Slinky thoughts

Our kids have had Slinkys a couple of times — metal ones and plastic ones. They love them, but within about an hour they’re usually twisted out of shape and don’t go down stairs anymore (unless you count rolling them on their sides as going down stairs). Watching our kids play with them got me thinking that the inventor of the Slinky probably didn’t like kids.

I imagine that he was sitting in his lab, looked over at a spring and had this amazing idea: “I can’t stand all the noise the kids in my neighborhood make. I’d love to create a toy that they can only play with in the middle of the street. Maybe a game where they walk slowly, hunched over looking through goggles at the double yellow lines. No, parents will never fall for that one. Eureka! I will make a toy that children can only play with on a staircase! And they’ll have to go all the way to the top and lean over and do this complicated motion with a spring.”


I shared this theory with Niki and she told me how her parents got her and her brother Slinkys when they were growing up in Florida — in a house without a staircase. There was one step up into the foyer, then one step down into the carpeted family room.

A one-step Slinky might very well be the saddest toy in the world. Safe, but sad.

What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing! Everyone knows it’s Slinky.
It’s Slinky, it’s Slinky. For fun it’s a wonderful toy.
It’s Slinky, it’s Slinky. It’s fun for a girl or a boy.
It’s fun for a girl or a boy.

Published by Brian Alvey

I build software that makes creative people more powerful.

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