The Ugly Truth About Creepy Crawlers

When childhood memories turned to decades of traumas & a new toy that changed it all...

06/24/2024, By Dr Emily Stanton, PhD, Child Development Specialist

Person with surprised expression holding craft materials and a toxic chemicals warning sign posted nearby.

Note: Discover how this nostalgic toy has been reinvented to keep kids creatively engaged at home in 2024!

Remember the Creepy Crawlers? These legendary toys from the 1960s allowed kids to create their own jelly bugs using a heated metal mold and a chemical gel called Plastigoop.

Despite these toys being super popular, Creepy Crawlers were also responsible for injuring thousands of children.

What did Mattel, the toymaker, do wrong? What made it leave millions of children without notice? And what modern-day alternative makes a huge comeback?

Let’s find out.

Extreme Heat, Toxic Gas, & Tears of Pain

A child lighting a candle with a match while holding a box of matches.

Was it fun? 110%! But was it safe? Well…

To create your own creepy crawler you had to use a hot metal plate which needed to heat up to 390°F (199°C) and use Plastigoop gel. You had to pour it into metal molds and then heat them until the gel came into shape. It was almost like playing with fire.

Most people remember the iconic smell, but there was something they didn’t know.

That smell was the toxic fumes. They came from the heated gel that could potentially lead to respiratory issues and poisoning. Also, in rare cases, the high heat caused severe burns, making children suffer scalds and blisters.

“The oven burned into my memory as well as my hands”

Adult hand holding a child's hand with a redness mark on the child's palm.

“Nothing ever felt the same after I touched one of those metal plates after taking it out of the oven. Definitely was not one of my smarter ideas as a 6 year old. Still have the scar on my left hand. – David, 50

“I was convinced I could make my own fishing lures but all I ever caught was 2nd degree burns. In retrospect this plastic probably smells like a tire fire to a fish.” – James, 47

“My parents kept a lot of their toys from their childhood. Needless to say, there were a LOT of toys, including this one that I was like "how did you not die?" – Jay, 49

70s-90s Phenomenon Despite Hazards

A family sits on the floor watching television together in a living room.

Despite being hazardous, Creepy Crawlers were a HUGE marketing success.

They spent millions on television advertising, creating a massive demand among children.

And, by the 1990s, more than 15 million ovens and 110 million bottles of Plastigoop had been sold, with an estimated 900 million creepy crawlers made across the United States. But, eventually the company had to shut everything down because of increasing safety regulations.

In the same 1990s ToyMax used a safer light bulb heating system instead of a hot plate, but it also struggled to capture the original excitement and effectiveness, leading to its inevitable failure.  

But everything changed in 2021.

The Modern-Day Water Version Makes Waves Worldwide

Two news anchors stand beside displays showcasing revived vintage toys and 2024 toy trends.

Many years passed, but one man’s childhood nostalgia kept growing. In fact, it turned his life around.

He had an idea to recreate the iconic toy but make it safer.

MUCH safer.

Nathan Brooks, spent six years of his life researching, even hiring some top-tier scientists and risking his savings to create the Aqua Fairy Kits. It’s almost like Creepy Crawlers, but you use room-temperature water instead of intense heat.

Did you know that Nathan and his team use natural ingredients that are widely popular in molecular gastronomy? The same ingredients chefs use to make squishy, tasty marbles, frosty, fruity ice creams, and more goodies.

They tested the kits so rigorously that they received a CPC safety assurance certificate from a US-based government lab.

This means Aqua Fairy Kit is certified as non-toxic, safe, and friendly to the environment.

This also means you can touch, play, and drain it without worries.

Keeps Kids Creative & Away From Technology

A boy lying on the floor, upset, holding onto a tablet.

Have you seen that one child watching online cartoons without even blinking?

On average, kids aged 8-12 in the United States spend about 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens.

No wonder so many of them have sleep problems, low grades, and health issues like poor posture and obesity​. It’s serious.

Thousands of families noticed their kids spending much more time on the Aqua Fairy Kits rather than technology than ever before.

