05 Oct, 2008
toy value, and, how to make rocket balls
Mark took the girls with him to Canadian Tire yesterday to pick up a few things we needed. CanTire has a promotion right now called JumpStart. The money from the sales of a special $2.00 tennis ball (pictured here), will help kids in need participate in organized sports and recreation. A great idea.
Customers are given this info at the cash and asked if they want to donate. The cashier Mark got yesterday gave the girls each a ball and explained that someone ahead of us had bought a bunch of balls (20?) and had asked to give them out to the next bunch of children in line. Isn’t that nice?
The balls themselves don’t seem to be super-bouncy, which is important when you’re a kid with a ball in hand. But all is not lost. When you were a kid, did you ever play with a dead tennis ball wedged in the cut-off leg of your mother’s old pantyhose? I did, all the time.
It’s crazy simple:
- 1. Take a pair of old pantyhose and cut off one leg.
- 2. Push a tennis ball as far up into the toe as it will go.
- 3. Tie end.
That’s it. And, if you cut off the other leg, and stuff it with a second ball, you GET TWO.
I bet, if you were so inclined, you could tie a ribbon to the end to make a longer, fancier tail. For the sake of today’s post I’m calling this a rocket ball but I doubt that this is what it was actually termed. I think we just called it a-tennis-ball-in-your-mom’s-old pantyhose. (My mother bought ones that came in a plastic egg, remember those? Ha.)
Not only is the rocket ball great for winding up like a lasso and for throwing long distances, but we also used it to play with it against a wall, holding the loose end while flinging the ball wildly all around us. I’m fairly certain there was a song that accompanied this action - while the ball flew dangerously to either side, above our heads and between our legs - but it eludes me right now.
I was at Tiggywinkle’s (a local toy store) the other day and saw something similar. It was in the section of the store that has loot bag loot; smaller toys like wind-up toys, dice, paper butterflies, etc. This rocket-ball type toy was about 18 inches long (I’m guessing) and made of brightly coloured nylon. The toe (or what would normally be the toe if this was made out of old pantyhose) was a little more aerodynamic. It came down into a loose cone shape, which was also made of nylon and filled with some kind of beans. The cone was covered in a layer of foamy material, perhaps so it would hurt less on impact (?). It was pretty lightweight, and I wondered if it had enough heft to go any kind of distance. I glanced at the price, $1.99. Considering what it was, I totally thought that was a fair price and thought about buying it for the girls.
I didn’t grab it right away, we were there on a birthday-gift buying mission, but I wandered over a second time and took it in my hand for a closer look. I realized I had misread the price. It wasn’t $1.99, it was actually $11.99. Twelve bucks for something I could make with a tennis ball in an old sock.
I didn’t see where it was made, but I’m willing to bet Tiggywinkle’s version isn’t made locally. It was probably made it China. I bet it cost a quarter to make and ship. I was disappointed. Tiggywinkle’s is pricier, I’ve always known that, but it’s one of the best toy stores in Ottawa. They carrry interesting toys that aren’t found at Toys R Us or at major department stores, and it’s in my neighborhood, which is primarily why I shop there. But this was such a blatant rip off. Gah.
But here’s the question, I’m wondering now, if it was made locally, would I have paid the twelve bucks? Or would I still shrug it off and make my own?
Regardless, I’m still going to save my next pair of tights (I have a silvery pair that is past its prime) and stuff it with a two-dollar tennis ball.
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