“It’s honestly one of the best memories I think we will have," says vlogger Joel Conder.

By People Staff
Updated May 19, 2020
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A dad in the U.K. turned his house into a giant ball pit filled with 250,000 balls for his daughters to keep them entertained while social distancing.

Vlogger Joel Conder, 34, will admit to anyone that he loves pranking and playing with his daughters Kaci, 14, Grace, 12, Sophie, 8, and Chloe, 2. But due to his asthma and Sophie’s weak immune system, the family decided to stay at home starting in the beginning of March in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I have asthma and my daughter Sophie, she has special needs and she has a very low immune system," says Conder, who frequently makes YouTube videos for his channel, Dad V Girls. “When we as a family started to isolate, we started to cut down on things we were doing — for example we wouldn’t take the kids to soft play or swimming lessons. So I thought, ‘oh my goodness, we can create our own soft play at our house, by turning it into a giant ball pit.'”

Recreating one of his daughters’ favorite outings at home, the dad-of-four from Surrey, South East England arranged to get 250,000 balls delivered to transform their home into a giant ball pit on March 15. He decided to make it a surprise for the girls — and didn't tell his wife, Sarah Conder, 33, about his plan either.

"I was working on the idea with my friend and I was like, ‘It can’t just be like a few balls around your ankles, you’ve got to jump in and get lost in it,' " says Conder.

To ensure they didn’t bring the virus into the house, a company called Ballmania brought either brand new balls or ones that had been cleaned and in storage for at least two weeks for the project.

It took two hours to fill the house with 250,000 balls, and the kitchen and living room ended up almost three feet deep in balls.

“Kaci, Grace, Sophie and Chloe came home first — everything was worth it just for that reaction," Conder says of the surprise. "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," he continues. “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.

This stunt is just one of many Conder shares on his YouTube channel @dadvgirls, which now has over 920,000 subscribers.

During the coronavirus lockdown, Conder is trying to do more fun things with his family, and he thinks other parents should cherish this time too.

“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," he says.

He continues: “Just to have my eldest daughter nagging me to play more board games with her — that just shows me how special this time is.”

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