A Slamdunk gift for kids (and genius wrapping tip)

When I was in North Carolina, I ran across a bunch of really cute party favors—mostly intended for celebrating grads—by a company called TOPS Malibu, and brought home two of their mini surprize balls for the kids. They were a HUGE hit. Basically, they’d taken a few tiny trinkets, wrapped them in one colored crepe-streamer to resemble a ball, then followed with another color, and another color. It was so much fun seeing the look of surprise on their faces when it just kept unraveling, a pile of crepe growing and growing!

We immediately decided that we needed to go out and buy some crepe streamers and start wrapping more gifts that way ourselves.

I looked up their story online and discovered that they were en vogue in the ’50s when a man named Charles Gregor in New Orleans created, “The Surprise Ball: The Toy You Destroy to Enjoy.” Apparently, the traditional way to do it is to come to a new gift at the end of each streamer, but I don’t think you’d have to do that. Here’s a great tutorial. You just need crepe paper and some small trinkets!

You could keep it simple and fill it with grab-bag like items—piñata fillers or mini puzzles would work well for a group—or put in something more singular, like a bey blade or a locket. But you know how the cardboard box can be as much the gift as what’s inside when you’re little? Judging from the way Hudson wanted me to re-roll up the ball empty just so that he could give it to a friend, the wrapping was the best part!

Have you ever unspooled a surprise ball? 

P.S. More slamdunk gifts for kids, like this 3-D Maze ball and these multi-color crayons. I brought one home from the Color Factory and it’s been such a hit! I keep two in my bag for all occasions. Just be sure to show your kids how to raise and lower the crayons without breaking them.

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