Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Science Fun: Make Homemade Bouncing Balls

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Science Fun: Make Homemade Bouncing Balls


What kid doesn't LOVE playing with bouncy balls?
For years, I have seen this simple recipe floating around the web,
never really paying much attention to it....until now.

My girls, like most kids, have a gazillion balls at home.
What is it about them that is so enticing? 

When I asked the Lil Divas if they'd like to try making their own bouncing balls they starting jumping and down, yelling YES, YES, YES! I crossed my fingers and got the simple ingredients we needed, hoping this would work.

EASY HOMEMADE BOUNCING BALLS


What You Need:
Borax
corn starch
Elmer's Glue-All
warm water
food color (optional)
measuring spoons
2 bowls

What To Do:

Mixture #1 - 1st Bowl -
 Add 2 tablespoons of warm water

plus 1/2 teaspoon of Borax

and stir to dissolve the Borax as much as possible.

Add food color to this mixture if desired & mix.

Bowl #2 - 
Pour in 1 tablespoon Elmer's Glue-All

Add 1/2 teaspoon of the above Borax mixture
and 1 tablespoon corn starch
DO NOT MIX!
Let mixture stand for about 15 seconds

then mix the ingredients until it becomes too hard to do so.
You will be able to tell when the time is right -
it will get clumpy and combined together.

At that point, take out the mixture into your hand 
and quickly knead it in a circular pattern to form your ball.
(Think of when you make a ball with play dough.)

It starts out as a sticky, gooey mess
but it quickly starts to solidify so you must mold it quickly.

Once your ball has hardened - go ahead and bounce it!

Note: This will not give you the same bouncy effect as a store bought ball but it bounces a bit and the girls got a kick out of it.  We found it worked better off our play mat than the regular floor. 

We had quite a few fails before we got our balls shaped right so don't be afraid if you need to do this more than once. It is an experiment after all! The Borax mixture can be used for a few balls so as long as you have glue and cornstarch - keep molding! My tip is to be quick when forming your ball.

Be sure to store in a plastic baggie so you can play again tomorrow!

Have fun bouncing!
& don't forget to check out the rest of our Mad Science Week Fun.
Bern

84 comments:

  1. So that's why you were looking for borax! That was you, right? :) This is so cool!!!!

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    Replies
    1. haha, YES! Isn't it neat the things you can make with kitchen items! :)

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  2. How fun! I love finding out how very simple ingredients make very awesome things!

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    Replies
    1. Amanda - the possibilities with baking soda, cornstarch and Borax are endless! Who knew kitchen products held so much potential - LOVE it!!!

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  3. My kids love bouncy balls! I need to get in gear and try some new things with my kids!

    Brittney
    www.moms-heart.blogspot.com

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  4. ohhh how cool!!!!!!!! we will have to try this!! xoxo

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  5. We did this too and it was so much fun!

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  6. We definitely need to do this! My dd would love it! Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. I can't wait to try this with my daughter. Just couldn't resist replying to you. It's funny that DD has taken on a whole new meaning now that I'm a mother.

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  7. How fun!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! I pinned this one to definitely try.

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  8. Fantastic idea! My son will love making these, bookmarking now :-)

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  9. Oh yours turned out much better than mine did when I tried it. Ours was a failed science experiment.

    Thanks for linking to Science Sunday!

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    Replies
    1. so was ours.

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    2. Mine was too. I finally got a solid mass, but it is still sticky and doesn't hold firm. When I set it down, and goes flat.

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  10. I've seen these around on PINTEREST and have not gone around to doing these...must try it soon :) Thanks so much for sharing this on Sharing Saturday.

    ~MiaB
    www.mamamiasheart2heart.com

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  11. BIG BIG BIG TIME on my to do list! Have bought some Borax especially!

    Thanks for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy

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  12. I've had these on my to-try list for ages! Thanks for the reminder!

    And thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

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  13. I'm featuring you on my Facebook page! Thanks for linking these up in Mommy Solutions! So awesome :)

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  14. I have never used Borax before...I found one for hands and one for laundry...which one do I use to make the bouncing balls with my girls.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas.

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  15. Does it matter if you use glass or plastic bowls?

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    Replies
    1. Not at all! Feel free to use whichever you have handy or feel more comfortable with.

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  16. i can't find borax anywhere here. what can be as a substitute (in place of borax)
    pls reply asap!
    thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Grocery stores snd places like Home Depot/Lowes sell it

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    2. Look for 20 mule team borax, in Laundy aisle, its in the same shape of box you would find powdered dishwasher detergent.

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  17. did you look near the laundry detergent?

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  18. Can I pour the remaining borax mixture down the drain?

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  19. Liz will not stay on a ball. They flatten out on the bottom. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. we had to do this a few times to get a decent ball and I had to help them do it. You do have to be quick when rolling it in the palm of your hand.

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  20. My son is to young for this but it is going in my recipe box of fun for when he is older!

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  21. i tried this and it didin' workout and i did it 3 times and folowd these dirctions

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    1. sorry you had trouble. As I stated in the post we had some trouble too before we had success. This will NOT give you a store bought bouncy ball. It's just a fun experiment and if you get a ball, it does bounce a bit. We found it fun to try together. Sorry you didn't have success with it.

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  22. This does NOT work!

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    1. Sorry you didn't have success with it. As I stated in the post we had trouble too before we had success. This will NOT give you a store bought bouncy ball, I did make that clear so that no one would expect it to be like that. It's simply a fun experiment to try and once you get a well formed ball it does bounce a bit. We found it fun to try together, even though we had to do it a few times. It was a teachable moment for us to deal with the failures.

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    2. It's really important to not use a cheap white glue!!!

