Build it Up and Tear it Down: Fun with the Ball of Whacks!

Ever since, well, the beginning, humans have looked at the world around them and contemplated how it could be innovated. Better yet, people have always looked for new ways to have fun! One the great toy puzzles we carry, the Ball of Whacks, is a product of just that kind of forward thinking.

The Ball of Whacks was invented and created by Dr. Roger van Oech. I think the specifics of this unique toy are best described by van Oech himself:

Each individual piece of the Ball of Whacks is a “golden ratio” rhombic pyramid. Held in place by 180 rare earth magnets, these design blocks fit together to form a perfect 30-sided rhombic triacontahedron – geometry’s most beautiful shape.


Very funny picture from van Oech's website!

The result? A colorful, rather magnetic building toy that’s a lot more than your standard brain teaser! Speaking of colors, it comes in solid red, solid blue and multi-colored, as well as the rarer all black one I am reviewing. The contrast of colors is quite neat, but no matter what you have you can build (and destroy!) your creations just the same.

The perfectly giftable Ball of Whacks also comes with a 96-page book not only full of shapes to put together, but also general inspiration for creative, open-ended thinking.

I cannot speak for kids on this one, but as a 27-year old sitting in front of a computer more often than not, I can say that lounging on the couch with the Ball of Whacks in hand is one great way to relax. It’s easy to lose track of time as you “click, click, click” all the magnetic pyramids together! In their product description it is referred to as a “mental freshener” and there’s no better way to put it.

Ball of WhacksMany toys then take on alternative uses as well! We recently found out about the Slinky’s use around the home and the Ball of Whacks is also more than “just a toy.” A great example comes straight from van Oech’s blog. A school social worker noted how the Ball of Whacks is a great tool for helping students with ADHD, partly as an outlet for stress and anxiousness. All kids (and really all of us) can find quite the satisfaction of taking something apart as well as putting it together. And as noted in the letter, the Ball of Whacks is a “great visual of how we can fix things with a little support.”

A post about a toy with strong magnets like this cannot go without a quick disclaimer. It says all over the packaging to keep the Ball of Whacks away from pacemakers, and that’s a given. On top of that, though, I’d recommend keeping it away from your computer, cell phone and electronics, as well as your wallet, just to be safe you do not lose any data on your devices or cards. As in my home, I’d say a nice place to keep it is right on your coffee table or bookshelf; it’s quite the conversation piece!

For an equally unique and also magnetic creation by Dr. van Oech, check out the X-Ball! See more perspective on the fun toys we work with every day – check out our staff toy reviews!

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