A Koosh Push

You can squish it, you can throw it, you can take out your aggressions on it. What is it? It’s a Koosh Ball, and it’s not really a ball. It’s a soft, porcupine-ish toy made up of thousands of rubber filaments radiating from a central core. “We can’t keep them in stock,” says Hilda Tellez, manager of the Power of Play in Sherman Oaks.

The Koosh Ball, which sells for between $5 and $12, depending on size, appeals to adults and children. “People like its texture,” Tellez says. “It’s almost like a sea urchin. It feels prickly on your hand. It’s a nice feeling.”

Kids have seized upon the collectibility of the toy. “Kids love them,” she says. “Kids collect them because they come in two different sizes and all different colors, ranging from pastels to primaries.”

At Victor’s Toys in Reseda, manager Ann Kim agrees. “Children really think that it’s special,” she says. “They usually always buy three or four at a time.”


But adults like to “koosh” for a very adult reason: Stress relief. “A lot of adults like to throw Koosh Balls at each other in the office,” Tellez says. “It’s fun for them, and they know it’s safe--since it’s not a real ball, they know it’s not going to break anything.”

Maddening rush-hour traffic gets “kooshed” away, too. “I had one person come in and say, ‘Oh, this will be great when I’m sitting on the freeway. I can concentrate on this ball rather than the traffic,’ ” Tellez adds.

The ball has other practical uses, as Kim has found. “It’s great for holding up a book when you read,” she says.