- Breakfast Blog
- Cereal Project
50 Greatest Cereal Box PrizesBy Mr Breakfast
They're called premiums or prizes... the chintzy treasures at the bottom of a cereal box. From little cars to mini-microscopes, from spy kits to monster mitts, they made cereal more fun and memorable for generations. By our assessment, the best prizes were from the 1970s. The cereals with the best prizes were Super Sugar Crisp, The General Mills Monster Cereals and Cap'n Crunch. The cereal company that produced the best premiums was arguably Post. Now, let's open this big box of cereal fun. Here's our picks for the greatest cereal prizes of all time:
Please note that this list does not include send-away offers (to be covered later) or back-of-the-box cut-out items like flexi-records. This list is dedicated to prizes that were physically in a box of cereal.
#50. Honey-Comb Monster MittsMonster Mitts were found in Honey-Comb cereal in 1974. They were cheap plastic gloves with ghoulish designs. One looked like skin was unzipping to expose bones. Another had blue veins and an eyeball. Another was scaly like a sea monster and, in fact, showed Loch Ness style sea monster. The fourth one had red veins with a spider crawling up them. "Trade with friends - Collect all four Monster Mitts."
#49. Cap'n Crunch Surfers"Surfers Ahoy!" Around 1983, Crunch Berries and other varieties of Cap'n Crunch offered snap-together Cap'n Crunch Surfers. There were 3 possible Surfers in the shapes of Cap'n Crunch, his pirate foe Jean La Foote or his friend Smedley the elephant. Directions: "Gently hold toy under water to fill. Hold on top of the water... balance your surfer... then let go!"
#48. Spooky SpeedstersIn 1981, boxes of General Mills' monster cereals offered snap-together Spooky Speedsters. There was one for each monster. Count Chocula's was called the Midnight Creeper and it looked like a coffin. Franken Berry's and Boo Berry's looked more like racing cars. They were called the Silly Stretcher and Crazy Cloud Car, respectively. "Collect all three speedster styles, and have fun racing them or trading them with your friends."
#47. Sugar Bear Bike ReflectorAround 1976, Post Super Sugar Crisp cereal offered a two-sided bike reflector in the shape of the cereal's mascot, Sugar Bear. Beyond promoting bike safety, the reflector was cool because it looked like Sugar Bear was gripping the spokes of a bike tire like a convict might grab the bars of his jail cell. Around 1978, Kellogg's cereals offered a Garfield Bike Reflector that was pretty sweet, but not nearly as good as this one.
#46. Flintstones CarIn the 70's, you could find a Flintmobile in select boxes of Post Pebbles cereals. A Flintmobile was a tiny replica of the car Fred Flintstone drove on The Flintstones cartoon program. It came in 4 different colors and had a "removable suntop!" The Flintstones have been mascots for Pebbles cereals since Fruity Pebbles debuted in 1969. In 1995, Pebbles cereals revamped this prize with a send-away offer for a Hot Wheels Color Changing Flintstones Flintmobile that changed color when it got wet.
#45. Wheat & Rice Honeys Two-Stage RocketWheat Honeys and Rice Honeys were popular cereals from Nabisco in the late 50s and early 60s. Our favorite prize from those cereals was a spring-propelled Two-Stage Rocket. "Free High-Flying Two Stage Rocket. Count down... press the launcher... and off it zooms, separating mid-air! Comes in red or blue. Made of sturdy plastic. Fire when ready."
#44. Bobbing Cuckoo BirdsIn the late 60s, Cocoa Puffs offered Bobbing Cuckoo Birds in the shape of Sonny The Cuckoo Bird (the cereal's most notable mascot) or Gramps (Sonny's grandpa). To explain how it works, I give you part of a jingle used in a TV ad: "Hold the pole like so... tap him and he goes... Bobbing Cuckoo Bird... tilts right down, sitting on a spring... hanging on a ring... doing his thing... Bopping all the while, making you smile... Bobbing Cuckoo Bird!"
