Saturday, 23 August 2008

Kid craze: squidgees sweep Cape Town

My sister, who lives in Cape Town, tells me that the craze for squidgees - also known as crystal soil - is rampaging through primary schools on the Peninsula. I am fascinated by this, not only because I - ahem - believe I can take some credit for starting the whole thing, but also because I think the name 'Squidgee' was first used at my daughter's school. When she took her first bowl of these funny giant fish eggs to school, they had no name, but by 1 pm on the same day, everyone was calling them Squidgees, and as I can't find them called this anywhere else on the Internet, I reckon the girls of Roedean school can take the credit. They're also now known as Squishies.

Even more interesting, a rumour that swirled around the school on that day - namely, that squidgees can 'get pregnant' and pop out little squidgees [squidglets?] - has also turned up at my nephew and niece's Sea Point school, demonstrating the incredible power and durability of child folkore. My sister tells me there's another, similar rumour involving sugar, but I haven't heard that one - have you?

I was also very amused to hear the Chinese supplier of polyacrylamide plant crystals refer to them as Squidgees a month ago, when she eagerly offered me packets of square squidgees, which swell up to coloured blocks three times the size of ice cubes.

Another interesting variation of squidgees is the delightfully named Gelli Baff: a bag of polyacrylamide powder that turns bath water into colourful, gloopy goo, and comes with a packet of stuff - salt, I believe - that turns the gunk back into water, so it can be drained away. Available from your local Kitsch & Kool.

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Alison from Cape town said...

Oh wow! Squidgees have taken over my kids' school in Rondebosch, Cape Town too.

We have heard the 'pregnant' myth (and believed it for a day or tow while Mom put her science brain back into gear!).

The sugar story is that you must 'feed' them a tsp of sugar a day to make them grow. Some kids say they need salt rather.... hmmm!

And we were also told that putting them in warm water ("not BOILING or you'll kill them..."!) made them change colour. But then we realised they actually came in different colours.

Juno said...

Thanks for the comment, Alison. I am intrigued by this craze. Just after I wrote this blog post I went into a toyshop and found a little bag of squidgees that contained a large dried bean - isn't that a great idea? Now I'm waiting to see if the bean will sprout. I am going to have to try salt and sugar, too. Juno.

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