Growing up in Georgia, you don’t enjoy a lot of white Christmases. Honestly, you don’t enjoy a lot of snow at all. As a kid, I remember school being canceled more often due to the threat of snow than because of actual snow. And so when I flew home to Atlanta last Christmas with my wife and daughter to visit family, I was hardly optimistic that we would experience that rare snowy holiday. If anything, now that we live in Massachusetts, we were likely passing up the chance to build a snowman on Christmas morning. (As it turned out, we were; it snowed at our house.)
What I didn’t know, though, was that my stepmom had bought a bucket of Snowtime Anytime Play Snowballs for the occassion. She thought they looked like a fun way to entertain three grandkids under 5-years-old and figured why not give them a try. She couldn’t have been more right. Three-inches in diameter and made of a patent-pending foam, the fake snowballs are soft and squishy but have a crunchy texture like real snow. You can buy them at Target or on Amazon in packs of 6, 15, 20, or 40 and, while not entirely cheap at $19 for 15 balls, they fly across a room with remarkable speed and accuracy ⏤ it’s wild how far they travel.
At first glance, the container looks like a bucket of giant cotton balls you’d buy for an arts and crafts project. And while it screams “Hours Of Fun!” across the front, one can’t help but dismiss the claim with an eye roll and gear up for a whole two minutes of entertainment. Of course, they’re a cheap novelty toy that ends up at the back of a closet after the holiday, never to see light again until the trip to Goodwill. How could they not be?
But they are not. Snowtime Anytime Play Snowballs are deceptively fun. And not just for kids, for adults too (they’re billed for ages three to 103). We busted them out in the basement with three toddlers and seven grownups and began what would end up an epic 25-minute snowball battle. Seriously, almost a half hour throwing foam balls around. Kids racing around the room, parents diving behind couches, grandparents frantically collecting ammo, fake snowballs hurling through the air like we were reenacting the fight scene from Elf. It’s was bedlam, and nonstop laughter, and we were actually tired by the end. Which is funny, because the container also says: “Exercise and Laugh Non-Stop!” We did! And then we played again after taking a breather.
Even in retrospect, I find it weird how fun the balls turned out to be. And maybe it has to do with low expectations. But it was so unexpected that I later found myself looking up online reviews for them. It turns out, I’m not alone ⏤ everybody is weirdly surprised, at least according to the comments. And while, sure, it’s hard to know how much you can trust Amazon reviews these days, a full five stars (91 percent) on over 1,000 reviews actually feels accurate. Target’s 5-star reviews simply confirmed.
Who knows, maybe Snowtime Anytime Play Snowballs are a one-time good time. Maybe they won’t be as fun the next time the family gets together to play. Never know. But what I do know is that on this occasion we enjoyed an epic indoor snowball fight. We had a ton of family fun and even though there was no real white stuff falling outside, we finally got to enjoy that white Christmas in Georgia.