#43. King Vitaman's Royal Racing Coach"Rev it up and away you go! Kings used to ride in Royal Coaches that looked like this and were drawn by horses. King Vitaman is so up-to-date, his Royal Coach runs on gyro power. Just rev it up and watch it whiz along." King Vitaman is a cereal that was introduced by Quaker in 1970. While hard to find, the cereal is still available. We think this prize was offered in late 70s or early 80s.
#42. Monster Disguise Stickers"Peel 'em off. Stick 'em on. Scare your friends." In 1987, boxes of Count Chocula and Franken Berry contained one of three sets of Monster Disguise Stickers. You could use them to have scary eyebrows, bloody fangs, facial scars, a bolt in your neck or even another eye in the middle of your forehead.
#41. Minion BuddiesIn 2015, General Mills put Minion Buddy figurines in boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios, Banana Nut Cheerios and 6 other cereals. This coincided with the release of the film Minions. Minion Buddies actually first debuted as a cereal prize in 2013 as a cross promotion for the film Despicable Me 2. The figures had a string on the top so you could use them as Christmas tree ornaments. By 2015, inside-the-box toy prizes were rare which make these a little more special.
#40. Glow-In-The-Dark Wacky WallWalkersAround 1986, Kellogg's Froot Loops and Corn Pops offered what is sometimes sold in toy stores as Wacky Tacky Octopus Wall Walkers. "Toss it on walls. It tumbles and crawls down. New Wacky WallWalkers come in four glow-in-the-dark colors... collect all four, and race in the dark." Three years earlier, some Kellogg's cereals offered Wacky WallWalkers that did not glow in the dark.
#39. Pebbles Color Changing DinosaursA couple times in the 90's, both Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles offered Color Changing Dinosaurs. The small plastic figures had to be dipped in ice water to change color. Room temperature water would not work. In 1995, the dinosaurs available were a brachiosaurus, a stegosaurus, a parasaurolophus or a dimetrodon.
#38. Urkel For President Campaign ButtonsIf you were a kid in the 90's, you probably loved, or at least tolerated, a character named Steve Urkel from the ABC TV sitcom Family Matters. The lovable nerd was so popular that Ralston gave him his own cereal called Urkel-Os in 1991. The company capitalized on election fever of the Clinton / Bush Sr. presidential campaigns at the time and promoted their new cereal with an Urkel For President cereal box that featured a "Win A Trip To Washington D.C.!" sweepstakes on the back of the box and some pretty nifty campaign buttons within.
#37. Quisp Gyro Trail BlazerAs described on the 1973 cereal box: "See Quisp 'rev out' on his new gyro cycle. It's swift, speedy and has the go power of the double wheel gyro gear system. It's completely assembled and ready to rev up and move out!" When this premium appeared, a partner cereal to Quisp called Orange Quangaroos had a similar premium called Simon's Gyro Scrambler. Quisp also offered a Gyro Unicycle that was similar and equally as cool.
#36. Monster Bike SpinnersThere were four bike spinners available around 1975 in boxes of Count Chocula, Franken Berry, Boo Berry and (the lesser known) Fruit Brute. You would snap them onto the handlebars of your bike and if you rode fast enough a propeller would spin. "Riding your bike can be more fun when you have a Monster Bike Spinner. Each spinner is made of durable plastic and comes in four different colors. Collect all four Monster Bike Spinners."
#35. Alpha-Bits Pocket PrinterIn reality, this Pocket Printer from Alpha-Bits around 1973 was actually a pocket embosser. You'd slip the edge of a piece of paper into the device and then press a key while squeezing the back. A faint letter (or other symbol) would then be slightly raised and visible. There were 2 Pocket Printers available: 1) an alphabet embosser; or 2) a symbols & numbers embosser. "Prints names, notes, secret messages. Simply press each tab between forefinger and thumb. Collect both embossers!"
#34. Crunch Berries StoryscopeIn 1972, select boxes of Crunch Berries cereal had a Storyscope inside... a wrist-watch style magnifying viewer with cut-out discs containing short Cap'n Crunch adventure stories. "Now you can really catch the Crunchberry Beast in action on Storyscope. It's fun! Everything you need is right here... just cut the Storyscope discs from the box... insert the adventure into the Storyscope and turn the disc. The special adjustable magnifying lens will make the action adventures bigger."
