Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Homemade Bouncy Balls Experiment

Yesterday, we tried what was essentially a science experiment: attempting to make homemade bouncy balls. I found the idea on Pinterest. The only possible problem was that this blogger's directions very clearly stated that Elmer's Glue-All must be used, and I only had Elmer's School Glue on hand. So, I checked our local Wal-mart, but they were all out of the Glue-All for some reason. Then, I had the idea that Aleene's Tacky Glue is probably pretty similar to the consistency of Elmer's Glue-All, so I decided it was worth a shot.

The bouncy balls ended up being the right size, shape, and consistency, I believe. They bounced just a bit, which I think is the desired effect. I can't say for certain, since I did not try it with the Glue-All, but I think this worked as well as could be expected for homemade bouncy balls. Obviously, we could not expect them to bounce as high as store-bought balls. I think Mia was a tad disappointed by this because she said, "It just bumps a little bit." However, this provided some spring break entertainment without breaking the bank, which was what I was looking for in an afternoon activity.

{Finished Bouncy Balls}

{Bowl #2: BEFORE Mixing}
  • 2 Tbs warm water
  • 1/2 tsp Borax
  • 1 Tbs Aleene's Tacky Glue (or Elmer's Glue-All) not regular glue
  • 1 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 bowls
  • spoons for mixing
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. In the first bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of warm water with 1/2 teaspoon of Borax. Stir to dissolve. There will be some powder that does not fully dissolve. Add desired food coloring and stir to mix. Kids can help with mixing, and also with adding food coloring, if you are comfortable with that. Tip: If you are unfamiliar with Borax, it can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. I bought mine at Meijer for $3.42 and it has lasted me well over 2 years, so it is very affordable. It has lots of practical uses including making homemade cleaning solution (which I use to clean practically everything), homemade laundry detergent (which I use to wash all laundry except for diapers), and growing crystal snowflakes.
  2. In a second bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of Aleene's Tacky Glue (or Elmer's Glue-All, not regular glue) with 1/2 teaspoon of the Borax mixture from the first bowl. DO NOT MIX! Let it stand for 15 seconds, then stir the mixture until it is too thick to continue stirring any longer. This is a bit harder for little hands, so probably will need to be done by an adult.
  3. Using your hands, quickly roll the mixture into a ball. Kids can help with this step. Allow it to harden. We let ours set for about 30 minutes before playing with them. (You may not need to wait that long, but I wasn't sure.)
  4. Try out your bouncy ball. Have fun, but don't expect it to perform like a regular store-bought bouncy ball!
  5. You can repeat step 2 as many times as you like while you still have the mixture from step 1 available. We made two balls, one per child, but there was enough left over to make several more.
    {Forming the Bouncy Ball}
{Trying out the Bouncy Ball}

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