Outdoors 433

Published on June 25th, 2009 | by Greg


The Ball That Spins, and Birdies That Speed

Yackle Ball, a bold choice of name for combining sounds that evoke “tickle” and “yack,” looked at first like cross-shaped, plushy throwing device. According to the also-oddly-named maker Ttalf Toys, it’s that’s safe for all ages. And can be easily thrown in a rotational spin by grabbing one of its four hand holds. If you experiment a little, you can find a few other ways of throwing it and can get some real force behind your throws.

The device is unfortunately a little heavy, which makes it good for a workout and not carried away by the wind, but not as fun for younger kids (a smaller junior model is available). However, it’s easier to throw and catch than a frisbee, football, or many other toys for the younger ages. We tried one with a glow-in-the-dark feature, but like many glow-in-the-dark toys we’ve encountered in the past, it takes a while to charge up and does not let off a very vibrant glow. They also come in many colors.

It’s also a puppy magnet. While playing with the Yackle Ball in the park, a random dog came up to us and stole the Yackle Ball away. It looks like a big chew toy to most dogs and if you’re around one of our canine friends, you may have to be on your guard if you don’t want to share. They run between $20-$35 depending on the model, and are available online in this area but in some stores in the South.

The second toy, highly recommended, is Speedminton. It is basically like badminton, except that those feather birdies that always seem to have only one feather left are replaced by swifter, aerodynamic plastic ones. The difference is immense. We’ve previously taken a look, and are happy to report that the game remains the same: fast-paced, easy-to-pickup, and good even in somewhat windy weather.

I have often wondered at badminton. It seems like a nice, easy summertime sport, but when players get better at it they just shoot the birdies across at a speed the birdie does not seem designed for. The design behind the Speedminton birdies allows for the easy, high-in-the-sky play, but also for much faster competitive play, with even different weights of birdies. The “Fun Set” comes with 2 racquets, 3 birdies, cones, a bag, and lights that allow your birdies to glow in the dark, and runs about $30.

Additionally, it seems more informal, so it’s more portable, because it doesn’t really need a net. It’s easier to just play with your friends on the beach or take it out to the street. Generally, it’s bringing the game that you played in your grandparents’ yard and improving it so that you could actually imagine adding it to your game repertoire.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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