Things didn’t go as planed, the claw broke with the very first kid. I added min and max limit switch to the claw to tell when the claw was fully open or fully closed. The problem is that the claw does not know it has picked up a toy or not. So the first kid picked up 5 toys at once and started closing on the toys and squeezed and squeezed trying to hit its min limit switch and rip it self apart.
I quickly changed the claw to a magnet on the end of a string and added metal things to all the toys in the ball pit. Instead of a claw, they picked up the toys by connecting the magnet to a bit of metal on the toy and winding it in. Defiantly not what I planed but it actually worked better then the claw ever did.
The next problem was the little battery that I brought ran out juice faster then I could recharge it. I had to borrow a car battery from a friend and exchange it for the smaller battery that I had. The bigger battery with the charger lasted the entire weekend.
Next problem was I had a really hard time saying no to kids that wanted to play more then once. I didn’t have enough toys for everyone so if I let a kid play more then once that would mean another kid couldn’t play.
People would not accept that I was giving toys away for free. People would ask how much it costs and when I told them it was free they would give me a puzzled look. Some people just left money on the table. Over the weekend I collected $25 from people that refused to accept that it was free. I donated this money to VHS.
Kids that didn’t want the toy that they got could exchange it for candy (sugar free, no nuts, etc..) Most of the time the kids would want the toy but the parents would rather them have the candy. Less things to clutter up their house, I guess. Some kids got so upset that they didn’t get the toy that they wanted that they would scream at me, call me names and throw things at me… I didn’t have too much trouble sending these kids packing without a prize.
Over all I had a really good time, I don’t think I would ever do it again. It was a stressful, expensive, exercise that took its toll on me. Next year I plan to do something simple that does not require my full attention.