Ask any kid's favorite uncle the surefire way to a kid's heart and he'll tell you: boogers, flatulence and poop.
This year, toymakers are cashing in on those easy giggles.
Gross-out toys are nothing new. Gooey Louie, the snot-based game, came out in the '90s. Garbage Pail Kids came out in 1985. Before that, kids made their own fun, answering "What's grosser than gross?" on the school bus and battling each other in spitting contests. Grody has even gone highbrow. The Buffalo Museum of Science once featured both the "Grossology" exhibit and the "Eww! That's Gross" Discovery Camp to teach the science behind icky stuff like burps and scabs.
But the trend really picked up steam last year. After kids began making slime at home with household ingredients like glue and borax, toymakers scrambled to catch up with similar products they could sell themselves. Last year, the "all other toys" category that encompasses slime kits grew by 14 percent, according to market research firm NPD Group.
With kids congregating on YouTube more often than at the toy store these days, they make their own videos and leave uncensored feedback. Their penchant for potty humor often floats to the top.
Toymakers have been taking notes.
"We can’t deny it. Kids find gross things funny," said Ali Mierzejewski, editor-in-chief of toy review publication the Toy Insider. "These toys are hot because they keep making kids laugh over and over again."
Want to win Christmas this year? Show up with one of these.
Pimple Pete (Spin Mater, $17). Squeeze out the pimples, but gently or you'll get squirted and lose the game. The game is marketed in conjunction with Dr. Pimple Popper, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, whose videos of patient "extractions" have been viewed millions of times on YouTube.
Plunge It (Alex Brands, $22). Hit the flusher on the toilet-shaped game board to start the flushing sound, pass the plungers around and, when the flushing stops, be the first one to pick up the number two.
Pull My Finger (Jakks Pacific, $19.99). Spin the dial and pull the monkey's finger. His behind will inflate with every pull, finally deflating in the loser's face with the unmistakable sound of flatulence.
Who Cut the Cheese? (Epoch Everlasting Play, $19.95). "Cut" into a wheel of plastic cheese to see how far you can advance on the game board. But if you hear the sound of someone "cutting the cheese," you have to move your game piece back to the beginning.
Don't Step in It (Hasbro, $19.99). Players mold dough to look like piles of dog doo, then arrange them along the game mat. Spin the spinner, put on your blindfold and take the right number of steps. Whoever steps in fewest mounds of doo wins.
Snot it (KD Games, $19.99). Players don a pair of glasses with a long, sticky booger dripping from a fake nose. Players angle to pick up foam pieces from a spinning bowl using their snots only.
Flushin' Frenzy (Mattel, $19.99). Flush the toilet handle to roll the die, then use your plunger to plunge the bowl that number of times. If the (disconcertingly realistic) poo flies out during your turn, you win a token. If you catch it midair, you win two tokens.
What's that Smell? (WowWee, $19.99). This one is for ages 14 and older. Sniff your card and guess its scent for points. It could be something pleasant like apples or tacos, or something gross like a dog dish or a rotting fish. Write down a memory you have associated with that smell and get bonus points if your memory is voted the funniest.
Zits Ewww Pop n' Play Pimples (NSI International, $19.99). Kids who aren't fortunate enough to have gone through puberty yet can apply these zit stickers to their face, then squeeze them until white goo comes oozing out. They're marketed as "more fun than picking your nose."
Play-Doh Poop Troop (Hasbro, $14.99). This play kit comes with 12 cans of Play-Doh (four of them brown), an extruder and an array of Mr. Potato Head-type accessories. Kids can swirl their extruded Play-Doh into a mound, then turn it into a friendly poop emoji by pressing a set of eyes, ears, arms and a nose into it, and topping it all off with a funny hat.