I recently checked in with B, toys, my favorite toy creators on the planet, and they asked me to try out their brand new-ish Global Glowball. Being the clever person I am, I thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day!
Looking at the Global Glowball (Their toys just have the most awesome names, don’t they?) online, I was immediately intrigued. B. toys always has top-notch playthings: colorful but not garish; creative, never predictable; exciting without being over-the-top-in-your-face. And of course all their packaging is recyclable or recycled [BONUS EARTH DAY POINTS].
Shortly our Glowball arrived, so JJ and I (and the pooch) took it for a spin. Here’s our collective feedback, both good and not quite good:
THE GOOD EARTH
- It goes without saying, but Designer Daddy fully endorses the design, colors and patterns!
- Dance party! We turned off the lights and danced around and had a rousing good time.
- Geography lesson. I taught my son the names of the continents, which I associated with different people/characters he knows: Kung Fu Panda lives in Asia, The Lion King is from Africa, Aquaman lives in the ocean, etc.
- More musically authentic than a Starbucks. From blues in North America to salsa in South America to didgeridoo in Australia, it plays 39 songs in all. (Papa’s parents live in Italy, so whenever “Finiculi, finicula” comes on, JJ yells out “Nonna’s song!”)
- Light up the night. Continents are illuminated as a song from that region is played. Total time to rotate through all songs is 20 minutes, so functions wonderfully as a night light.
- Multi-modal. You can put it in “lights & music” mode to get the automatic play-through, “lights” or “music” for — you guessed it — lights only or music only, and “play” allows you to manually push each continent to both light it up and hear a song.
SAVE THE PLANET
- It was a little difficult to figure out how to make it work. It didn’t help that I had an impatient three year-old breathing down my neck. (HINT: unscrew the base from the globe, then use the same screw to secure Antarctica — AKA the battery panel — into place.)
- As a toddler, my son’s first inclination is to BOUNCE a ball. (HINT: Global Glowball does not bounce.)
- His second inclination is to ROLL a ball. The on/off button is big and easy to press (you know, for the kids) so if you roll GG, it turns off.
- While the on/off button was kid-friendly, the continents were too stiff for my son to press. Leaving it in “lights & music” mode remedied this, but initially was disappointing.
- The volume dial is hard to operate, both for my fat, Daddy fingers and my son’s chubby, toddler ones.
- I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it needs to be LOUDER! We had fun dancing around to the music, but it was hard to hear at times over the giggles and barks of delight.
THE BIG PICTURE
Contrary to my not-short list of needed improvements, this is a GREAT toy. The concept is unique, the aesthetics are phenomenal, and it’s nice to find a musical toy that doesn’t play a nursery rhyme sung by a shrill cartoon character.
While GG may not be ideal for a rambunctious toddler, it’s perfect for the outer ranges of the “8 months to 8 years” the packaging recommends, either as a night light or fun musical/educational toy. (NOTE: Once he figured out its limits, my rambunctious toddler has played with it repeatedly over the last few days.)
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Every B. toy you buy helps free children from poverty. Free The Children receives 10¢ from every B. toy purchased.