Did you ever have one of those super bouncy balls when you were a kid?
We had a narrow hallway in my home growing up, and I used to love to throw the ball so it would bounce between the walls on either side of our hallway as many times as possible before finally hitting the ground.
These DIY glitter bouncy balls aren’t quite as bouncy as the store-bought ones I grew up with, but they do bounce. And kids will have a whole lot of fun making them – all while learning a bit about chemical reactions!
Plus, these balls only require 3 ingredients, so they are super simple to put together as well.
Note: You’ll find lots more engaging science projects on my Science Activities for Kids page.
To make these glitter bouncy balls, you need only three ingredients:
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tbsp Borax powder
- Elmer’s glitter glue (I have heard that not all brands of glue will give the same results)
In addition to your ingredients, you will need a few materials:
- Stirring stick or spoon
- Disposable container to hold ingredients
- Optional: latex gloves
Start by pouring 1/2 cup of warm water into your mixing container. Then add 1 tbsp of Borax. Stir until the Borax completely dissolves in the water.
Next, squeeze the desired amount of Elmer’s glitter glue into the Borax solution. The more glue you add, the larger your ball will be.
I recommend adding about 2 tbsps of glue for a good size ball.
When the glue hits the Borax solution, it starts a chemical reaction that turns the glue from plain glue to sticky polymer. At this point, you will need to start shaping it into a ball with your hands.
Keep working the ball until you can feel it starting to solidify and “harden.” Then set it aside to dry for a few hours.
For an even bounce, try to make the ball as round as possible. Our balls were not perfectly round (after all, I allowed my kids to make them!). But they still provided us with a good amount of bounce, even if the bounce was somewhat unpredictable.
Here’s a video showing our bouncy balls in action. You’ll see that they really do bounce!
Note: these balls won’t last for nearly as long as the store bought ones. Some of our balls started cracking with all the bouncing my kids were doing. But even if these balls aren’t perfect, they are still a lot of fun. And best of all, your kids can say they made them by themselves!
What is the science behind making glitter bouncy balls?
Adding glue to a water-and-borax solution causes a chemical reaction between the glue molecules and the borax molecules. This chemical reaction produces a highly flexible polymer (a substance that has a molecular structure consisting mainly or entirely of a large number of similar units bonded together).
Looking for more hands-on activities that incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)? Then you’ll love STEAM Kids! This book features 52 hands-on activities are helpfully identified by category (science / technology / engineering / art / math) so you know exactly what skills your kids are developing.
More science activities for kids
More science posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Dancing raisins
- Candy experiments
- Jumping colors science activity
- Make your own glycerin soap
- Crystallized snowflakes
- Dissecting an apple
- What do ants like to eat?
- Make your own telescope
- The great baking soda and vinegar experiment
- Magic inflating balloons