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    3. at first mine wasnt working either once i got the the forming it in my hand but i ran it under warm water and it formed just fine after that!

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  23. Im willing to try this soon with my kids they'll love it!!!

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  24. We have tried and can't get it to stiffen to even make a ball. What did you dodifferently on your last try to make it work? More cornstarch?

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    Replies
    1. No but I did let the mixture sit for a bit longer and I was quick about forming the ball once I got it out of the bowl. It was trial and error. We did it a few times before we got our balls. I know it can be frustrating but we had fun trying to make it work and we were determined to end up with a ball, hehe.

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  25. Made these today, they formed a ball and bounced but did not hold their shape when put down. Were yours hard or soft?

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    1. Mine held their shape for about 1-2 days. We left the baggie open and they were ruined. Not sure how long they would last if they properly stored.

      They were not completely hard but also not soft if that makes any sense. We did have to be careful not to thrown too hard or they would get a bit dented.

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  26. I think these people are having a hard time bc the instructions do not explain the cornstarch, how much to add or when to add it! :) Thought i'd help :)

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    1. I did provide instructions and amounts for the cornstarch above. Sorry if it isn't clear but if you look at the directions for Bowl #2 you will see the cornstarch info.

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  27. is the cornstarch a powder or or liquid?

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  28. Maybe they are having trouble because they are using regular Elmer's school glue instead of Elmer's Glue-All ?

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    1. I did use Elmer's Glue-All versus just any while glue - good point. I have that listed above but you brought up a good point, not sure if people are substituting it and that is causing some issues.

      This wasn't the easiest activity and we had trial and error (and lots of Mommy help) but we did end up with some success and had balls that worked.

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  29. How many balls did the recipe make? My latchkey kids would love this

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    Replies
    1. we made one ball at a time with the recipe listed above.

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  30. So cute!

    I’d love it if you shared this with the Fun Family Crafts audience.
    FFC is similar to Craftgawker but it only features kid friendly tutorials.

    Looking forward to seeing what fun crafts you submit!
    http://funfamilycrafts.com

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  31. we followed your instructions, and it worked for us, we enjoyed it, kids had fun, my kids are 7, 9 , and 11, they all enjoyed making them in different colors, thanks!

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    1. Wonderful! So glad you all enjoyed it :) Thanks for sharing with me.

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  32. The glue makes all the difference! Also, we doubled the recipe and made bigger bouncy balls :)

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  33. Did this with a four-year-old boy I nanny for. Loved it! It took us a few tries to get it going, but afterwards it was great! He asked if he could eat it (NOOOO!) :) Thanks for the ideas!
    GOD BLESS!
    -Miranda

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  34. We tried this 3 times. We followed the recipe EXACTLY. It never get solid enough to form into a ball. Not sure what went wrong, but I have sore hands from stirring and 2 very disappointed little girls.

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  35. hye there! honestly i am thankful when i found ur blog..you have so much activities that i can do with my students..thank you!

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  36. I am so excited to do this with my boys this weekend. But i have never heard of borax can u tell me where i can find it please?

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  37. I am so excited to do this with my boys this weekend. But i have never heard of borax can u tell me where i can find it please?

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    Replies
    1. Laura, Not sure where you are from but I found it in my laundry aisle at the grocery store - it's considered a detergent.

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  38. How glue do you use?

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  39. I really want to do that!

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  40. Where can i find Borax ?

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    1. Walmart has it it will be with laundry stuff

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  41. Awesome idea, sounds like fun! I will definitely try this with my boys.

    I would like to give a little warning. Please keep in mind that Borax is toxic (no major danger unless ingested in high quantities) and might give some skin irritation.
    So, awareness is recommended with little kids. For example risk of swallow tiny bits or not washing hands after using this product, or kids with a little wound on his/her hands.

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  42. I just wanted to thank you for the post! My kids and the little guy I babysit had fun making these and they turned out great for us!!! Ours were more like silly putty (maybe because I used cheap dollar store craft glue) but the kids had and are still are having a blast :)

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  43. Hi! I am a kid who is 9 years old, and well, just a question, does anyone have a recipe for making a bouncy ball with out cornstarch? Because I don't have any cornstarch at my house, and its driving me NUTS! (\_/)
    (^-^)
    ( )o

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  44. Oh I was really excited when I saw this. Then I read the ingredients. Borax? IS there a substitute. I am allergic to Borax

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  45. We just made some of these! Very cool! My daughter needed a science fair project and now she has one!
    Beth
    http://www.threewolftradingco.blogspot.com

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  46. Any idea if there is a way to make a bouncy ball without the glue. My 5th grader is suppose to do this and we can't figure out how to do a bouncy ball without glue.

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  47. Be careful with borax it is a main ingredient in professional bug spray and a
    Neurotoxin.

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  48. This sounds fun, but form all of the reviews I'm not so surre it will work. But its worth a try I guess!

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  49. unable to use borax what is a good substitute please?

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  50. I want to make these this weekend but how many does one batch make?

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  51. What does borax do in this? And most comments are saying bug spray has borax.
    What is a good substitute instead of borax.

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  52. Thanks for sharing!

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  53. So, I found this same recipe on another site with a video and it says to let it SIT for 10 MIN before stirring. I'm going to try that next time and see if works!

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  54. it didn't work for me not sure why?????

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  55. Can you use baking soda instead of borax?

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  56. I failed at this one, but my daughter and I used the Flubber recipe with Elmer's glitter glue and ended with a really pretty giant bouncy ball. She was thrilled!

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  57. Nice. How much does it weigh. Is it light?

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  58. Worked just as described. Didn't make the best ball for bouncing, but they sure had fun with the texture,,like an anti-stress ball or something!

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  59. I live in uk and cant find borax over here, what could I use instead? X

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