Many tend to associate rubber with the words “industrial” or “automotive”. In reality, its first known form was a plaything, when explorers saw members of a Central American tribe playing with a rubber ball in a local game.
Today, it’s not only toys that utilize rubber for kids’ items. Most everyday objects also use it in one form or another. They also have pretty interesting purposes, as illustrated by some of the ordinary children’s stuff listed below.
Rain and swim gear
Since rubber is waterproof, it only makes sense to use it as material for swimming and going out in rainy weather. Colorful rubber boots and rain ponchos now exist because an innovative man named Charles Macintosh thought of making rain gear with this material. Then another man named Charles Goodyear took it a step further and used the process of vulcanization to make the rubber gear more durable and weatherproof. From goggles to swim caps to flippers, today’s kids are typically swathed in rubber products to keep them waterproof and safe.
Daycare and playground peripherals
Enter a nursery or daycare center, and you’re likely to encounter dozens of objects made from rubber. Infants get their diapers changed on waterproof rubber mats, while toddlers can run around in an age-appropriate playground without fear of hurting themselves should they fall on the rubber floor covering. Even the teethers and pacifiers babies use owe their existence to silicone, a synthetic form of rubber that’s gained popularity for its safety and flexibility.
Footwear, athletic wear, hair accessories
An amazing amount of rubber products makes it to children’s wardrobes on a daily basis. Kids’ rubber-soled shoes, rubberized diapers, ponytail holders, and other play clothes protect, hold in place, and keep kids accident-free and happy for decades now. Neoprene is a rubber by-product invented specifically for wetsuits, but because it is stretchy and doesn’t easily tear, is now being utilized for other active wear like shorts and shirts for kids.
Rubber duckies and other squeak toys, lifesavers, rafts, and swimming pool accessories in various shapes have rubber to thank for making them float effortlessly. Indeed, it’s the ultimate swimming pool and watersport material (even aboveground pools utilize it!).
Rest and recreation
You can find rubber products in school rooms, play rooms, recreation rooms, and just about anywhere there are kids who need to occupy their time. From school rubber stamps, erasers, lunch boxes, to inflatable pools, latex paint, building blocks, and anything in-between, rubber has also become a favorite R&R material because it is durable, requires low maintenance, affordable, and is easy to come by.