Student Transforms Dorm Room into Ball Pit at Rice University

One Rice University student reminds us how to be a kid again . . .

The stresses of college life have made us all wish we could turn back the clock and revert to our childhoods at one point or another. But one Rice University student has made this dream a reality, not with a time machine, but with 13,000 colorful plastic balls.

Rice University ball pit

Rice University

David Nichol, a computer science major at the private research university in Houston, Texas, recently turned his single-student dorm room into a PlayPlace-style ball pit. Nichol lofted his bed and moved his desk and dresser into a common space to make way for the balls, which measure two feet deep across the whole room.

But before you head out to Toys “R” Us and stock up for your own personal pit, students, take heed: it took a lot of money and months of preparation for Nichol’s plan to come to fruition. The senior ordered $500 worth of 65-millimeter balls from China after calculating the amount needed based on the dimensions of his room, the volume of the balls, and several other variables. (He found quite the deal, considering a 100-count bag costs around $30 on Amazon!)

The balls were shipped in 26 large boxes, which caught the attention of the United States Customs Service. “They were taken to (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection to be tested to make sure they were certified balls and not something else,” Nichol told Rice University News and Media. “I’m sure it was kind of sketchy to have 13,000 plastic balls shipped to Texas.”

Rice University

After getting the okay from security, Nichol transformed his room into a rainbow sea of plastic spheres, much to the delight of other Rice University students. His room now attracts so many visitors that Nichol had to establish some grounds rules for playtime, including no shoes, no food or drink, and no funny business.

Nichol was inspired to turn his dorm room into his own personal Chuck E. Cheese’s after reading a comic by Randall Munroe, which states that “grown-up” is a relative term.

xkcd Grownups

From xkcd Comics

"Even if you’re a grown-up, I feel like you should be able to acknowledge that fun things are still fun,” Nichol told a local news station. “Just because you’re not seven doesn't mean you can't indulge in seven-year-old fun things.”

Even though we’re just a little jealous, props, David, for making every kid at heart’s dream come true!

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David Nichol dorm life dorms plastic balls play Rice University student life

About Claire Carter

Claire Carter

Claire Carter is the Editor of and a proud alumna of the University of Maine. Go Blue! 


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