Hoppity Hop

Hoppity Hop

Something about being a little kid brings out an irrepressible need to jump and bounce. Who among us didn’t assault our bedroom mattresses as if it were a circus trampoline? If you wanted to bounce down the block to a friend’s house, and if you weren’t quite coordinated enough to handle a Pogo Stick, there was only one real choice – the Hoppity Hop (or Hippity Hop, if you prefer).

In their heyday, Hoppity Hops filled suburban streets with their distinctive sound, as happy children everywhere got their bouncing fix. Most credit the concept to an Italian toy maker named Aquilino Cosani, who patented the idea for an inflatable rubber ball with handles in 1968. He called his creation the Pon-Pon. The toy soon migrated to America, where it was sold by Sun Toys as the Hoppity Hop, as well as another version (this one with a rubber animal head attached), the Hoppity Horse.

Released around 1968, and known as Space Hoppers in Great Britain, the Hoppity Hop was a must-have toy on both sides of the Atlantic from the moment it was introduced. A number of companies soon released knock-offs off the toy, but Sun Toys had an ace up their sleeve, one that would ensure that every kid out there would only settle for the genuine article.

While the competition was selling mere bouncing balls, Sun Toys managed to strike gold when they acquired some coveted licensing rights from Disney. Soon after, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck Hoppity Hops hit toy store shelves and quickly became the transportation of choice for millions of kids.

A Hoppity Hop came deflated and was brought to life via a common bicycle tire pump. Properly inflated, the thick rubber ball was virtually indestructible, unless you tried to bounce across a board with nail sticking out of it. Their resiliency and sheer fun factor made them a beloved toy for decades.

You can still occasionally find updated versions of the Hoppity Hop, mostly for sale online, but the newer products don’t hold the same charm as the originals, which were once a staple on playgrounds, sidewalks, and sometimes even the kitchen floor, throughout the 70s decade and slightly beyond. The distinctive sound of a Hoppity Hop smacking on pavement is forever etched into the memory of millions of kids, one of the beloved sounds of the summers of yesteryear.

If you were the proud owner of one of these vintage toys, tell us which kind you had and share your bouncy recollections in our comments section. Let’s work together to keep the memory of the Hoppity Hop alive and well, here at Retroland.

10 Responses to “Hoppity Hop”

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  1. Rod Whitenack says:

    The only problem with this product is that you had to be almost EXACTLY the right size to use it. If the child was too little, their feet wouldn’t touch the ground and they would fall off. If the child was too big, their gangly legs would prevent good bouncing action.

  2. Jaki K says:

    I still have a blue one and my Donald Duck one. They were made so much better than the ones they sell now. My grandparents had a walkway that went through their back yard and I remember hopping along that path hundreds of times. Best part is I now live in that house my grandparents built and my own children hop up and down the path with that same familiar scuffle/hop sound.

  3. Oris Swales says:

    I still have one dated 1968, These toys are tough and will live throughout the ages!

  4. We called it a Hippity Hop. Not a Hoppity Hop.

  5. Paula says:

    I had the red hoppity horse, I actually rode it so much I wore a hole in the bottom of it. I cried and cried because my parents wouldn’t get me a new one. It was a prophetic toy for me, I have owned my red thoroughbred for 16 years now ! ! ! He hops sometimes like my rubber hoppety hop did back in the day. LOL

  6. Mom says:

    I had that exact same horse head model on the top of this page. It was sturdy and fun. Today’s ones sag as the air leaks out within the first ten minutes. They just don’t make toys the way they used to. This was fun.

  7. Tracy Kellermier says:

    Does anyone know anything about a vintage dragon hoppity. Our thrift store has one.

  8. Robert says:

    We own an original Mickey Mouse and original Donald Duck. They have been in our family for years. My 6 and 3 year old sons love hopping on them. We purchased them for $1 each at a neighbors garage sale. What a lucky find!

  9. Robert says:

    We found that because they are built so well, we would add or subtract air to make them fit to our child’s size.

  10. Julie says:

    Does anyone know where you can buy one of these?

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