If you're in Facebook mom groups or following parenting accounts on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a post or two about the Nugget couch. It’s the be-all, end-all of the modern playroom. And yet, you can't even buy one without signing up for a lottery and hoping you get picked. They're sold out until next year.
Why are parents freaking out about a foam kids' couch that, with shipping, costs close to $400? Here's what you need to know.
The Nugget is part furniture, part toy. Made of four pieces of foam—two triangle pillows, one seat cushion, and one sturdy base—and covered in microfiber, it vaguely resembles a fixture found in basements and dorm rooms across the country: the futon.
Because it has so much potential. There are endless ways to configure it and then use it—as a reading bench, a couch, a car ramp, a fort, a playhouse, a nap cot, a rocket ship, etc.—and if you believe the hype, this means it can keep your kid occupied for hours and hours.
It's also available in a ton of colours, and has a cool, modern look.
The Nugget will run you US$229 (about $300 in Canadian funds). It ships to Canada for US$59 ($77 Canadian). So people living in Canada are looking at a credit card charge of around $400. You can also find them being resold online, sometimes for more than $1,000.
Right now, you really can’t, unless you find one secondhand. They are completely sold out. All you can do is try to grab one via the company's lotto. This enters you into a lottery for the chance to buy one of 60,000 Nuggets the company has promised to ship out by Christmas. (FYI, in the first round, approximately 100,000 people entered and only 5,000 Nuggets were assigned). The company says it will be reopening sales on their website in the first quarter of 2021.
With the Nugget largely unavailable, parents are looking for alternatives.
The most comparable is probably the Blocksy Couch by Foamnasium. They look quite similar, except Blocksy is covered in vinyl. Whether or not this is preferred is up for debate. Some parents love the vinyl because it’s so easy to clean, while others say the vinyl is slippery for building. Like the Nugget, the Blocksy retails for $229 USD. (FYI, the Blocksy Couch is also currently sold out.)
There's also The Nest by the Stylized Nest. Inspired by Japanese Tatami mats and round rocks dotting our rivers and oceans, The Nest is made of four pieces of foam, and is similar to the Nugget, allowing you to move, stack and fold to your heart's content. The covers are organic brushed cotton, which provides a velvety feel, but are also water-resistant and, like the Nugget, machine washable. The Nest is made in Canada, costs $598, and ships across Canada for $55.
Our family just scored a secondhand Nugget and based on our experience, I'd personally say yes, it's worth what it costs. We have three kids: a four-year-old, a three-year-old and a four-month old. Our older boys love their “nuggie”— and with one of them being special needs, it provides an exceptional outlet to burn energy and self-regulate. The members of the Nugget Facebook groups I'm in all say how magical their Nugget is.
We all know this year has been exceptional, especially for parents. We're all constantly searching for everything and anything to help keep our kids occupied. Heck, I even purchased a massive play castle complete with bastion and slide, which now sits in my living room. There was the inflatable pool era of COVID-19, the bouncy castle era of COVID-19, and even the crafting era of COVID-19. But I don’t think anyone could have predicted the Nugget era of COVID-19, and how it would come with a 60+% resale mark-up.
When all is said and done, it appears the Nugget is the Tickle Me Elmo of 2020. With no batteries, no light-up parts or movement, these simple foam couches create endless opportunities for imaginative play—and parents are here for it...if they can get their hands on one!