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Archive for the ‘Toys – Garden’ Category

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Swingball Tennis

Posted by Big Boo on April 25th, 2008

SwingballIt’s good to see Swingball is still going strong, and indeed is supposed to be one of the most popular toys of the last 10 years. Whilst the image illustrating this post is of the current day Swingball, it hasn’t really changed a lot over the years, which is not surprising given its simplicity.

The Swingball tennis game (also known as Totem Tennis) was all the rage in the 1980’s and allowed you to play a game of tennis in your back garden without needing to accomodate an entire tennis court, which would be beyond the rather less generous allotment of land that most people would probably have for their garden. In Swingball, the tennis ball is attached to a cord which in turn is attached to a spiral at the top of a pole, and instead of a full size tennis racquet you play with a solid plastic bat.

Players stand facing each other on opposite sides of the pole, and each is assigned a direction of travel for the ball, either clockwise or anti-clockwise around the pole. The players take it in turns to hit the ball, changing the direction of travel in the process. If you miss the ball as it goes by you can always try and hit it next time it comes round. Since the ball is attached using a loop threaded onto a spiral, missing the ball means the loop can move up or down the spiral. If it reaches either end of the spiral then the player who has managed to get the ball to reach their opponents end of the spiral gains a point.

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BMX Bikes

Posted by Big Boo on February 15th, 2008

bmx bike raleigh burnerThe craze for Bicycle Motorcross, or BMX, was at it’s highest during the early 1980’s. Popularised by films such as BMX Bandits and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial which featured kids riding around perform stunts and tricks, there was a period where every kid wanted a BMX bike, and it was not cool to be seen riding any other kind of bicycle.

Pictured is the Raleigh Super Burner, which I distinctly remember falling in love with as a boy. Mum and Dad got me a Raleigh Grifter instead, which was disappointing at the time but given that the Grifter had three gears whilst the Burner had none, it was probably a wise decision. It certainly made the bike ride to school and back each day a better experience, and it wasn’t that far off being a true BMX bike in looks. Besides, the chances of me ever becoming enough of a daredevil to jump over ramps and such were never going to be high, if I’m truthful.

Anyway, there are two main disciplines to BMX biking, which are BMX racing and Freestyle BMX. The former is where the BMX craze originated, as it most closely resembles real Motorcross on motorbikes. Races consisted of several riders completing laps around a circuit (usually made on bare earth) that comprised dips, ramps and banked turns which had to be negotiated.

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Space Hoppers

Posted by Big Boo on August 23rd, 2007

Space HopperThe Space Hopper originally appeared in the early 1970’s, and is still available today. The classic orange design with the big goofy face (apparently it’s meant to be a kangaroo) is instantly recognisable, and it’s the sort of toy that even as an adult, you can’t resist grabbing hold of and having a quick bounce.

Consisting of little more than a big orange inflatable rubber ball, with two ridged ear-like handles sticking out of the top, all you could do with it was sit astride it, holding on to the ears, and bounce up and down a bit. It didn’t make you bounce particularly high, and it didn’t allow you to cover distances any quicker, but it was still a lot of fun just bouncing up and down on the spot, giggling like an idiot.

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