishy, but it isn’t: it tucks neatly into my palm, easily cupped in my hand. It’s closer to the standard red apple squishy in total size over the jumbo strawberries or peaches.

When I first opened this, it smelt so chemically I couldn’t bear it–a strong, bitter chemical-plastic-petrol smell. It’s been airing in the sunroom for nearly a month, and while it’s still more scented than I like, it now only smells sweet and slightly bread-like. Something like a fruit pastry, I suppose!

It’s very textured and fantastic for stroking because of the deep grooves in the diamond scale pattern. Even just rolling it in my hands provides a lot of texture! The leaves at the stem have a variety of sizes for additional stroking. It’s very soft and quite slow-rising for a smaller squishy, and the pearly paint finish makes it far more interesting to watch–the pearly and metallic squishies tend to catch and reflect the light while they rise, giving them even more of a visual stim element.

My only concern, outside the smell, is that there’s a lot of large bubbles and indents in the foam where it didn’t fill the mould, and I suspect this will be quicker than usual to tear because of the stress on these imperfections when squished down. I truly don’t think this squishy will last all that long under regular use, but if you don’t mind that, the texture is amazing. Only my giant ice-cream cone has anything approaching this for stroking!

* This squishy was another gift, so this listing is merely a stockist, not a recommended vendor.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on September 28, 2018.

Review: Squeeze Me Squishy, The Reject Shop

A photo, taken on a red watermelon slice pillow, of two winged unicorn/alicorn squishies. The topmost has bright pink hooves, tail and mane with a light pink body; the bottommost has purple hooves, purple tail and mane and a lilac spiral horn with a white body. Both squishies are shaped into a leaping position with front and back legs outstretched, and have wide, roughly-oval wings attached to their withers. The squishies have a round black eye with two lashes and a small pink oval-shaped cheek.

Price: $2 AUD.

This is more of an update to a previous review, as The Reject Shop has gotten in a new lot of these mini squishies, both in a select section of characters and as blind bags, for $2 AUD each.

With the drawback of their being scented, I really do recommend these squishies–they’re super soft and great to fold, press and squish. This squishy has become my absolute favourite to use on account of the softness of the foam, so if you’re wanting to stock up on smaller very soft squishes, I’d get in now before they sell out again. They feel like squishing a slightly-melty non-sticky marshmallow!

My original unicorn/alicorn (white and purple, bottom of photo) has two small tears where the wings join to the mane, but I’ve used it a lot–pretty much every day since getting it. I don’t think that’s too bad in terms of durability, honestly, for a cheap squishy: I’ve got plenty of more expensive ones that have started to tear after much less use. $2 AUD for two months’ stimming is pretty good by me, and the tears are small, more a crack in the paint–I’m nowhere close to needing to throw this one out.

The pink squishy has a stronger, more fake-strawberry scent, but it’s just as soft and slow-rising.

Originally posted on @stimtoybox on October 14, 2018.