I recently bought a Gymnic Rody Max, to help the six year old burn off some energy indoors during the cold rainy months. I thought I’d review it in case it helps you if you’re thinking of getting one.
I decided to get the Rody Max rather than a standard Rody because the six year old is quite tall. Rody Max is the recommended option for ages 5+.
(Stock photo) Here is a Rody (standard, on the left) and a Rody Max (on the right), side by side – if you are looking for the standard (smaller) Rody for kids under 5, you can find him here.
I took some photos of the box before I opened it, for your edification.
Inside the box is the squashed-up, flat Rody, a bit of paper about Rody and his other plastic friends, and a bicycle pump adaptor. For those wondering if you have to buy the Gymnic branded pump or not – you don’t. You can just adapt a normal hand pump using the adaptor provided in the box. It took a few minutes to pump the toy up but it wasn’t ridiculous. Only use a hand pump to inflate. That’s what the slip of paper says. A machine pump might over-inflate and cause bursting or a small air leak that would ruin the toy.
Here are some more details about why I decided to buy a Rody, and you can skip this bit you’re not interested in why. But lately I learnt about proprioception and how kids need proprioceptive input every day. Proprioception is the sense of your own body; where parts of you are in relation to the other parts. It seems your brain uses proprioception to know where your feet, hands, etc are even when you aren’t looking at them. The sense of proprioception is strengthened when the body does heavy work activities involving push/pull and resistance. Proprioceptive information comes via receptors in the muscles, bones and especially in the joints. So proprioceptive input is vital for us to have a good body sense. Heavy work and other physical activities encourage and continue that development – to develop sensorially “in-sync” kids as Carol Kranowitz puts it in her book, Growing an In-Sync Child. Riding a Rody around requires children to kick off the ground with their feet, and use the large muscles in their legs. They also use their upper body and arms to hold onto Rody’s head or ears, to lift Rody and themselves into the air for the next forward bounce. All of this is great input for the proprioceptive system. Yay!
I’ve also been learning about the vestibular sense. The vestibular sense, or vestibular system tells us where your body is in space – specifically, where your head is, which way up you are in relation to the ground, and which direction your body is currently moving. The vestibular sense also plays a part in emotional regulation. Apparently the soles of the feet deliver important information to the vestibular system, as do the inner parts of the ear. Bouncing up and down and forwards (and a little bit from side to side too, as the child practices maintaining balance) in the manner that a child bounces on a Rody sends a large amount of vestibular information to the brain and is one way to encourage the normal development of this vital body sense. Yay again!
I don’t know about you, but I tend to worry when bouncing and jumping happens in a large way inside the house. I don’t have any breakables, but worry that someone is going to get hurt. Rody is made of a nice flexible material that gives way, so it doesn’t really hurt if your leg or whatever gets bounced on. There’s the usual possibility of a very small person being knocked over and bumping their head, but Rody is only inflated to a bouncy pressure, so he doesn’t end up feeling very hard and is more likely to bump smalls over gently than send them flying. In terms of space and doorways, Rody doesn’t take up as much width as a fitball or Hop Ball because he is slimmer across his middle; he also doesn’t get very high off the ground. I do store him in a different room sometimes when he’s not being used but he isn’t that intrusive. I sometimes sit on Rody at the children’s table as he’s the right height. It’s quite comfy.
Chemicals. While Rody is still made of vinyl (a wooden Rody wouldn’t bounce!), at least Gymnic products are pthalate-free, which is good, especially if you have a baby or toddler around who might try munching on Rody’s ears. Rody is also latex-free so if you have a latex allergy in your family (although we don’t), he won’t cause any trouble.
Smells. I was worried Rody would smell, because I hate plasticky smells. I couldn’t find much about the smell of other brands of boundy ride-ons, but I found a few references to Rody having little or no scent. I can’t stand anything in the house that has a weird petrochemical smell. I must say, Rody does smell faintly of vanilla – I wonder what is up with that?! I will contact them and find out – watch this space. Even so, with all my allergies to scents and chemicals, Rody has not given me a reaction.
Rody has a classic yet kind of retro look to him. There’s nothing about him that is trying to be fashionable, so he’s unlikely to become unfashionable, either. Thank goodness. To be unfashionable. How embarrassing!
Rody has a cheery, friendly, unpretentious face that isn’t likely to be misconstrued as scary. His ears are perky and he is trying his darndest to stop grinning. But he can’t.
From what I can gather online, the Gymnic range has the Rody, Rody Max, Rody Hop, and a bunch of fitballs and other balls. A hop ball is fun too (I remember hopping around on one myself as a kid) but Rody does have more personality than a ball, since he’s shaped like an animal. His chubby little foot things stand him up when not in use. Rody can be used for other non-bouncing activities too, such as dress-ups, as a prop, and general friend to the small people, making him more versatile than a hop ball.
The six year old took to Rody already immediately. As soon as the toy was blown up Rody was christened “Penny Polly Wibbly Wobbly Pobble St Paul Maxworth”. He/she was used straight away in the standard bouncing method and was then enlisted in an extensive cast for movie re-enactments. His favourite role is Merida’s clydesdale, which he acts with as much presence, dignity and grace as a hopping creature can muster.
Playsilks and ribbons also get tied onto Rody’s head for headpiece and lead lines, blankets get tied onto his belly to create saddles, and one day after Rody tried biting the baby (we tried to hold Rody back but he was pretty strong), he even had a makeshift muzzle – a coloured picnic bowl from IKEA – fitted to his face by the six year old.
The baby likes to clamber up on the lying down Rody, as well as attempt unsuccessfully to chew on the rubber ears… ears seem pretty tough and no dents show to date. Baby also likes to sit in front of his big sister or me while we bounce gently on the Rody. In fact, baby think this activity is one of the funniest things known to man/baby.
Rody Max is kind of expensive but I’m glad he’s here now. He’s a make-believe friend, occupational therapy tool, burn-off-some-steam toy, and will be good to jump on even into the teenage years – don’t tell me teenagers are too old to want to try it! Every child (and many an adult!) – who visits us wants to have a hop. He’s an extra chair in the living room when watching a movie. He’s light. He’s humorous. He deflates for travel.
10/10 for Rody Max!
I did not receive any money to review nor purchase Rody Max nor did I receive a sample from the company. If you click on any of my Amazon links and buy through them, it will not change the price for you, but I may receive a modest commission which will go towards the costs of running the blog, or maybe just a cup of fairy tea for me so I can keep hydrated whilst writing more blog posts.