Ball pit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A child playing in a ball pit

A ball pit (originally called a ball crawl, also known as a ball pool or ball pond) is a padded box or pool filled with small colorful hollow plastic balls generally no larger than 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter. They are typically marketed as recreation and exercise for children.

A ball pit as part of a larger play area
Ball pit in use

They are often found at nurseries, carnivals, amusement parks, fun centers, fast-food restaurants, and large video arcades, frequently incorporated into larger play structures such as mazes, slides and jungle gyms. They may be rented for parties, and smaller versions are sold for home use.[1] Ball pits are also sometimes used in therapy and educational settings, as they can provide a stimulating and sensory-rich environment.[2][better source needed]

Age for ball pit[edit]

Generally, ball pits are considered safe and enjoyable for children who are at least 10 months old and able to sit up and move independently. At this age, they have better head and neck control, reducing the risk of accidental suffocation in the ball pit.[1]


Eric McMillan created the first ball pit in 1976 at SeaWorld Captain Kids World in San Diego, as a result of his experience at Ontario Place.[3] However, IKEA claims that they had a ball pit in the early 1970s in Kungens Kurva, Sweden.[4]

Urban legends[edit]

Beginning in the late 1990s, a number of urban legends arose about children being severely injured or killed in ball pit encounters with vipers[5] or hypodermic needles.[6] There is no truth to these stories.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

In China Miéville's short story "The Ball Room" (Looking for Jake), the ghost of a child who died in a ball pit haunts a local IKEA-like store.

In the Johnny Bravo episode "Johnny Meets Donny Osmond", Donny pushes Johnny into a fast-food ball pit, where he comes across a young boy who claims to have been there since the age of five.

In the Rugrats episode "Piggy's Pizza Palace", the Rugrats jump on a costumed pig named Piggy as an act of revenge to get Angelica's tickets back. It causes the ball pit structure to split open and the balls fall out all over the restaurant.

In season 3 episode 14 ("The Einstein Approximation") of the TV series The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon seeks inspiration in a ball pit at a mall, then hides from Leonard, who spends a good amount of time and effort trying to retrieve Sheldon from the pit.[8][9]

In 2014, a YouTube vlogger under the name Roman Atwood made a video of transforming the living room of his home into a massive ball pit, intended as a prank for his girlfriend who had returned from a trip. He later collaborates with another vlogger, Freddie Wong, to create a comedy video involving giant ball pit and "ball monster" prank.[10]

In 2016, a pop-up "ball pit bar" opened in San Francisco.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Imad, Zainab (2022-04-16). "Discover the Perfect Age for Ball Pit Fun | TeddyCounty". Teddy County. Retrieved 2023-07-22.
  2. ^ "Foam Ball Pit Safe or Not". Teddy County. January 30, 2023. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  3. ^ Goukassian, Elena (4 April 2019). "A brief history of the ball pit". Vox. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  4. ^ "IKEA in Stockholm". Retrieved 27 May 2023.
  5. ^ "Snakes in the Ball Pit - Urban Legends". Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  6. ^ "Needles Hidden Under Gas Pump Handles Are an Urban Legend". Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  7. ^ "Bounce Carefully in the Ball Pit". Archived from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  8. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (February 2, 2010). "The Big Bang Theory: "The Einstein Approximation"". Archived from the original on October 31, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  9. ^ Potts, Kimberly (October 20, 2015). "Every Inside Joke on The Big Bang Theory, Alphabetized". Archived from the original on August 23, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Waxman, Olivia B. (January 20, 2016). "Watch a Guy Surprise His Girlfriend by Turning Their House into a Giant Ball Pit". Time. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  11. ^ "San Francisco "Ball Pit Bar" Is the Latest Crazy Themed Bar". Paste. 23 March 2016. Archived from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.