Monday, June 30th, 2008
Toy Review: Beach Ball Bonanza Super Sand Splash Playzone Kit
Forget boring old sand castles. Build an interactive sand mountain with the Beach Ball Bonanza Super Sand Splash Playzone Kit by Wilson Sporting Goods. It’s the hottest toy for toddlers this summer.
Step 1. Build a sand mound 4 to 5 feet high with the shovel.
Step 2. Keep the sand moist with judiciously applied water from the bucket. A mist bottle will do a better job though.
Step 3. Build ball-sized ramps into one side of the mound with your hands, converging at the bottom.
Step 4. Optional coolness: near the top of the mound, excavate slanted tunnels leading to the top of your ball ramps. Use the racquetball tubes to drill the initial holes.
Alternately, strategically position the tubes when building the mound and pack the sand tightly on top. Then remove the tubes to create instant tunnels.
Step 5. Shape the mound’s backside so that your child can reach the ball tunnel or wherever your ball ramp begins. The mound’s backside doesn’t need to be pretty.
Step 6. Dig a hole at the ramp convergence point at the bottom of the mound and insert the bucket.
Note: Fill the bucket with water so that the balls are easily
accessible as they float to the top. The normal size bucket is better than a
kid-size beach bucket because this is sort of like playing miniature
golf… some balls will overshoot the hole, so use a bigger hole.
(Although, a toddler can drown in a bucket. Supervise. Don’t be stupid. Etc.)
Step 7. Begin playing. You did it wrong if your kid(s) didn’t already have fun helping you build the playzone.
Oh, okay, this is not a real product. If you buy those linked racquetballs you’ll only receive… racquetballs.
I took these photos at our local Friends of the Dunes (amateur) Sand Sculpture Festival. The sculpture was made by a local cafe, Muddy’s Hot Cup, and is titled, Ecosystem of the Snowy Plover. The plover is a threatened bird species that nests on the beach. Sadly, its eggs are not strong enough to weather the ATVs and trucks driven by our more thoughtful beach visitors.
Yep, those aren’t boobs. They are plover eggs.
This was the only interactive ‘sand castle’ in the competition and it didn’t win a prize because it incorporated non-native components (racquetballs and the bucket). It was the coolest thing on the beach though.
One failing of the plover castle was its height. It was so tall that my 4-year-old daughter could insert balls, but not see them go down the ramps. She didn’t seem to mind because she knew what was happening.
This creation gets the mind buzzing with possibilities… Given a beach’s natural slope, you could build a shorter ball ramp with little effort. I’ll certainly be giving it a try soon.