Thrift Treasure:  Odd Balls

Thrift Treasure: Odd Balls

In our never-ending search for great games at our local thrift stores we sometimes come across something so unique and never-before-seen we just have to have it. Fortunately it only cost a couple bucks but has already provided hours of entertainment for myself and the girls.

At first glance it looks like some type of Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Or maybe even one of those 3-D puzzles that come in different shapes. Digging into the box yields the original instructions and name – Odd Balls!

A puzzler we found at a local thrift store.  What is it?  They're Odd Balls! - SahmReviews.comOdd indeed. Smooth and slippery to the touch, they are so well-made that they just don’t want to come apart. The pieces fit together tightly and prevent us from prying them apart at first. The instructions give us a clue about special techniques to open them.

A puzzler we found at a local thrift store.  What is it?  They're Odd Balls! - SahmReviews.comMultiple plastic wedges and an inner disc that they tightly snap on to. Digging around the internet yields very little about them other than some eBay auctions. We finally come across an old listing from the early 2000’s that sheds some light on them. They are a teaching tool used in the classroom for a variety of subjects. Recommended for grades K-2 for learning beginning numbers and colors (other models come in color), grades 3-5 for fractions, 6-12 for physics demonstrations and for all ages for art.

A puzzler we found at a local thrift store.  What is it?  They're Odd Balls! - SahmReviews.com  A puzzler we found at a local thrift store.  What is it?  They're Odd Balls! - SahmReviews.com

Sure enough, the odd shapes do snap together to form unique symmetrical shapes.  The number of variations seems endless and by swapping out different colors there truly could be an almost infinite number of combinations.

Originally offered in the early 90’s by Orbix Corporation of McLean, VA, we cannot find where it may be currently offered today other than your favorite auction site. It’s a shame, it is actually quite fun just being creative with it. We have it sitting by our couch and tend to fiddle with it when waiting for commercials to end.

You never know what you’ll find at thrift stores! Have you found something one-of-a-kind like this?

A puzzler we found at a local thrift store.  What is it?  They're Odd Balls! - SahmReviews.com

Scott

About Scott

A former manufacturing executive, Scott now balances his family life with ownership and backend administration of websites such as SahmReviews.com, GiftCardCollector.com and a number of other online properties. He also is an occasional writer and full-time board game fanatic.

24 comments on «Thrift Treasure: Odd Balls»

  1. That certainly is odd! I love looking at thrift stores for games too, you never know what you can find. I love little things you can fiddle with like that so I’d probably enjoy them.

  2. Rachel says:

    They do look odd lol but a lot of fun x

  3. I seriously would lose a day just playing around with these things. I would also number the pieces so I could keep track of which pieces I used on each design. But these things are cool!

  4. WOW these look brilliant, I think I could spend hours making the odd shapes with the, next time im in the Thrift Store over here Im gonna look closely at the toys!! Thanks for sharing, I popped by Via The Ultimate Blog Challenge FB Page. Hazelxx

  5. Awesome, thrift store find! My grandparents always had toys like this at their house and as children we were mesmerized. I still love the unique finds!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thrift store finds are the best. It’s amazing what you can find in those places. Those Odd Balls look like great teaching tools and just great fun. I must head to the thrift store soon to see what I can find.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Those are very strange indeed, or should I say ODD? You find the coolest stuff when you go thrifting!

  8. I say a fun paperweight hehe
    I don’t go to thrift store but so many people get such great finds!

  9. What a great thrift store find! I enjoy spending a casual day checking out thrift stores for unique finds like what you have shared. I have never seen those before, but now I probably will see them every time I go shopping. Funny how that works!

  10. Pam says:

    I haven’t ever seen these before, but they look like they could be a lot of fun. I know I had some weird teaching tools when I was an elementary school teacher, and kids loved them the most.

  11. How cool.. How fun and how odd… Love it… we had something similar in Germany that one of the kids gave my son the other day and they loved it.. it has something to do with fine motor skills and memory.. I had no clue kids loved it.. yours sounds interesting, too

  12. I’ve never heard of Oddballs before. As a teenager, I spent hours fooling around with my Rubic’s Cube. I bet I would have spent just as much time playing with Oddballs.

  13. This looks interesting. I bet my two youngest would enjoy figuring this out.

  14. keith says:

    I saw more colorful versions of these at a science teachers convention in Baltimore, MD about 10 years ago. I don’t know much about them but I remember talking with two older gentlemen at their booth about them. Apparently they were physics professors or something like that. My son loved them as they make the most interesting shapes and patterns!!!

  15. I’ve never seen these before!

  16. Felicia says:

    I love fun odd thrift store finds. What a unique toy, my kids would love something like that. Now I have the thrift store itch.

  17. Interesting. I love browsing thrift stores for party items. You just never know what you might find.

  18. Michele says:

    I never saw them before. I wonder if my step brother has or had one-he was really into and good at those type puzzles!

  19. These are very interesting. I’m sure they keep people occupied for hours.

  20. These look really intriguing. It’s so annoying when you can’t find infomation about it online.

  21. It is amazing what you can find in a thrift store. Looks like you found yourself a cool find!

  22. Mitch says:

    I do not know how you do it! You are the game King and Queen, I think it is time for you and the Mrs. to write a book. This find seems extraordinary to me, this would be a perfect chapter!
    Mitch

  23. Blogger says:

    Interesting stuff. I remember these types of toys at my grandparents house growing up. Thanks for the memories!

  24. That looks like a lot of fun. I love quirky things like this. This is definitely something I’d expect to find in a thrift shop.

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