#33. Star Wars Droid ViewersIn 2015, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and 4 other General Mills cereals had Star Wars Droid Viewers in the box in celebration of the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There were 6 possible Droid Viewers including C-3P0 and R2-D2. A 7th (BB-8) was available exclusively at Target. The cool aspect of these viewers was that you'd look through a little lens and see an image from the blockbuster movie before it premiered in theaters. The Force was strong with this one.
#32. Glow In The Dark Monster HeadsIn 1976, you could get 1 of 4 glow in the dark plastic monster heads from specially marked boxes of Super Sugar Crisp. There was the Mummy, Frankenstein, The Wolfman and the Phantom of the Opera. "Hold your MONSTER head next to a bright light for a minute or so. Turn out all the lights and see how it glows in the dark with a weird, spooky gleam. Repeat process when glow fades." These heads could also be used as finger puppets. This prize narrowly beat out Glow In the Dark Creeping Monsters from Honey-Comb cereal (1976) for this spot on the list.
#31. Cinnamon Crunch Mini-BinocularsJean LaFoote's Cinnamon Crunch was a Cap'n Crunch spin-off introduced in 1973. These mini-binoculars were a prize around the time the cereal first appeared. "Now - with Cap'n Crunch's fixed focus 3-power mini-binoculars - you can see far away things up close. Watch birds in your yard... examine your friends' funny faces - up close... or pretend you're the Great Cap'n searching for pirates!" The binoculars were also available in boxes of another now-gone Cap'n Crunch cereal called Vanilly Crunch.
#30. Super Sugar Crisp Action PinballIn 1978, Super Sugar Crisp offered Action Pinball Games. There were 6 to collect including an Animal Fun game, a Shooting Stars game and a Sugar Bear game (the best one). "Sturdy action pinball games come complete with action trigger arm and three to five pinballs for long lasting fun. Trade with your friends."
#29. Monster Cereals Puff Chute!This premium appeared in boxes of Franken Berry, Count Chocula, Boo Berry and Fruit Brute Cereals around 1975 or 1976. There were four different ones available. They consisted of the cereal's character in tiny plastic form attached to a parachute. After the plastic Puff Chute was assembled, you would fold it up and slip it into a provided tube. Then, you would blow or "puff" into the tube - shooting the monster into the air. Ideally, the the chute would open and the character would drift down to the ground.
#28. Nabisco SpoonmenIn 1958, Nabisco Shredded Wheat Juniors offered a "Plastic Spoonman From Outer Space." There were three Spoonmen available: Munchy, Crunchy & Spoon-Size. They were cute figurines designed to ride on your spoon as you ate your cereal. Another Nabisco cereal called Wheat Honeys offered Winnie The Pooh Breakfast Buddies designed to fit on the side of your cereal bowl as you ate.
#27. Honey-Comb Around-A-Corner ViewersIf you ever wanted to spy around the corner on your neighbors, Honey-Comb cereal had the answer in 1973. They gave away Around-A-Corner Viewers in select boxes. The viewers were small plastic periscopes that came in orange, blue or yellow. "Now, I can see sideways," exclaimed a girl in a TV ad. Spy toys were all the rage in 1973. The Watergate scandal was in full gear and Roger Moore had just made his debut as James Bond in Live And Let Die.
#26. Flintstone Rock GrabberYabba Dabba Doo! In 1974, boxes of Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles offered 1 of 3 plastic Rock Grabbers in either red, yellow or blue. They extended from about 4 inches to 8 and 1/2 inches. The box illustrated that they were good for picking up leaves, feathers and toothpicks. Think of them as kids versions of E-Z Reachers that seniors might use to reach a can of soup from a high shelf, only better because they had Fred Flintstone on the handle.
