How to Play Pop-It Game? Rules, Winning Tips, and Review!

By Kimberly

Updated:

Have you ever heard of the fidget toy Pop-It board game? The Pop-It board game is perfect if we’re looking for something to pass the time or if we have kids constantly trying to touch things. The toy is excellent for toddlers since it engages them and is educational.

Pop-It games and toys come in various different shapes and sizes. Some variations of the game include dice and tokens. The toys and boards have recently become popular thanks to TikTok and YouTube. The toy is a great alternative to popping bubble wrap as it’s more environmentally friendly.

We’ll talk more about the Pop-It Game, why we should buy a few boards, the rules, and some helpful tips to teach kids to win in a game. We’ve got a giant board, and we love it.

An image of Pop it fidget toys to help reduce stress and anxiety in kids and adults and letter board.

Pop it: How to Play The Game

Players use a coin toss to determine who moves first. When the order is decided, each player takes turns choosing a row and pushing as many buttons as they want in that particular row. The game continues until one of the players is forced to pop (or deepen or depress) the last bubble.

Let’s discuss the generic Pop-It Board Game. The game is played on any shape of the Pop-It board without any additional elements, and the goal is to force the player to pop the last bubble. However, there are rules about what players can do in a game.

The player that pushes the last bubble loses the round. This game is usually played as a best out of three rounds. After each round, flip the board over and start again. Some Pop-It boards have mid-board bubbles to track who’s won which rounds. However, if your board doesn’t have these, don’t worry. They’re nice to have but not required.

Now, this game has different variants with additional elements and rules. We’ll be discussing popular variations below.

What’s the Name of the Other Pop-It Game?

There is a game by Hasbro called the Pop-O-Matic Trouble Game. Unlike the usual Pop-It games that involve players popping or pressing the board with the goal of being the last player standing, Trouble only has one “poppable” element. 

There is a device in the middle called the “Pop-O-Matic,” where the dice are contained. Players can press on that device, causing the dome to roll the dice around the container.

Here’s what Trouble looks like.

An image of the game of "Trouble," which uses a pop-o-matic to hold the dice in place.
The game of “Trouble” is NOT a Pop-It game despite its common nickname of being a “pop-it game.”

Pieces are moved according to the number on the die. The player who manages to send all four pieces around the board wins.

This game isn’t a “Pop-It” variation, despite it very commonly being called “the pop-it” game by many families (including ours).

What Is the Object of the Pop-It Game?

The object of all Pop-It Games is to force the other player to pop the final bubble. This assumes you are playing the standard Pop-It Game and the general Pop-It board game variants.

Many teachers and parents have been using Pop-It boards and games to teach kids mathematics and other subjects because the board is engaging.

How to Play Popular Pop-It Variations

Pop-It variations use the same silicone bubble board, though they also use other pieces (like dice or tokens to track the game score). The basic rules remain the same, but each variation adds extra rules to add strategy and/or chance to the game.

Pop-It Chess

Pop-it chess uses a pair of dice. Players decide who goes first using the dice. Whoever gets the higher number gets to start the game. Players use the dice totals to pop bubbles until one player wins. Dedicated Pop-It Chess boards have a space on the board (usually in the middle) for rolling dice.

The first player rolls both dice and pops the number of bubbles according to the total sum of the dice they roll. After that, the next player does the same, and each takes turns until one of the players runs out of things to pop.

So, now we know the basic Pop-It game rules, where players use a silicone toy of different shapes and sizes and the basic rules of pressing the buttons until they force their opponent to press the final button.

Pop-It: Home Rules

Players can take the basic rules and make their own home rules to create their own version of Pop-It.

While those are the simple rules, the Pop-It board game allows players the freedom to create their own rules. For example, players can roll the dice for their opponent or add subtraction or multiplication into the mix.

Also, they can change the objective and make the first one pop everything the winner.

2-Player and 4-Player options

Aside from the two-player board, there are also four-player boards online or even at the local hobby stores. Be sure to check them all out, and don’t feel too bad about buying more than one board because different kinds are available.

An image of Children playing pop it on the street.

Benefits of Playing the Pop-It Board Game

The Pop-It Board Game offers many benefits for kids and adults alike. I’ve put together some of this little toy’s benefits to a household or classroom. I’ve listed the basic ones below.

Stress relief

Do you love popping bubble wrap after receiving a package? A Pop-It board can give almost the same satisfaction, and the best part is we never run out of bubbles to pop. Once we find ourselves out of bubbles, we can flip the board over.

On a deeper level, the act or repetitive motions can help boost concentration and productivity. For example, if we feel overwhelmed with work or a bit stressed, we can count on a Pop-It Board to return to being productive.

Great toy for kids who fidget (kids, kids with ADD, ADHD, OCD, Autism, or special needs)

According to various studies I’ve read as both a parent and a healthcare professional, fidget toys are great for calming down a kid with ADD, ADHD, and other special needs. It will help them focus on a task and control their fidgeting and anxiety by keeping their hands busy.

I mean, they work wonders for kids pretty much any and everywhere.

In addition, if your child has a sensory disorder, this toy is one of the best to activate one or more of their senses due to its bright colors and how the toy is used by touch.

My children are fairly neurotypical but still benefit from having fidget toys and a pop-it board to play with as needed. They especially help during homeschool lessons and homework when the kids feel overwhelmed and need a moment to de-stress.

