While current conventional wisdom suggests that we should spend as much time outdoors as possible, winter is coming. Just as Marion anxiously watched the flame of her torch go out as she faced a chamber of serpents in The Raiders of the Lost Ark, parents like me now watch anxiously as the last rays of autumn sunshine melt into a long winter trapped indoors, where children cannot easily partake in their favorite pastimes, such as sports, without the do in front of a screen. “Don’t play ball in the house!” is as age-old a maxim as possible. But in this year of earth-shattering tradition, I’ve dropped the wrong ones and I’m actually encouraging my boys, ages 6 and 9, play ball (soccer, more precisely) indoors, thanks to a new toy that allows you to do so without danger.
A caring godmother gave my youngest son, Theo, the so-called floating soccer ball for his birthday. Designed to look like the real thing (down to the black and white pentagons), the lightweight ball functions more like a giant air hockey puck. Although there are battery-powered versions, this one charges via USB; when turned on, a small fan inside draws in air from above and pushes it out with enough force to make the ball hover – or rather glide – above the ground. A well-placed kick can easily send him 15 feet on bare ground and about half that distance on a carpet or rug. But no matter how hard my budding David Beckhams hit the ball, the design makes it difficult to send it too high off the ground, so they managed to avoid damaging our sofas, windows, light fixtures or other bricks. brittle. a brac.
My boys played many games in the narrow, uncarpeted hallway of our apartment using a door as a lens, and a few others in the longer shared hallway of our building. (Unlike the ball, my kids don’t have an “off” switch, so we mostly kept the games inside our house for the sake of our neighbors.) A ring of polystyrene padding around the ball the makes it even more accidental-proof; in fact, I know a few parent friends who let their little ones play with similar float balls, as this padding provides extra protection in the event of unexpected facial crashes. Besides its shape, the hover ball’s LED lights are another detail that separates it from traditional soccer balls – and allows my kids to play with it even outside (on the sidewalk) after the sun goes down, on days where I crave some semblance of normalcy.
If you have the space, WisToyz also sells a floating soccer ball with two goals and another traditional ball that you can inflate, with a pump included. Somehow, the set costs less than the hover ball alone, but the hover ball in this set is battery powered, not USB.
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