The Wubble Is a Terrible Toy, So Why Do We Love It So Much?

published Aug 15, 2023
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Kid playing with Wubble ball
Credit: Target

Never have my children ever had a more gleeful 20 minutes than when they played with the Wubble at their grandparents’ house. If you don’t know what the Wubble is — it’s a giant not-soap bubble that bounces along the ground, and it’s heavily hyped through commercials. The brand says “looks like a bubble, plays like a ball” and that is a good-enough description of what is one of our favorite backyard toys.

Except that we also hate it. Because like a bubble, the Wubble pops, breaking hearts along with it. The manufacturer says the Wubble is made of “Expandium,” which is some made-up whatever. Expandium! Expandium might last on top of grass, but once the Wubble inevitably hits a branch or rock, pop goes the fun.

So why am I still suggesting it? Because the short interval of playtime might be totally worth the under-$25 price tag for a toy that is much safer than fireworks and encourages more activity and running around than a simple outdoor art toy (those have their place, but they won’t burn off energy like a Wubble does). It’s for ages 6 and up — that murky time when you’re trying to get kids away from screens and into the outdoors. The Wubble does that for you!

So yeah, go ahead and read those three-star reviews. I completely agree with the grandparent who writes, “Grandkids loved it. Worth the price for all the fun.” And some reviewers say it lasted for a couple of days for them, which is way longer than expected, frankly.

One reviewer even claims it lasted all summer! But many report it popping — sometimes mysteriously in the night, sometimes after 15 minutes of vigorous play. The Wubble is perhaps the goldfish of backyard toys.

The Wubble at the link above has to be blown up having an adult blow air into it. If you want to spend $10 more for a Wubble with an air pump, this one has fewer reviews but dips over into four-star territory (a Wubble high-water mark).

I think 100% of parents would say that a Wubble is not a durable, lasting toy. But many say it is a fun thing to give as a birthday present — you’re basically handing over a short burst of happiness and then the toy is over and the other family won’t need to stress about storing the giant ball for too long. I know, though, that this means it is not an eco-friendly choice.  

If you really want a ball that lasts for years, then you want a regular nylon-wound playground ball. But just remember that those things can break a window. A Wubble will never do that to you!

It is possible to both hate and love the Wubble, to appreciate it and resent it, and to know that our kids will grow up to be adults who have a lot of laughs about the whole phenomenon of this crappy giant bouncing bubble ball. 

Credit: Jessica Hartshorn
My kids pose triumphantly with their Wubble while their grandpa snaps a picture. They loved it! It popped after about 20 minutes.

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