Friday, May 24, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Power Popper: Rough and Tumble Play is Good

I am going to lose weight with this toy.  Oh, and he'll have fun too.
Mobility and Stability aka "helper hand and worker hand"- a key component in handwriting, using a baseball bat, etc.... do you practice that with this? YOU BETCHA!
WHAT:  Power Popper by Hog Wild
DOES: great opportunity to do rough-and-tumble play but safely, great for bilateral coordination (writing skills)
INVEST:  MSRP $14.99 comes with balls too but extra set of popper balls is $4.99 
AGES: 4+
TOOLS: My Body Needs to Move, Holiday Build-Uponner
EXPERT OPINION: Pediatric Occupational Therapist Susan L. Roberts, MDiv, OTR/L 
GIVEAWAY:  Win your own Power Popper

For the longest time, Number 1 has wanted a Nerf gun.  And I am not sure why but I just could never buy it.  Still, he keeps asking for one and I keep saying, "I'll think about it." This has been going on for years. 

I feel very torn.  Part of me says he is a boy and I have to let him be one but then part of me says, I should just find something else for him. Maybe he can get his warrior thrills via Hero Factory? I can't stand those foam swords.

I asked around... talked to parents and psychologists. Everyone gave me their blessing but I couldn't find a product to make me feel comfortable.  Then I saw the Power Popper and figured out that this was the one.

How to fill and shoot? See this video.

Naturally Good Play with Toys that Look Like Toys

The power popper is a toy and more importantly, it looks like a toy.  I doesn't look like a semi-automatic in bright orange and yellow colors and there is no trigger.  Let me repeat, there is no trigger.  You have to pump it to send the balls flying and that is all there is to it. So simple. Now I wish I had known about this when he was little. There are so many good aspects to it and so I asked Susan Roberts to take a  look. 

"I love it! Yeah, I love it! I have a lot of fun with it," Susan said. Those words gave me a sigh of relief because above all else pediatric occupational therapists are experts in child's play.

Likening the Power Popper to a snowball fight, she said. “I think that kids enjoy rough and tumble play.”  Susan also said that while some kids don't like it at all, many many kids do like it.

And this is what being is a kid is all about...

Gosh, I think I have forgotten what that kind of play is. Today's public parenting doesn't seem to allow for this.  However, Susan said, "When I think of play with children, I also think of it from an evolutionary biology standpoint - that play occurs in young mammals across the entire order." She continued, "Anything that occurs an entire order is a critical piece of evolution. There's something about the way that mammals develop that requires play as part of the maturation process.

Susan even confided to us that many therapists will do rough and tumble play behind closed doors because the children are really seeking that input.  

Power Popper's Awesome Side Benefit

The first thing I noticed about this play was how much I was running around.  I did get breaks in between because everyone has to place more balls into their popper.  I really like that quick moment to prevent potentially escalating frenzy.

Susan also said that bilateral coordination was the big skill here and she had the skill of handwriting in mind.  "One of the thing that is important for writing is to develop a preference for one side over the other," she said that kids must practice using one side for stability and one side for mobility.  We do this in other activities too such as baseball, sewing, cutting, etc...

I love the green balls but if you take this out to the yard then invest in some orange ones too so you can find them easier.
I love the shape and feel of these foam balls.  They fit in the Pig Poppers too! 

Susan's Savvy Safety Solutions

Susan said that it was really important to establish rules in advance of playing. Help them establish boundaries. Here are some suggestions:
  • Keep away from eyes- give rules like, "only below the waist" the eyes*
  • Take it away if necessary for the amount of time you think is wise
  • Establish a "stop" word instead of "no" or "stop" ie, elephant, chocolate,
    anything to say that a child no longer is having fun and game must stop immediately
  • Do this with adult supervision
  • For kids who get overstimulated fast, intercept before you see them cross the line.
    You can have everyone take a quick break to get water or a bit of relaxation.

Other styles including the new double barrell, please see below.

Best game for Power Poppers besides aiming for Dad's butt? Try target practice!

UPDATE: June 3, 2013 by Jenn

I have gotten a couple of questions regarding pain, namely... would getting hit by a Power Popper hurt?  So Number 1 and I, just because we love you so much, decided to hit each other at varied distances to see how much it could possibly hurt us.  I want to first tell you that when we play with Power Poppers we are not encouraged to stand still and hit each other.  It is most fun to hit moving targets, whether they be moms or dads or children (leave your pets alone). 

Thus, we stood there hitting each other at 5 feet, 4 feet, 3 feet, etc..  and we even lifted our shirts to expose our tummies to see what it felt like to get hit there, bare-skinned on a ticklish area.   The results?  It doesn't hurt at 5 feet or 4 feet but when you get to 2-3 feet about from you and a power popper, on bare skin, it will feel like a flick.  As you know, flicks (of the fingers) can hurt sometimes.  Certain people may feel more pain than others so please use your judgment.  Lastly, we did not try to see how much it could hurt at 1 feet away just because a flick is enough for me to say "enough." 

Remember Susan's suggestions, use another "STOP" word besides "STOP" and set up some ground rules and take breaks when it gets too heavy.  Also, try different ways to play it because that will keep the play interesting and remember that you will still practice all those good skills if you pump up your power popper!  Keep on popping!

And now here's your chance to win your very own Power Popper!  Parents, I'm telling you now.... you have to get your own too.  It's so fun.  If you have a little one who can't operate one yet then have him play along with the Pig Poppers. (or other animals) Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Want to buy on Amazon right now? Use my link to support Toys are Tools.

This post is dedicated to amazing  Toys are Tools experts like Susan Roberts who literally said, "I didn't try to shoot one at my eye yet to see if it could hurt a child."  Susan, I am so glad you didn't try but your sincerity and thoughtfulness overwhelm me.  I love my readers but I didn't try either.  I think they wouldn't us to do that anyway and will just try to remind their kids to aim carefully.

Disclosure: Toys are Tools was not compensated for the publication of this post. The product was sent to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never ever sever jever promised.


  1. Spyro Gyro Activity Book is really cute

  2. the kiddos sometimes get too rough in the house but usually I direct them to the backyard