Orbies? Orbees? They’re Orbeez, and now they’re in the UK
It sounds like Orbees but its spelled with a ‘z’. I don’t know why toy companies inflict this ‘wacky’ spelling upon us, but they do so there you go.
But apart from the spelling, I do love the look of these clever little balls, that start off life as tiny plastic pellets, then swell to up to 100 times their original size when soaked in water.
They were a huge hit in the US last year, hitting the bestsellers list and winning a National Parenting Publications Toy Award, and now Orbeez have got their UK release.
They provide an interesting combination of craft and science, as they are based on the technology used in agricultural water-absorbing polymers that help to cut down on the amount of irrigation crops need.
Orbeez Toys in the UK
There are more than this available in the US but these are the ones that will be released in the UK. Maybe the retailers are testing the market, and if these sell well they will expand their offering.
There are 4 products being made available in the UK, from 1st May:
Soothing Spa – £30
The spa features a motor to pump Orbeez up and then let them cascade down a series of small bowls into the spa, which probably feels rather nice dropping onto your feet.
Globe – £20
Fill up the globe with Orbeez and water and light it up for a multi-coloured lava lamp effect.
Mood Lamp – £15
Fill the lamp shaped container with Orbeez and the included light stick, for a gently glowing light.
Starter Light Up Heart and Star Sets – £10
Heart or star shaped container that lights up to make the Orbeez glow.
1500 Orbeez included in each set.
Now it’s not for me to tell you which toy to buy, and I haven’t tried any of these toys out. But they have been available in the US for a while and lots of very helpful parents have left customer reviews on Amazon.com. The heart, star, mood lamp and globe all get an average of 4 out of 5 stars. However, the spa, which was a big seller for Christmas 2011, has received a dismal 2.5 star average from 70+ reviews. Since this is the most expensive toy in the range I would urge you to check out the reviews (on the US Amazon) before you buy, especially as the cheaper items have received great feedback.
If these toys all sound a little too laid back – check out Xploderz. They are made by the same people as Orbeez, but instead of making something crafty with the gel balls, you can fire them out of a toy gun.
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Cheers, ta, and thank you very muchly.