Product Type: Tobar Outdoor Toy
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Who Knew a Tennis Ball and Some Velcro Could Be Such Fun?
Tobar Catch Ball Set
Member Name: jo1976
Tobar Catch Ball Set
Date: 08/04/11, updated on 10/10/13 (99 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to play, inexpensive, amusing for a wide age range
Disadvantages: Set is not very robust, difficult for younger children to remove ball between turns
A neon coloured tennis ball and some velcro-lined plastic discs might not sound the obvious combination for hours of outdoor family fun but that is, in a nutshell, what a simple Catch Ball set consists of.
The idea is very simple, making the game easy to play. This is a game for two people with each player having a plastic disc which attaches to their hand using an adjustable strap. This simple design means that the game can be enjoyed by all ages, from around three years old right up to adults, as the strap accommodates quite a wide variation in hand size. Each disc is covered in a layer of incredibly strong velcro and the players take it in turns to throw the ball supplied and 'catch' it with the sticky disc.
Lots of games of this nature seem to be pretty ineffective but this set really does work. The combination of the tennis ball and the strong velcro means that they stick incredibly well. If anything, the ball sticks rather too well to the sticky surface and needs quite a lot of force to remove it for each turn. That can prove something of a problem for younger players. My middle (three year old) son has tried to play along with this but finds removing the ball far too difficult and soon gets frustrated so does need an adult to help him. This means that he is less involved with the game and gets bored very quickly, despite his obvious pride at being able to 'catch' a ball quite easily using this set.
Older children seem to get more pleasure from this simple set though. My eight year old son enjoyed playing this for hours on end and would often run out of willing oponents as everybody else (including myself) lost interest long before he did. There isn't really a competitive element to the game, as such, as there is no real need to keep scores and nobody particularly 'wins' but it is still quite a relaxing and fun game for adults and (older) children alike. It is also a fun way to improve co-ordination and develop basic throwing and catching skills without having to think about them.
The only drawback to the set is that the pads didn't prove to be particularly robust and the inner velcro lining continually came away from the plastic outer after repeated play. The constant pulling and tugging needed to remove the ball after each turn made the problem much worse. After just a couple of weeks, the velcro came away completely and even when we attempted to reattach it, it wasn't secure enough to withstand play so ended up getting thrown away.
This was a fairly inexpensive little set, however. I paid under the £5 mark for ours last Summer from Hawkin's Bazaar, although it doesn't appear to be available from their website currently. It is the kind of item that should be widely available in those cheap, discount style shops (B&M's and suchlike) or online although I certainly wouldn't recommend paying over the odds for a set.
As a cheap and easy transported little beach or garden toy, this is something that can be enjoyed by all ages but it is not likely to last more than a few weeks of enthusiastic play, based on our experience.
Summary: A fun toy but not one that will last