Ball pit

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Kid in a ball pit
A child playing in a ball pit

A ball pit (originally called "ball crawl" and 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. Instead of balls, other spherical objects can be used, such as balloons. It is typically employed as a recreation and exercise for children.

A ball pit as part of a larger play area

Ball pits are often found at nurseries, carnivals, amusement parks, fun centers, fast-food restaurants, and large video arcades. Chuck E. Cheese's and (now defunct) Discovery Zone formerly had ball pits and they were frequently incorporated into larger play structures, such as mazes, slides, and jungle gyms.

Ball pits may be rented for parties, and smaller versions are sold for use in the home. While ball pits are traditionally intended for children, some are large enough to accommodate adults.

Ball pits may be used together with a trampoline, or combining the two by filling a closed trampoline with the balls.


In 1976 Eric McMillan created the first ball pit at SeaWorld Captain Kids World in San Diego as a result of his experience at Ontario Place.[1]

Urban legends[edit]

Beginning in the late 1990s, a number of urban legends arose about children being severely injured or even killed due to ball-pit encounters with venomous snakes[2] or hypodermic needles.[3] Although there is no truth to these stories,[4] workers have reported finding dirty diapers, half-eaten food and syringes in ball pits.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

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 right open and all of 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, and then hides from Leonard, who spends a good amount of time and effort trying to retrieve Sheldon from the ball pit.[5][6]

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 has 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.[7]

In 2016, a pop-up "ball pit bar" opened in San Francisco.[8]

See also[edit]

Ball Pool References[edit]

  1. ^ Goukassian, Elena (4 April 2019). "A brief history of the ball pit". Vox (website). Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Snakes in the Ball Pit - Urban Legends". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Needles Hidden Under Gas Pump Handles Are an Urban Legend". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Bounce Carefully in the Ball Pit". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ VanDerWerff, Emily (February 2, 2010). "The Big Bang Theory: "The Einstein Approximation"". Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Potts, Kimberly (October 20, 2015). "Every Inside Joke on The Big Bang Theory, Alphabetized". Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Waxman, Olivia B. (January 20, 2016). "Watch a Guy Surprise His Girlfriend by Turning Their House into a Giant Ball Pit". Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "San Francisco "Ball Pit Bar" Is the Latest Crazy Themed Bar". Retrieved 4 October 2016.