A great tool to encourage learning and creativity

Using a Pop-It toy to encourage learning is a fun way for parents and their children to learn subjects like math. The games mentioned above already use math problems like addition and subtraction. We can add more as they advance. 

It also develops fine motor skills, concentration, perception, color and discrimination, and several other important skills for kids to pick up at a young age.

It’s a great game for everyone

It’s a good toy and game for anyone in any age range. If you’re looking for a toy for family time, consider getting the board for more players.

Portable toy

Pop-It Toys come in all shapes and sizes, so we can easily bring a small one around wherever we go. We can even keep the bigger ones in the car for the kids to play with during traffic or a long road trip. In addition, it’s lightweight, so bringing it on the go shouldn’t be a problem.

Multifunctional board

This is more about owning the board or toy than playing with it. Because the material is silicone, the toy is durable and heat resistant. We can make small circular boards as a frisbee for the kids or pets.

The small circular board can also be a hip-looking coaster for warm or cold drinks.

An image of Pop-it toys, a multi-colored anti-stress toy in children's hands. Bubble game. Anti-stress toys.

Pop-It Strategy Guide

There is a problem with the basic Pop-It game, which is why people should play it with dice to add chance. If the Pop-it board has an even number of bubbles, the second player will always lose in a 2-player setting. Meanwhile, if the board has an odd number of bubbles, the first player will “lose.”

This makes the game predictable the moment turns have been already decided. So, how do we add a level of chance and strategy to the board game?

I highly recommend incorporating dice even when playing on the small board. Six-sided dice are easy to find and buy. Players can even download an app for it if they wish. Adding dice allows a level of unpredictability in the game, so this makes the game fair for everyone.

What Pop-It Board Should I Buy?

Players can start with any Pop-It board. The small circular board is the most useful because of its portability and because people can easily play with it alone. For those who tend to fidget a lot, it is perfect.

Even for its small size, we can still bring it out to play with another person. It also makes a cute multicolored coaster if we need to use one. However, if we want to play with more people, there’s a Pop-It board game for four players.

A square or rectangular board is a great secondary choice, as it doubles well for math lessons and can be used for addition or multiplication tables.

Does Pop-It Have a Mobile Game?

If people do not want to carry around a Pop-It toy but would like to play the game, there is a mobile game called ‘Pop Us.’ It’s not exactly like Pop-It, but they get to pop bubbles after solving a puzzle.

The game is a jigsaw fidget game that lets us put puzzles together and resembles the Pop-It boards. Once we’re done completing the puzzle, we get to pop all the bubbles. The app is completely free, but there are a lot of ads that will interrupt the game.

When we tried it, the ads were annoying enough that we uninstalled it, and we now stick to the in-person Pop-It board games.

An image of Colorful anti-stress fidget push pop it and pop tube sensory toys for children Boy playing with toys.

Alternative Pop-It and fidget games

If your kids or yourself are looking for other fidget toys and games, here are a few fidget games and toys that are good for both kids and adults.

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  • First, we have the fidget spinner. It’s one of the first fidget toys that started the trend. Fidget spinners are collector items since they collaborate with many brands and media. You can check out a ton of fidget spinner options via this link here.
  • Ever heard of a fidget band? This can be helpful if you are a teacher. You attach the band to their chair or desk so kids can swing and kick the band without making any noise.
  • Another thing is a Marble Maze. You guide the marble back and forth through a cloth maze, though you could also use toilet paper rolls. It’s simple to do and make; you can easily find patterns online and make them yourself. If you’d like to buy a marble maze set you can build, that’s another option.
  • You can also search for Puzzle Pop-Its. A common one is an Ice Cream Puzzle-Pop. This toy is a jigsaw puzzle with “bubbles,” which you can pop after you’ve completed the puzzle.
  • Squeeze or stress balls are always great, especially in different colors. It feels incredible to squeeze away your worries through a squishy stress ball. Just don’t squeeze too hard because some of these can pop. The popular ones are filled with non-toxic gel, but it doesn’t mean ruining or squeezing the guts around is fine. Personally, I prefer the full foam-style stress ball, as it’s less messy and still usable even with a few imperfections.

The Game of “Trouble” isn’t a fidget toy, but it’s still a fun game to get and have. And odds are, your family will also call it a “pop-it” game, even though it’s not technically one. It’s worth having in your game closet!

Next Steps

Now that you’re ready for your next game of Pop-It, have fun playing with your family. It can be a great game no matter how you play it. And when you’re ready to add more games to your family game closet, check out these games.

Resources

Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as gamers.

  • Little Ohana Sensory. (n.d.). Pop It Board Game. https://littleohana.com.au/products/pop-it-board-game?variant=39461906710778
  • Pop-O-Matic Trouble Game. (n.d.). Hasbro.com. https://fgbradleys.com/rules//Trouble.pdf
  • Staff, W. (2022, September 9). 39 Classroom-Friendly Fidget Toys and Devices To Help Students Focus. We Are Teachers. https://www.weareteachers.com/fidget-toys/
  • Pop It Game Rules. (n.d.). Pop Its Toys. https://pop-its-toys.com/pages/pop-it-game-rules
  • This Pop It Board Game Combines Sensory Play and Learning. (2023, January 31). Best Board Games. https://bestboardgames.co/pop-it-board-game/.

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