Kids can get creative without limits, and parents can join in the fun.

Why More Parents Choose Aqua Fairy Kits

With up to 10 color gels and 10 unique molds, you can have a quality time together and relive childhood nostalgia without any safety hazards.

No toxic fumes or hot plates. Just colorful jellies that take shape in the water.

All gels contain sodium alginate, a natural substance extracted from brown seaweeds. It’s a perfect gelling agent for making ice creams, jellies, and puddings.

Meanwhile, The Magic Elf Powder is made from certified calcium lactate (a firming agent found in corn), so you can make as many gel creatures as you want.

What AQUA FAIRY Customers Say:

A child playing with colorful toy molds and water in a tray.

Melissa R.

"I feel good knowing the materials are non-toxic and won’t harm the planet. Plus, my grankids love making their gel creatures, and I love that there’s no mess or risk like the toys from my childhood!"

Verified Buyer

Woman and child making colorful crafts at a table, smiling and enjoying the activity.

Bernice V.

"Aqua Fairy kits are a revelation, blending fun with educational sensory play that enhances my son's creativity and exploration of textures and colors."

Verified Buyer

Colorful plastic sea animal toys on wet sand.

Derek H.

"Summers used to be a challenge, keeping the kids entertained without them resorting to screens all day. My two boys have spent hours at the beach, creating and playing with their squishy creations."

Verified Buyer

Over 17,000+ Families Create Fun & Precious Memories

Aqua Fairy Kits allows you to turn simple gels into magical experiences with your little ones.

  • From creating aquarium decorations;

  • Showing off their creations at school show-and-tells;

  • Or even competing with friends who will make the most awesome jelly.

Most importantly, kids set their imagination free and learn more quickly.

Just see what 37,000+ families have to say.

'Aqua Fairy kits promote learning and creativity, endorsed by Dr. Emily Stanton with glowing reviews and happy children.'

Easy to Use

It's a piece of cake! Just follow these 4 steps:

1. Pour The Magic Elf Powder (calcium lactate) into 35 oz (or 1 liter) of water and mix until it fully dissolves.

2. Soak the mold into the mixture.

3. Take out the mold and fill it with colorful gels.

4. Put the mold with gel into the mixture and shake lightly for a few minutes or until it solidifies.

Four-step process for making gel fruits using molds, powder, and colorful gels.

Want bigger creatures?

Give them a couple more hours in the water, and they'll grow in size and hold shape for longer!

So, are you looking for a nostalgic quality time with your little ones?

We have a special offer for our readers only. Yes! You!

Want To Relive Your Childhood Memories With Your Kids?

Aqua Fairy Kits bring a modern, safe, and educational twist to the iconic Creepy Crawlers of the past.

  • Imagine your child’s excitement as they dive into crafting their own creations, knowing they are safe and engaged.

  • Imagine showing crazy color combinations to your kid the way you always did with Creepy Crawlers.

  • Imagine your kids laughing and having fun with their friends safely at home.

With a 60-day money-back guarantee, you can try Aqua Fairy Kits risk-free.

Aqua Fairy craft kit with various colored gel containers and molds on a black background.

Get up to $60 off during the flash summer sale — hurry, sold out three times already!


60-day refund and 100% customer satisfaction guarantee

Here’s A Little Secret, Will You Keep It?

Right now, you can’t eat Aqua Fairy animals… YET.

Soon, we’re planning to release an edible version so kids can not only be creative with colors and shapes, but also with tastes! It’s going to be very limited, so…

If you order Aqua Fairy Kit now and once this new version rolls out, you’ll be the first one on the list to try it.

Wish you love, fun times, and beautiful memories!

Aqua Fairy team

4,800+ 5 Star Reviews




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The views and opinions expressed are solely those of AQUA FAIRY or a testimonial from a verified AQUA FAIRY customer based on his/her real-life experiences. Individual results may vary. While many of AQUA FAIRY's testimonials are unsolicited, some consumers received compensation in return for an honest review.