Executive Balls

This extensive collection of balls from Office Playground is a valuable resource for anyone who understands the connections between busy fingers and open minds.

The collection includes some very different kinds of balls. One kind, which we couldn't help thinking of as, well, organic, proved to be remarkably engaging. A good example is the Icky Yicky Fuzz Ball. The outer layer transparent and covered with soft spines. Within, are small, colored, soft balls. I personally did not think this ball was very icky, yicky or fuzzy, but my fingers found it to be wonderfully sensual and inviting. Another, the Molecule Morph Stress Ball is covered by an opaque skin. When you squeeze it, the outer skin becomes transparent, revealing the color balls inside. And a third, the Click Clack Stress Ball contains hard plastic balls, which, as advertised, click and clack against each other when squeezed. Each of these three balls has a different feel, produces a different effect, and yet is closely enough related to the others that, as a set, they make for an experience that invites the senses. Collect a large enough variety of these balls, and you have the basis for a powerful group activity. All too often, meetings where people have to think abstractly or creatively become far too abstract and far less creative than planned. Simply by trading balls back and forth between participants, asking people to explain their preferences or describe the differences, or perhaps playing a passing game like A What, is a perfect way to help people focus on their own senses as well as on each other.

Then there are the balls that are filled with air or liquid or other non-ball stuff. One of the strangest and most visually delicious of this collection is called the Rainbow Bubble Ball. The soft, spine-covered outer membrane is held with a net. Squeezing the ball forces the skin through the net, creating, as advertised, multi-colored bubbles. There's something vaguely reminiscent of something else that I'd rather not be reminded about. Something mildly disgusting. Which, of course, is a major part of the attraction with many of these executive balls.

Then there are the kinds of balls that are particularly good for throwing, catching and slinging. Of these, the Water Swirl Ball combines the tactile delights of a deep squeezeworthiness, and the visual wonder of pearlescent liquidity with a stretchy, yo-yo-like handle that almost immediately lends itself to a variety of attractive nuisances, while the painlessly pointy, benevolently bouncy and considerably catchable Spikee Ball just about guarantees collaborative mayhem.

Though we were able to test only a relatively small sample, we were uniformly impressed by how inviting, and different they were, and how valuable a resource such a collection is to the enlightenhearted manager, facilitator, or professionally creative player.

from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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