The Space Hopper originally appeared in the early 1970’s, and is still available today. The classic orange design with the big goofy face (apparently it’s meant to be a kangaroo) is instantly recognisable, and it’s the sort of toy that even as an adult, you can’t resist grabbing hold of and having a quick bounce.
Consisting of little more than a big orange inflatable rubber ball, with two ridged ear-like handles sticking out of the top, all you could do with it was sit astride it, holding on to the ears, and bounce up and down a bit. It didn’t make you bounce particularly high, and it didn’t allow you to cover distances any quicker, but it was still a lot of fun just bouncing up and down on the spot, giggling like an idiot.
Quite why it was called the Space Hopper I really don’t know. I suppose it may have had something to do with the moon landings happening recently, so the bouncing motion was somewhat similar to an astronaut jumping about in the low gravity conditions on the moon. Another possibility is the slightly alien look it had, being bright orange and with antennae?
The Space Hopper as been available in many forms over the years, branded with different cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse or Noddy (or more recently Bob the Builder), but it’s also possible to get hold of recreations of the original design, now available in different colours and sizes more suitable for an adult. If you want to relieve your youth bouncing on an inflatable rubber ball, then check out the Space Hopper website, where they have a wide range of different types for sale. Be sure to click somewhere on the start page to make the Space Hopper move!