Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Toys of Summer (Winter Edition), PART 1: "Squishy Baff"

The household of The Hungry Preacher has experienced an influx of toys and games over the past couple of months.  We partook in Christmas celebrations well into January; and in early February, Monkey 2 commemorated turning 7 years old by fluttering her maternally-inherited eyelashes and coaxing scores of loved ones to shower gifts upon her.  (If this didn’t work, she was prepared to flex her paternally-inherited biceps.  Booyah!)

For the next week or so, on this very website, I will post my first-ever product reviews of some of the more notable toys.  I’ll begin with perhaps the most notable of all.

Squishy Baff


Level of joy conveyed in this image is not typical.  Your experience may vary.

"Turn ordinary water into glorious colorful goo and then back again. Create fun goo adventures, while feeling it squishing between your fingers and toes! It's safe, fun, and doesn't leave stains or residue. When you are done playing, simply add the dissolving powder and watch it go down the drain!" (from Squishy Baff website)

Pour pink crystals into your bath to make the water turn gooey.  Play accordingly.

The goo-dissolving solution did, in fact, dissolve the goo.  Whew!

I was raised to believe that if want to bathe the way God intended, you need at least a foot of water.  And if you’re splashing around in less than eight inches?  Goodness, don’t even call it a bath!  Biased as such, I cringed when I read that the recommended water depth for using Squishy Baff is 3.5 inches.  Never mind that the bathtub on the Squishy Baff website is filled to the overflow drain, and that the goo is mounding.  Emboldened with what I now realize was false hope, I filled our wider-than-average tub with about 4 inches of water, and poured in the powder.

My test subjects were ready and excited.  We all hovered over the edge of the tub and waited.  And waited.  And stirred.  And waited.  Once I realized the gooiness of the water was probably maxing out, I instructed the monkeys to climb on in and play with the goo as best they could.

The clearest way I can describe the substance in the bathtub is to tell you to imagine about a half-inch layer of Osetra Karat Amber Russian Caviar mixed with 4 inches of water.  Each bit of goo (like each piece of caviar) was its own entity, but the goo particles did not bond in any useful way with each other.  About three minutes into the Baff, my girls were asking, “Is that it?”  I assessed, then somberly admitted, “Yes.  That is it.”

Fortunately, our pack of Squishy Baff came with 2 packages of goo particles.  I should have just added the second pack to the first bath.  Instead, I told the girls, “Next time, we’ll use less water.”  “Next time” ended up being last night.  I used about a third less water and—whaddaya know?—the goo was substantially more viscous.  This time it was like caviar mixed up in Malt-o-Meal (AKA, "the breakfast of Saudi polo champions").

Apparently, the consistency of the goo makes all the difference in the world for bath time enjoyment, as my girls did indeed “Create fun goo adventures.”

I should note that a key plot-element of these “goo adventures” involved blobs of goo being splattered on the wall and on all the edges and ledges of the tub.  Clean-up was neither “a breeze” nor “a snap”.  It was more like “payback,” if you’re familiar with the corresponding phrase.  Finally, for the record, there is nothing about a Squishy Baff that remotely serves the purpose of an actual bath, which 9 out of 10 fuddy duddies agree is “to get clean”.

All in all, Squishy Baff overpromised and was nowhere near worth the trouble to me, but did provide moderate enjoyment for the participants once the proper consistency was established.

2 stars out of 5

Next up:
4D Cityscape Time Puzzle


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