#25. Cap'n Crunch Fun Globes"Wow... Spinning Earth and 'Glow-in-the-Dark' Moon Globes! Fun to put together... Fun to play with!" These prizes were offered in boxes of Cap'n Crunch's Peanut Butter Crunch cereal in 1980. In 1987, varieties of Cap'n Crunch offered the same prizes but with the addition of a Golden Globe which may have been meant to represent the sun.
#24. Wheaties Solid Steel License PlatesIn 1954, Wheaties offered miniature solid steel license plates "from all 48 states." This was before Alsaka and Hawaii became states. You'd get one license plate in each box of Wheaties and there was an offer to buy sets of 12 license plates for a quarter on the back of the box. "Finished in Colors of Official State Plates! Complete with Holes for Easy Attachment! Raised Numbers Like Official Plates!"
#23. Sugar Smacks Star Trek BadgesStar Date: 1969. Specially marked packages of Sugar Smacks cereal featured Mr. Spock on the front of the box and inside was one of 5 Star Trek Badges. There was a Capt. Kirk badge, a Mr. Spock badge, a nondescript Star Trek Captain badge, a Sulu badge and a Dr. McCoy badge. Interestingly, overseas in England their boxes of Sugar Smacks had Dr. Who badges. Sugar Smacks' short-lived slogan at this time was "Space energy comes from Sugar Smacks."
#22. Jetsons Lunar LauncherJetsons Cereal came out in 1990 and lasted only a short time. The Lunar Launchers were circular propellers that would fly into the air when you quickly pulled a toothed handle from a base that caused the propeller to spin. Or as the box described it: "Lunar Launchers are soaring fun! Just send the Launcher into orbit and watch it sail away into the wild blue yonder! Lunar Launchers come in three cosmic colors so collect all three!"
#21. Glow-In-The-Dark Spooky PirateThis premium was available in boxes of Cap'n Crunch cereal around 1978. "Jiggle the string and turn off the light. Spooky Pirate will dance and glow bright! Expose him to light for a few minutes and he'll glow in the dark. What could be spookier... or more fun?" Throughout its long existence, Cap'n Crunch has also offered glow-in-the-dark acrobats and glow-in-the-dark ghostly hand and foot prints.
#20. Super Sugar Crisp Mystery BallOutlook good... that you would remember this prize if you got it in Super Sugar Crisp in 1981. It was a tiny version of The Magic 8 Ball. The Mystery Ball contained a paper cube with 6 possible answers (as opposed to the Magic 8 Ball's 20 answers). "Shake the ball and look through the magnifying glass on the bottom for your answer!" The box showed kids asking it if they would win the big game or get their wish.
#19. Glow-In-The-Dark PensThis premium was available in boxes of Super Sugar Crisp around 1973. Instructions on the box said: "Hold the pen next to a light for a minute or so... and then go into a dark room. Your pen will really glow!!!" Also in the mid-70's, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles offered a glow-in-the-dark Dinosaur Pen, but only the pen cap glowed so it wasn't quite as cool as this one.
#18. FreakmobilesIn 1975, Freakies Cereal from Ralston offered 1 of 7 Freakmobiles in select boxes. These cars were especially fun because they were launched with an included "air booster". Imagine if you fit a small plastic ball in the mouth of plastic soda bottle and then smashed the bottle to shoot out the air. "Freakmobiles are made of lightweight plastic. And each Freakmobiles is the color of the Freakie driving it. Everything from quiet blue for Snorkeldorf to shocking pink for Goody-Goody."
#17. Actual Working "Atomic Sub"In the early 60s, several varieties of Kellogg's cereals offered small plastic submarines that were called either atom subs or atomic subs, depending on the cereal box. As opposed to Uranium or Plutonium, these subs were fueled by baking powder which caused the subs to crash dive into the water and resurface. "Collect a fleet of these great little subs and race them. Oceans of fun! (in the bathtub or washbasin)" As decades passed, other cereals offered similar products like the Cap'n Crunch Super Sub offered in the 70s.
