Reviewed by Louise Totton
In our house, Santa doesn’t bring presents with screens – the elves’ factory can only make ‘real’ toys, not gadgets or gizmos. My younger daughter is still young enough for toys and playsets but my eldest is pretty much grown out of them, so finding her main ‘wow’ factor present isn’t always easy. We are moving house in a week or so, (perfect timing just before Christmas!), and we’re moving to a house with a nice big garden, having been virtually garden-less for the past two years, so we’re planning on taking full advantage of our newly found space and have been busy looking for outdoor toys that would be impressive enough to be that ‘big’ Christmas pressie for her.
Wicked Toys, a British toy company based in London, make a fantastic range of quirky and fun outdoor toys and they have some great options on their website to suit lots of ages and budgets, but the one that really stood out to us on their website was the Wicked Toys Body Bubble Ball, which is big enough to be the WOW present and different enough to be incredibly cool and quirky. So, what is the Body Bubble Ball? Well, put simply, it’s a 4ft inflatable bubble that your child (or you!) can wear to bounce around the garden in! Buy two and you can wear one each and bounce off each other, bubble wrestle or even play bubble football; it all looked like incredible fun on the Wicked Toys’ website where they even have videos of all of their toys so you can see how they work and how much fun they are.
The Body Bubble Balls are £50 each and are available in red or blue. We were sent one of each to try out which was great as one of my kids’ favourite colour is blue and the other nearly always goes for red. The Body Bubble Balls come packed in a box that shows exactly what the toy looks like in use – and as soon as the kids saw them, their excitement told us that they definitely were the kind of toy that would get that big reaction on Christmas morning.
Unfortunately, we were sent them at the end of a very wet November, so taking them out into the garden just wasn’t an option for us and at 4ft wide each, they’re clearly far too big to play with in the house. But living in a small village has its benefits and we managed to twist the arm of the lady who looks after the keys for our local village hall and she let us try them out there. Setting them up is literally a one-step process and just takes a few minutes.
Literally all you need to do is inflate the balls – this can be done with either an electric or a manual pump. We used our electric pump, and I think it’s worth noting at this point that the ball’s valve isn’t the same small type that you’d find on a beach ball or lilo, it’s the larger type that you would find on a blow-up bed. Because the ball is as large as it is, you’re not going to be able to blow it up yourself so the pump is an essential bit of kit. Ours was around £7 from Amazon and also has a 12v car adaptor so you can blow your Body Bubble Ball up at the park or if you’re out and about.
The ball is made from a super-strong, durable vinyl material and it felt pretty robust to us. The ball is constructed from multiple chambers which should help to spread out impacts and reduce the risk of bursts or tears, although Wicked also include a repair patch too, should you need it. Inflating the balls took just a matter of minutes and once they’re inflated, I have to say, they look very, very cool! They are suitable for anyone ages 8+, all the way up to grown-ups and there is plenty of room inside them to accommodate most adults.
To use the Body Bubble Ball, you lift it over your head like a jumper. On the inside are nylon straps and handles to allow you to wear and play with the ball safely and comfortably. The straps just slide over your shoulders so you are effectively wearing the Body Bubble Ball like a rucksack and the handles are perfectly placed in front of you so you can hold them and steady your self for impact!
Playing with the Body Bubble Ball was great fun and my girls absolutely loved it. The ball is aimed at kids aged 8+ – my two are 10 and nearly 8 (my youngest is big for her age, so she was fine with it), and the ball fitted both of them perfectly. It was also a good fit for both my other half and I, proving it really does fit all ages.
I was incredibly surprised at just how much fun the kids had running towards each other and trying to bounce and deflect off one another. It really is super fun, and both of them loved being knocked down more than they loved ‘winning’ and staying upright! The four of us were in fits of laughter the whole time we were playing with it, and the best bit was that no one realised just how much exercise they were getting. You’d think that with all of us running and bouncing off each other and knocking each other over that someone would get hurt. But absolutely not – they are super safe and provide a soft, padded landing irrespective of how many times you fall over and how hard you are knocked. Because of the way the harness is situated, your head is always covered by the bubble too, so you’re not going to bang it.
As well as running and bouncing off each other, there are loads of other fun way to play with these. We played a fab kind of sumo wrestling game where we set up a ‘ring’ on the floor with a length of cord and the kids had to push their opponent outside of it, but without running or bouncing. They also had great fun tucking their legs up inside the bubbles and pushing each other around the hall and round various obstacles. The amount of fun that they had was wonderful to see, especially with such a simple product and one that kept them both fully active throughout.
As I said, because the weather has been so grim, we haven’t yet been able to try it out properly outside but once it dries up a bit, I know they will be chomping at the bit to get the Bubble Balls outside and onto the lawn. One other thing that I would mention for if you are playing with them outside – make sure you inflate them outside! Once blown up, you’d struggle to get them through most doors, something that I didn’t think of until I saw the kids trying to roll them into the room next door! The balls are great quality and I would imagine they’ll stand up to a good amount of use this summer. Obviously, they are inflatable toys so you’d need to be careful making sure there’s nothing sharp where you’re playing with them, and I’d say they are very much for grass rather than a concrete garden but other than that, I think they’ll last really well.
We loved the Body Bubble Ball and have had a fantastic time trying them out. I think they’d make a fantastic Christmas present for older kids and are a great way of getting them away from asking for gadgets and gaming toys for Christmas, and whilst they might not be able to play with it in the depths of winter, it’ll be fantastic when they remember they have a ‘new’ toy when the weather improves and especially when the summer holidays roll round!
RRP: £49.99 each (2 for £80 on Special Offer)
For more information or to buy visit www.wickedvision.co.uk.