Child-sized hamster ball with matching bowling alley

Hammacher Schlemmer's Human Bowling Ball is a $4,500 amusement for children aged 5-12. It consists of: one giant, inflatable hamster ball and; one inflated bowling lane. You insert your progeny into the former and entice them to run quickly at the latter, caroming off the sides to the amusement of all.

This is the inflatable bowling game that challenges players to assume the "roll" of the ball in knocking down a set of pins. For ages 5-12, the transparent PVC ball is inflated to its full 7' diameter by an adult with the included blower--a zipper cinches the ball closed yet opens quickly to allow egress and quick entry for another player. A player simply runs forward inside the ball, generating momentum to knock over six 5'-tall foam pins that yield easily at the point of collision. An included stationary air blower keeps the 3'-high lane boundary constantly inflated to an optimal firmness to keep careening bowlers within the lane's confines. Four stakes firmly secure the lane to the ground. Its rip- and tear-resistant vinyl construction withstands years of play, and resists mold and fading. Inflated: 40' L x 17' W x 3" H. (280 lbs.)

The Human Bowling Ball. (via Super Punch)


  1. I’d totally get that for my kids, but $4500 for some plastic sheeting is a little to rich for my blood.

  2. I’d like to know how many people in marketing it took to eventually go with “roll” over “role” on the concern that nobody would notice the innovative comedy included in the copy.

      1.  I thought of that too but decided that at $4,500 for a big plastic ball and some plastic they could afford people who at least went to Princeton or U Penn, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        1. I think things like this are attention-getting things that they don’t actually sell very many of (if any at all). Hammacher Schlemmer stuff is a huge percentage of Skymall. They get you looking because of stuff like this, and then you see something relatively reasonably priced that looks cool and you can’t resist (“you” referring to relatively rich and relatively dumb people of course). So their profit margins are probably not that big and they probably don’t pay much for copywriters.

  3. “Charles, the children are bored with the polo ponies.” 

    “There. That oughta hold the little bastards.”

  4. A spin in the dryer can easily kill a kid, or at least break their neck.  And a parent who can afford a $4500 toy can afford a LOT of legal counsel.

    This may not end well for Hammacher-Schlemmer.

    1. I think the air cushioning on the interior is enough to soften most blows and you don’t get the floor moving far before it’s a slope. And if not, I’m sure there will be plenty of disclaimers to fill in.

  5. I can see this as an illustration on a 1910’s Popular Mechanics cover, as an idea from the ‘Children’s Amusements in 2000 AD’ article.

  6. The ball is inflated. So couldn’t the child suffocate or get heat prostration if you aren’t careful?

    1.  You bet.  Of course, they can pretty much do that if you leave them anywhere alone for a while so you kind of have to keep track of them for most of the day.  It’s called “good parenting” and generally keeps them out of car trunks and the like.

  7. We had this at our high school graduation. As much fun as it was, it gets old after a couple of rolls. 

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