#16. Kellogg's Light-Up Saber SpoonsIn celebration of the film Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), several brands of Kellogg's cereal - including Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks - offered Light-Up Saber Spoons. "Start your day with real Jedi action. Watch spoon light up when you press the button to activate The Force within. Master your moves and let the battle begin! Blast your way through breakfast!" Harder to find are similar Indiana Jones Light-Up Adventure Spoons released for the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by Kellogg's a couple of years later in 2008.
#15. Wheaties MicroscopeIn the 1950s, Wheaties cereal offered a snazzy little 2-inch high microscope with an adjustable focusing lens designed by General Scientific Corp. "Kids! Explore the Wonders of Nature with your 6 Power Microscope Free in this Box! Magnifies objects to 6 times normal size. See things invisible to the naked eye on leaves, flowers, insects (and) rocks."
#14. Secret Agent Ring, Pen And WatchIn the mid 1960s, Chex cereals (then made by Ralston) offered up some pretty exciting spy gear. Boxes of Wheat Chex had a Decoder Ring. Boxes of Corn Chex had a Secret Message Watch. And boxes of Rice Chex completed the espionage trifecta with an Invisible Ink Pen. You can occasionally see the Decoder Ring and Secret Message Watch popping up on eBay selling for $20 or $30 a piece.
#13. Beatles' Rub-OnsIn 1968 (coinciding with the release of the film "Yellow Submarine"), boxes of Nabisco Rice Honeys and Wheat Honeys featured Beatles-themed boxes and Beatles' Rub-Ons as prizes. "8 different rub-on sheets - with all the fantastic characters from the 'Yellow Submarine' movie. Easy to put on - rub 'em on books, your cereal bowl, everywhere." These Beatles cereal boxes are some of the most prized and valuable boxes among cereal box collectors - garnering around $1,000 in online auctions.
#12. Dragnet WhistleThis one is from Kellogg's Corn Flakes in 1955. It wasn't just a Dragnet Whistle. It was the "Official Jack Webb Dragnet Whistle" with the "Official Dragnet Emblem" that made a "shrill police sound." Plus, the back of the box included a cut-out Dragnet Jr. Deputy I.D. Card and Badge. The police drama Dragnet starring Jack Webb was the 8th highest rated TV show at the time this premium was available.
#11. Cookie-Crisp Mini-SkateBoardsThere were six possible balloon-powered mini-skateboards available in boxes of Cookie-Crisp in 1979. The best one had an etching of cereal mascot Cookie Jarvis on the board. Other awesome balloon powered prizes from the 70s include Balloon Racers from Peanut Butter Crunch, Freakies Speed Boats from Freakies cereal and Sir Grapefellow's Air Car from General Mills' short-lived Sir Grapefellow cereal.
#10. Pep Comic ButtonsThese pins appeared in boxes of Kellogg's Pep cereal around 1948. They're significant because it's likely the first time a prize was placed in a cereal box. Before then, grocers would give you prizes at the cash register. "18 different famous characters pictured on metal buttons with pins." They included Dagwood, Blondie, Popeye, Olive Oyl, Andy Gump and Superman - and some that are now totally obscure like Lord Plushbottom and Uncle Willie. "Get them all! Trade them. Pin them to hats, sweaters, jackets. They're new! They're the fad!"
#9. Apple Jacks Ghost DetectorThis 1989 prize was so spooky - it included this disclaimer: "The Ghost Detector is a toy created for play and amusement. There are no real ghosts." According to the box, if the Ghost Detector moved around on your hand, it meant there were no ghosts in your room. But every kid knew, if it moved then there were some mother fudging ghosts!
#8. Kellogg's StarbotsStarbots were Kellogg's answer to the popularity of The Transformers in and around 1984. Unlike Transformers which were usually cars and trucks that transformed into robots, Starbots were airplanes, rockets and spaceships. They were available in Honey Smacks, Froot Loops, OJ's, Apple Jacks and other Kellogg's cereals. "Have plenty of fun on land and in the air as you change each Starbot from a sleek flying aircraft to a land-roving robot. Decorate them with decals inside and build a complete fleet. There is one converting robot type toy in each specially marked Kellogg's cereal package."
