A dad used 250,000 balls to turn his house into a GIANT BALL PIT – without his wife knowing.
Joel Conder, 34, admits to being a child-at-heart, often pranking and playing with his daughters Kaci, 14, Grace, 12, Sophie, eight, and Chloe, two.
But due to his asthma and Sophie’s weak immune system, the family decided to stay at home from the beginning of March.
To recreate one of his daughters’ favourite outings at home, Joel hired 250,000 balls to transform their home into a giant ball pit on March 15.
Although he didn’t tell wife, Sarah Conder, 33, about his plan.
The dad-of-four from Surbiton, Surrey said: “Some of the videos we want to do, I almost sometimes think, ‘what would have been my childhood fantasy?’
“I thought, ‘imagine coming home to your house being a giant bill pit.’
“My wife and my kids didn’t know – I was working on the idea with my friend and I was like, ‘it can’t just be like a few balls round your ankles, you’ve got to jump in and get lost in it.’
This was just an idea for the child-at-heart dad, but as things began to get more serious with coronavirus, the family chose to stay at home more.
Joel, a vlogger for Dad V Girls, said: “I have asthma and my daughter Sophie, she has special needs and she has a very low immune system.
“We as a family started to isolate, we started to cut down on things we were doing – we wouldn’t take the kids too soft play, I stopped taking Chloe to swimming lessons.
“So I thought, ‘oh my goodness, this is perfect – we can create our own soft play at our house, by turning it into a giant ball pit.”
To ensure they didn’t bring the virus into the house, Ballmania brought either brand new balls or ones that had been cleaned and in storage for at least two weeks.
It took two hours to fill the house with 250,000 balls – with the kitchen and lounge almost three foot deep.
Joel said: “Kaci, Grace, Sophie and Chloe came home first – everything was worth it just for that reaction.
“They were shrieking with laughter – Kaci was like, ‘mum’s going to kill you.’
“Then Sarah came home – her face was like ‘oh my god, what have you done?’
“Then she dived in and started playing with all of us.
“It’s honestly one of the best memories I think we will have.”
The entire family spent hours sliding down the stairs in suitcases into the balls.
It took more than two hours to collect all the bulls, using a giant vacuum and a team effort to push them down the stairs.
This is one of various fun things Joel shares on the families’ Youtube and social channels, @dadvgirls – now with over 890,000 subscribers on Youtube.
Joel said: “My background is camera and editing and we would always make home movies just to share with families and friends – like on our holidays.
“I always enjoyed working on those videos more than anything else.
“We were already capturing memories and making these videos, and my kids were into youtube and they were like ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we had a Youtube channel?’
“Lots of different things points us in the direction of sharing these videos and making them specifically for Youtube.
“We just sort of thought, ‘let’s just see what happens.’
“It’s just evolved into something more than it was ever set out to be.”
During lockdown, Joel is trying to do more fun things with the families and he thinks other parents should cherish this time too.
He said: “I know that in many ways, for lots of people, it’s not an ideal situation – people not being able to work and things like this.
“Let’s just remember that we probably will never get this chance again as families, to all be at home together.
“Without the kids being at school, without the distractions of friends and social gatherings and all this.
“Let’s just make the absolute most of it – let’s try and get back to real family life.
“Just to have my eldest daughter nagging me to play more board games with her – that just shows me how special this time is.”