I have been letting my girls take turns picking things to do in the afternoon. Yesterday my 5 year old wanted to do a craft project so I decided it was time to make out own little bouncing balls. I have been wanting to make these for ages and as long as you have the ingredients they are really easy to make.
We actually tried two ways to make bouncy balls and one was a little bit of a flop and the other was very successful and made really cool balls that bounced like crazy.
So the first experiment was a recipe I have seen a bunch of places. I copied the directions exactly from Chemistry.about.com three different times and each time got the same result. They certainly aren’t going to give you the super bounce you might be expecting- ours “bounced” about 6 inches in the air :). I still think they were fun though and since it only takes a minute or two why not give it a whirl. My girls liked the texture of the balls and they still had fun with this experiment but don’t be fooled because these bouncy balls don’t have much bounce to them.
When I set the balls down they didn’t hold their shape so you have to roll them into a ball again. Really this seems more like making Silly Putty to me then bouncy balls. My four year old looked at the “ball” for about 15 seconds and sat down on the floor with a book. My five year old was more enthusiastic but I think that was because glitter seems to lure her into just about anything. (Mental note: check into edible glitter to sprinkle on broccoli.)
- Borax (this is found in the laundry soap section of many stores)
- Warm water
- Food coloring (optional)
- Elmer’s Glue (clear or white)
Now that Borax is something to be careful with- you don’t want this stuff in a little mouth so watch for any grabby little fingers when you are making these balls.
In one cup mix 2 tablespoons of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon borax. Stir to dissolve. Add food coloring if you like (if you don’t the balls will turn out to be white from the Elmer’s Glue.)
In the second cup, put 1 tablespoon of glue and add 1/2 teaspoon of the Borax solution you just made plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch. DO NOT STIR. Give the ingredients about 15 seconds to work their magic and then stir. You want to stir until it gets too hard. This mixture feels like wet cement in your hands so stir in the cup as long as you can. Once it gets too hard, use a spoon to put it all in your palm and start gently rolling into a ball. Keep rolling until it is no longer gooey and starts to get a solid shape. I found little bits flung off as I rolled so I did this over the sink.
Set it aside for just a few minutes until it is no longer sticky to the touch. And bounce!! We added a little glitter to the ball during the rolling process and it turned into a sparkly glitter ball.
So then just for this occasion I pulled out this Bouncy Ball kit I purchased at Target for $3.00 a few weeks ago. (Actually the Last day of School Fairy brought it.)
The kit looks like this and is available in the summer seasonal section- so they likely won’t sell these year round.
UPDATE: This post is from 2013– since this was posted I have seen these kits in the craft stores. Use a coupon and you will only pay a few dollars.
If you can’t find it at Target there are numerous bouncy ball kits available from Amazon.
The one we found is glow in the dark and it is just several packets of mix that looks like colored sugar. You also get 2 molds to choose from- a round one and a geometric one.
You just add the sugar stuff into the mold and immerse in water for 10 minutes. Remove from the water for 10 more minutes and then open the form. The ball is a little sticky so just sit tight for about 5 more minutes. Now it is good to go! The one little tip is that you don’t want to fill it too full. We overfilled ours a little- you can see it is coming up through that little hole that looks like an eyeball. (Perhaps that is why the directions say- be careful not to overfill the mold. Hmm…) That made the ball imperfect so I used scissors and just trimmed it off when I took it out of the mold.
Ours were crazy bouncy and the girls were very excited! Totally worth the $3.00. The front of our package said 2 balls but there is enough mixture to make several balls so I don’t know what that is about.
My girls actually took the balls to bed with them because they were so excited. This would be a fun little activity for 4th of July when the kiddos are out a little later at night since these are glow in the dark. It also might be something to do if you have summer camping trips planned.
I would for sure buy these little kits again- the kids thought I was pretty cool making these for them.
This post is part of the 30 Days to a Funner Summer Series.
You can catch up with the entire series by click below:
- Day 1: Get Organized! How to organize children’s activity bags.
- Day 2: End of Year Surprises for Children
- Day 3: Strawberry Lemon Slushie Recipe
- Day 4: Homemade Hamburger Seasoning to AMP up your burgers
- Day 5: How to make Giant Bubble Solution
- Day 6: How to Save Money on Road Trips
- Day 7: How to Create a Summer Schedule.
- Day 8: How to make a GIANT water bed (this is so fun!)
- Day 9: Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- Day 10: 8 Ways to Get Outdoors this Summer
- Day 11: How to Calm a Child’s Room
- Day 12: How to Make Movie Night More Fun
- Day 13: Watermelon-Lime Sorbet (just 3 ingredients!)
- Day 14: Ideas for Mommy-Daughter Dates
- Day 15: DIY Dip Dye Shorts for Children