A day on the beach is seen as a day to relax and soak up the summer sun, splash in the ocean waves and feel the soft sand under your feet. Anyone who has ever been to the beach has probably also taken part in some “beach games” like building sandcastles, playing with freebies or—most famously—kicking (or throwing) around an inflatable beach ball.
Beach balls are arguably the most recognizable and iconic images of beach and summer games and toys. Although beach balls seem to be timeless and ever-existing, they are actually less than 100 years old! The beach ball was invented in California in 1938 by a man named Jonathon DeLouge who realized that the light weight and easily inflated/deflated objects would make great (and transportable) toys. Beach balls were patterned with bright attractive colors (in a vertical stripped pattern) and could be made en masse for little cost. Thus, they tend to be very inexpensive items and can be found in most dollar stores.
Beach balls range in size. Some can fit in the palm of your hand while others can exceed three feet in both height and width! They can be patterned in various colors and designs but they are always round and can usually be inflated by mouth (although some of the bigger ones might require a pump). Beach balls can even be useful for practicing sports like volleyball and water polo.
Beach balls ae made of light and cheap plastic. They are not expected to be very durable (in other words they can get punctured easily) and they are sold inexpensively because it is likely that more than one will be purchased in the course of a summer. At concerts and sporting events (or even graduations) large crowds of people might throw around a large beach ball as a prank or as a means to keep themselves occupied. Many seals have also been trained to hold beach balls on their noses and this became a popular trick/feature at many aquariums and circuses in the latter half of the 20th century.