Keep Your Pet Entertained While You’re Away With This Robotic Ball Toy

Cheerble
Cheerble

The ball is as simple as pet toys come, but even the classic design can be improved upon. Some of the hottest pet accessories on the market today are interactive toys, like Kong chew toys and other puzzle items with room for treats inside. Unlike those products, this ball doesn't cease being entertaining the moment your pet solves a puzzle. The Wicked Ball, currently raising money on Indiegogo, rolls, bounces, and holds your cat or dog's attention all on its own.

Though it looks like a regular ball, the Wicked Ball is actually a robotic toy. A motorized wheel propels the ball around your home, distracting your pet from any trouble it might get into when no one's looking. The gadget can be set to three modes: gentle, normal, and active. In addition to rolling, the ball also vibrates and bounces across the ground to keep things interesting for animals.

Dog with robotic ball toy.
Cheerble

The Wicked Ball is designed to be totally autonomous, so pet owners can rest easy leaving their pet alone with it at home. A built-in collision sensor helps make this possible by alerting the ball to incoming walls and objects so it can avoid getting stuck in tight places. The toys runs on a battery that charges via a USB cord. After charging for an hour, the Wicked Ball lasts for 100 minutes of continuous play. If your pet spends as much time chasing the ball as it does taking breaks, as is typical, the charge will last four hours. Even when it's shut off, a plug in the side of the toy can be filled with treats to keep pets occupied.

The toy is available in a colorful plastic shell for dogs and a gray wool coating for cats. You can purchase either version on Indiegogo for pledge of $34, with shipping estimated for August.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Turn a Handwritten Family Recipe Into a Touching Kitchen Keepsake

LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy
LaserFocusedCrafts, Etsy

The yellowing, food-splattered note card on which your grandmother’s secret spaghetti sauce recipe is written will only last so long, and taking a photo or typing it up doesn’t quite have the same effect. Luckily, crafters have come up with creative ways to transform those cherished family recipes into keepsakes that not only last much longer, but also make heartfelt gifts for all your favorite relatives.

The Etsy shop LaserFocusedCrafts, as Simplemost reports, will engrave your recipe onto a bamboo, cherry, or maple cutting board. Prices range from $30 for an 8-inch-by-6-inch board to $75 for a 14-inch-by-11-inch board, and it’s up to the recipient to decide whether they’d like to actually use their gift or hang it on their kitchen wall for guests to admire.

If you feel like you’ve already reached your gift-giving quota for personalized cutting boards at bridal showers and birthday parties in the past, there are plenty of other objects on Etsy waiting to be emblazoned with the evidence of your nana’s culinary prowess. EmmaAndTheBeanHOME will inscribe a recipe on a white tea towel for $24, and BmoreCreative410 will put one on a pot holder for $25.

customized recipe tea towel
EmmaAndTheBeanHOME, Etsy

For $40.50, you can order an apron with the recipe from zoeysattic. The apron itself is white, but you can customize the color of the ink, if, for example, Grandma always wrote her recipes with a special green pen. For an item that’ll withstand many generations’ worth of use, we recommend zehrdesignco’s $66 recipe plate.

customized recipe plate
zehrdesignco, Etsy

If you don’t exactly have a long legacy of delicious family recipes, it’s never too late to get cooking. Start off easy with the world’s best pasta sauce or one-pot chicken noodle soup.

[h/t Simplemost]

Find Your Next Outdoor Adventure With This Scratch-Off National Parks Poster

Newverest
Newverest

Whether you’re a devoted thru-hiker, day-hiker, or a casual nature observer, America’s National Park system has something for everyone to enjoy, from wildlife to natural wonders ripe for exploration. And now one Kickstarter campaign is looking to bring your love of the parks into your home with this unique piece of wall art.

The U.S. National Parks scratch-off poster from Newverest will not only inspire your next hiking endeavor, but can help you keep track of your travels as well. If you pledge now, you can receive a copy of the poster for $25, and for $49, you can get the poster and a frame. 

A scratch-off national parks poster on the wall
Newverest

There are 60 different parks on this poster—which is available in black or white—that are represented by colorful illustrations created by local artists. When the poster arrives, though, the illustrations will be grayed-out. It's up to you to scratch them off as you visit the parks, revealing the full-color art underneath. "Think of the national parks scratch-off poster as your bucket list of National Parks,” the company says on its campaign page.

When you purchase a poster, you’ll also receive a metal mediator scratch-off tool, a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe away any residue, adhesive stickers for easy hanging, and 62 cards that feature a hand-drawn scene of each park, along with interesting facts about them. For instance, on the Sequoia and Kings Canyon card, you’ll learn the park is home to the largest sequoia trees in the world, whereas the Arches National Park card lets the reader know the territory is home to over 2000 arches.

Scratch-off National Parks poster
Newverest

Newverest, founded in 2017, isn’t new to the poster game: The company also makes U.S. and global scratch-off maps. Alongside helping plan trips, the company hopes their newest poster will educate kids and adults alike about the beauty of the parks and why they should be preserved.

With $3257 raised, Newverest is still working to reach its $10,000 goal. But you can help bring the project to life until February 21 by heading here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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