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on December 28, 2008
We got this for our 1 year old as a christmas present. He has a lot of fun watching the balls pop out and trying to figure out where they have to go in to come back out.
But WOW is this toy loud. Not only is the blowing fan fairly noisy, the music which is playing in loops is really annoying and there's no way you can turn the music off. If the balls are popping the music is playing - there's no way around that. We have a fairly high noise-level in this house, but this toy even tops that. After 5 minutes of the kids playing with it I have to turn it off to relax our ears.
Also I have to say that the toy brings much more fun to my 3 1/2 year old than to my baby boy. He seems to be a little overwhelmed by it. My daughter finds much more enjoyment in running after the balls and dropping them back in for another round.
Overall a good toy, I just wish it would not be so darn loud or I could have the balls popping without the music playing.
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on November 23, 2009
I bought this toy for my daughter last year for Christmas. She has been having a "ball" with it ever since (pun completely intended). When I was going through her toys to discard and make room for this Christmas I passed this one over with a knowing smile, my little girl would be devestated if I gave it away. Every child that comes over to play has a blast with this toy. It encourages the children to play together and work together to get all the popping balls back in the machine. It also helps to keep them active and I am certainly a fan of anything that tuckers her out for a nap. It also helped Lucy to learn her colors, "Get Mommy the pink ball, Press the red button" and seems to be a hit for all ages. I am online right now to order one for my nephew for Christmas because he loves it so much! And yes, I will admit, even I have a great time playing with this one.
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on March 3, 2005
I don't normally like toys that play minutes of annoying music with very little input from the baby. But I am willing to make an exception for this toy, which totally rocks. Its main benefit is that it is playable at multiple levels. My 3.5 year old loves it. My 8 month old loves it. My husband and I love it. It is surprisingly entertaining to watch - a ball shoots through the clear tube, out the top, and hovers there until it is bumped out of the way by the next ball. Sometimes this works perfectly, with the bump-ee getting nudged into the track and rolling back into the tube. Sometimes this is entertainingly "explosive" with the ball flying up into the air (great exercise for the kids to go chase it).

As an engineer, I love how the toy demonstrates Bernoulli's law (the effect which keeps the ball hovering over the end of the tube without falling off). College students in fluid mechanics class should find it useful, too!

Only drawback - it eats up batteries to keep the compressor going. But it's worth it.
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on December 17, 2008
We live in a home with wood floors throughout. The balls pop out high in the air, out of the toy onto the floor and roll away fast under the furniture. I personally really have no need for low education toys that cause you to spend more time with it than your kids. I have used the broom to pull the balls out from under the couch, buffet, table and so on everyday since it arrived. For Moms and Dads who really want a low maintenence toy, be sure you have a plush carpeted area for this thing to stay on. Also it is like a 5.0 on the richter scale, it is LOUD! The fan mechanism requires 4 D batteries and sounds like three blowdryers going at once. You want to turn down the volume on the circus-like music and sounds? No dice. Which is fine if you don't have siblings trying to nap in homes under 300,000 square feet.
Huge Carpeted home? Buy this toy; it engages the mini-mind for quite a few minutes.
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on April 1, 2008
I apparently did not do enough investigation before I purchased this toy. I have a 10 month old who's shy to big noises--doesn't like the vacuum, hair/hand driers, public toilets, waves crashing; you get the idea. I had seen this toy featured in a parenting magazine and thought it sounded like a lot of fun, as my baby does like surprises. I did not see or read anything anywhere that said how noisy this toy is. There's a fan in it that blows the balls up that is quit loud, not as loud as the above mentioned items, but still loud. I wasn't sure how my son would react to it, but when we turned it on he just started shaking and screaming. Needless to say, I'm going to have to but it in the closet for awhile. I'm sure for a baby who isn't bothered by louder sounds it'd be much fun, but please don't buy this if they are. This toy also takes 4 D batteries--again, something else I neglected to check out before I purchased it.
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on August 10, 2009
I bought this toy for my [...] old daughter. She seems to enjoy it, but perhaps she is just slightly too young for it. She stands up holding onto the toy, which isn't meant for 20+lbs to be leaning on it, so its always tipping over (she's never gotten hurt as the toy isn't very tall and I always put it on carpet; the thing tipping is more of an annoyance to me). If I don't want it to tip, I have to hold the thing steady while she plays. Also, sometimes the suction doesn't seem to work right, and the balls won't shoot up through the tube - I check to make sure nothing is blocking the little fan on the bottom - I have no idea whats causing this. Usually I just turn it off and then back on, and everything is fine. I have only had this item for a little over a week though, so I think its kind of crappy that I would be having even occassional problems with it.
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on March 24, 2007
My daughter received this toy as a Christmas gift at 9 months old. She loves it. She wasn't crawling yet, so yes, we do have to retrieve the balls over and over again. She does get almost too excited, but she is not scared. Her favorite thing to do is tip it over toward herself and then the air blows in her face and any balls left smack her also. She is pretty tough and thinks that is hillarious. It is not too hard to hurt her.

I have two complaints: the balls are very easily lost. I don't mind retrieving them, but we can't find two of the five and are waiting for the replacements from Hasbro. They are cheap (5 for $4, including shipping). The other complaint is that the dog loves to steal the balls but that is a problem with our dog, not so much the toy.

Overall, an super-fun toy that would get 5 stars if I didn't have to order replacement balls.
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on April 6, 2010
I like the concept of this toy...but I actually kind of hate it in person. We got this for my daughter's first birthday after reading all of the great reviews, but 6 months later, it hasn't gotten much use from her. My daughter just doesn't seem that interested (and I certainly don't) in chasing 5 little balls all over the room. The balls NEVER stay on the track. The track itself is pretty flimsy and every time she turns the thing on I have to manipulate it somehow to get the balls to run down the track properly. It's such a pain. The music IS extremely loud as well. There's just more things about this toy that are annoying than they are fun. Maybe as she gets older and enjoys chasing the balls all over she'll get more use out of it.
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on January 3, 2008
I was a little concerned that this toy might be too basic for my 19 month-old niece (the age on the box is 9+ months and the picture shows a much younger baby playing with it). However, I've never seen the girl so mesmerized by any toy. She remained fascinated with it for hours, and my 4 year-old niece enjoyed it just as much. In fact, I saw all 7 kids in our family (ages 1.5-10) playing with it at one point or another. Definitely a big hit. A somewhat noisy fan blows balls out the top while goofy music plays. The balls either hover in midair for a while, fly out and roll away, or drop back in and roll down the chute. Maybe it's the unpredictability that keeps the kids entertained. Definitely sell your kids on the idea that chasing the balls around is part of the fun, however, or you'll be constantly retrieving them from under tables and behind the sofa.
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on November 14, 2007
I purchased this item for my nice's first birthday. I never had the chance to check the toy out by myself, so I just trusted the reviews in amazon. We were on video conferance with my sister who lives in LA when the gift arrived. So I had the chance see the first reactions. The toy was really easy to set up. It was bigger that I expected and as the reviews suggested the toy is a little loud. At first the noise scared my nice and she started to scream simultaneously. However she get used to it quickly and in time it has became one of her favourite toys. She learned to facilitate the buton, to crawl after the balls -they do fall out of the canals- and put them back. The only problem is that it requires some attention of the guardian since the toy is really easy to roll over, and balls can go all wierd places in the room.
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