Summer Toy Flashback: The Wet Banana

Summer Toy Flashback: The Wet Banana

Tammy Everts
Jul 28, 2009

Remember the Wet Banana? You might also know of its cousin, the Slip 'n' Slide. It was basically a long sheet of plastic with a self-contained sprinkler. You turned it on and when the plastic was wet and slippery, you ran toward it at breakneck speed, then flopped to your belly and slid along until you careened off the end into a pile of grass clippings. We used to put dish soap on ours for extra slipperiness. We also routinely violated the one-child-at-a-time rule, resulting in many collisions and one memorable trip to the ER. Ah, summer memories. Keep reading for a look at how far Slip 'n' Slide technology has come since then...

The Wet Banana is now defunct (so haul yours out of the basement and get it on eBay!), but the Slip 'n' Slide is still going strong. The basic design was first patented in 1961, and now, almost 50 years later, it comes in dozens of variations featuring everything from a wide-open shark mouth to a triple-track (possibly recognizing the inevitability of kids piling onto the thing) to, of course, a Nascar version.

One thing we noted, though, is that as jazzed up as these new versions look, they're also infinitely safer, featuring crash pads, as well as boogie boards to protect kids from the dreaded "pink belly". These are good things, but we have to confess that we enjoyed growing up in the '70s, before safety was invented.

Do you have any fond Wet Banana memories? How about lawn darts or any other wildly unsafe (and wildly fun) toys? Tell us in the comments!

Source for top photo: Flickr user Tod Baker via Creative Commons

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