Every so often, a simple toy captures the world’s attention, becoming a viral sensation across age groups and continents. Today, that toy is the lato lato, a pair of plastic balls connected by a string that creates a unique clacking sound. Let us dive into the intriguing history, origin, and gameplay of the lato-lato toy, and its popularity across different regions.
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Lato Lato Origins and Evolution
The lato lato is a toy that many people think comes from Indonesia. But, it was actually made in the United States in the 1960s. It was also known as ‘clackers’ or ‘knockers.’ This toy was made for fun. It was made up of two balls, usually made from hard materials like glass or plastic, that would hit each other and make a fun ‘clacking’ sound.
But there was a big problem with this toy. The hard balls could break when they hit each other, and the broken pieces could hurt the children who were playing with it. As more children got hurt from this toy, the FDA, which is a group in the United States that makes sure food and toys are safe, stepped in. They made new rules that made the toy makers take the clackers off the market.
This story of the lato lato is a good lesson. It reminds everyone who makes toys that they need to make sure their toys are not only fun but also safe for kids to play with.
In the 1990s, the toy made a comeback with a safer, more colorful design featuring plastic material, leading to its resurgence in popularity. The modern incarnation of the toy, known as the lato-lato, gained significant traction due to Indonesian TikTok trends. The name “lato-lato” itself is derived from the Bugis word “latto-latto,” which aptly means “making clacking sounds.”
How to Play Lato-lato toy
The toy’s gameplay is simple yet addictive. The objective is to swing the toy in such a way that the two plastic balls knock together, creating a clacking sound. The goal among players is to maintain this clacking rhythm for the longest time. Variations of the game have even emerged, with players developing new ways to create the clacking sound, such as placing one ball on the ground and moving the other around it.
What do you call it in English?
The lato-lato toy has found popularity in various regions under different names. Known as “clackers” or “knockers” in English-speaking countries, the toy even made a Hollywood appearance. Actor Paul Rudd played with it during the red carpet premiere of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania.
In the Philippines, the lato-lato toy is beginning to gain traction, powered by the social media buzz surrounding it. Interestingly, vintage versions of the toy, known as “Ker-Knockers,” can fetch high prices, demonstrating the enduring appeal of this simple yet captivating toy.
The story of the lato-lato toy is a testament to the enduring appeal of simplicity in the world of toys. Despite its humble origins and past controversies, this simple, rhythmic toy has transcended cultural and geographical boundaries, captivating audiences from Hollywood to Southeast Asia. As the lato-lato continues to clack its way into the hands of more people, it serves as a reminder that sometimes, the simplest toys can bring the most joy.