#7. Kellogg's Frogmen"They swim... They dive... They surface... All by themselves!" There were three possible U.S. Navy Frogmen available in boxes of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes in 1954 and 1955: an obstacles scout, a demolitions expert or a torch man. "Fuel them up with high pressure propellant and WHAM... they dive into action to carry on underwater demolition duties." The high pressure propellant was ordinary household baking powder that you placed in the foot of each Frogman.
#6. Pink Panther 5 In 1 Spy KitPink Panther Flakes was a short-lived cereal introduced by Post in 1973. That was the year that this Pink Panther-shaped 5 In 1 Spy Kit was available as a prize. It was a secret signal whistle with a secret magnifying glass, a secret telescope and a secret message slot. It was designed to fit into a shirt pocket where it looked like a harmless Pink Panther figurine - hiding the fact that is was in actuality an all-purpose spy kit.
#5. Honey-Comb Digital WatchesTo have a send-away offer to get a watch from a cereal wasn't unusual, but to have a working watch actually inside the box was very exciting for kids. To make matters even more incredible, it didn't display just the time. It could also show the date! From what we could find looking at pictures, there were as many as 8 different styles available over a couple years. The best ones had the Honey-Comb logo and graphic interpretations of the cereal pieces.
#4. Free Cash In Every Box!In 1986, Almond Delight cereal was introduced by Ralson with an exciting in-the-box promotion. "Pssst... Want cash? Free? Every box has cash from around the world - U.S. money in every 43rd box. It might be worth less than a penny, BUT it might be worth up to $500. Wow." Another delightfully deceptive cash-in-the-box promotion from Almond Delight featured historic U.S. currency.
#3. Deed To 1-Inch Of Land In The YukonIn 1955, Quaker Cereals including Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat offered a "real deed of ownership to 1 square inch of land in Yukon Gold Rush Country!" The prize was part of cross promotion with the radio show Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. "Just sign your name to deed... and become owner of property in famous Gold Rush country!" The deeds are worthless today, but can easily garner $15 or $20 on eBay as a piece of memorabilia.
#2. Alpha-Bits TerrariumsIn 1980, Post Alpha-Bits cereal enticed kids to "start growing your own garden with one of 3 different Terrariums inside." The terrariums looked cool and they actually worked. Depending on the terrarium you got, you would grow either sweet basil, fine curled cress (also called Garden Cress) or violet queen alyssum (also called Alisons). So now if you're ever asked if a cereal ever contained basil, you can give a real good wise-guy reply. This premium was also available in Post Super Sugar Crisp.
#1. Sugar Bear 3 In 1 Yo-YoThis combination yo-yo, whistle and puzzle came in boxes of Super Sugar Crisp in 1974. "IT'S A YO-YO. Do all tricks a regular yo-yo does. Sleep it... Spin it... Walk it... Fly it 'round the world. 2-inch diameter. IT'S A WHISTLE. On one side of the yo-yo, there's a Sugar Bear whistle... plus a whistle code for sending messages to your friends! IT'S A PUZZLE. On the other side, the yo-yo has a ball puzzle game. Easy to assemble. Available in red, blue and yellow. COLLECT ALL THREE!"
Honorable Mention (Just Missed The List)
- Rice Krinkes So-Hi Rickshaw Racer (1963)
- Wheat Honeys Western Mystery Horse (1959)
- Quisp Moonwalker (1969)
- Trix Whistle/Magnifying Glass (1960s)
- Cap'n Crunch Glow-In-The-Dark Circus Acrobats (1970s)
- Super Sugar Crisp Twin-Hull Air Boat (1970s)
As time goes on, I'll be expanding this article. If you think of a prize that should be added to the list, please let me know by reaching out on Facebook or Twitter (links below). Thanks!
If you enjoyed this article, check out the 100 All-Time Greatest Breakfast Cereals as voted on by visitors to MrBreakfast.com.
This article was written by Mr Breakfast (aka Eddy Chavey).
The editorial content above may not be reproduced without the written permission of MrBreakfast.com. Please contact us for reprint requests.