How to Make a DIY Bouncy Ball with Kids

Today we are making a bouncy ball for kids!

We love when household ingredients can be used to make inexpensive DIY for kids projects.   I didn’t even know that you COULD make a bouncy ball at home, so this was super fun for not only my kids, but me as well!  

This DIY bouncy ball recipe is easy to make and pretty cool!

diy for kids make a bouncy ball

DIY Home Science Project for Kids

Who knew you could make a homemade bouncy ball that *actually* bounces?!

And that you could make a bouncy ball at home with stuff we have in the cupboards?

The kids and I absolutely loved doing this simple science experiment together.  

My toddler was a little too young to understand the process, but he loved the product!  My preschooler, on the other hand, was raring to take control of the entire experiment.

Is it Safe to Use Borax in Science Experiments?

A quick word of common sense caution before the details on making a DIY bouncy ball: Although experiments with Borax make great DIY for kids projects, Borax is not edible, so don’t let you toddler chew on the ball.

How to Make a Bouncy Ball

The first time we did this experiment we followed Anne Marie Helmenstine’s bouncy ball recipe instructions on About.com here.  

We were disappointed in the results because:

  • The clear glue did not make a translucent bouncy ball
  • The homemade bouncy ball wasn’t that bouncy. 

Changes We Made in the Bouncy Ball Recipe

So, we modified the experiment a few times until we got a Super Bouncy Ball. This can be a fun part of making this a kitchen science project for everyone involved!

The ingredients listed below are our version, which reduces the cornstarch to 1/2 tablespoon,  adds the food coloring to the second cup instead of the first cup, and mixes the second cup’s ingredients first before adding the borax solution from the first cup.

We will continue to update this post when we find bouncy ball recipe improvements.

We also included Amazon Affiliate links in the list below to save you a trip to the store, if you would like!

 

Supplies Needed for DIY Bouncy Ball

Steps to Make a DIY Bouncy Ball

Step 1 – Homemade Bouncy Ball

Pour the water and borax into the first cup and stir the mixture until it is dissolved.  

We used just boiled water from the kettle, so it was more hot than warm. Be careful with this step if you are working with kids.

DIY bouncy ball instructions step 1 - using two cups - one for water and the other for dry ingredients - Kids Activities Blog
Grab 2 cups! You will need both to make a bouncy ball recipe.
Step 2 – Homemade Bouncy Ball

Pour the glue, cornstarch, food coloring, and 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture from the first cup into the second cup.  

We got the best results when we mixed the glue, cornstarch, and food coloring first, and then poured in the borax mixture.

DIY bouncy ball for kids step 2 - ingredients for diy for kids make a bouncy ball in the bottom of the second cup - Kids Activities Blog
Step 2 adds in the color so your homemade bouncy ball is vibrant!
Step 3 – Homemade Bouncy Ball

Let the ingredients in the second cup interact on their own for about 15 seconds, then stir.

Step 4 – Homemade Bouncy Ball

Once the mixture becomes difficult to stir, scoop it out of the cup, and roll it into a ball.  

Voila!

Yield: 1 ball

How to Make a Bouncy Ball

diy-for-kids-make-a-bouncy-ball-collage

Use household ingredients to make a DIY bouncy ball - part science experiment & part toy, kids will want to help!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $5

Materials

  • 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Borax
  • 1 Tablespoon glue
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
  • (Optional) food coloring

Tools

  • 2 cups
  • measuring spoons
  • wood craft stick
  • Plastic bag for storage

Instructions

  1. In one of the cups, pour the water and Borax and stir until the Borax is fully dissolved.
  2. In the other cup, combine the glue, cornstarch, food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture from the 1st cup.
  3. Let stand for 15 seconds.
  4. Stir the mixture until it becomes difficult to stir.
  5. Scoop it out of the cup and roll it into a ball.

Super easy. Super bouncy.

DIY Bouncy Ball Step 3 - diy for kids make a bouncy ball collage - Kids Activities Blog
Making a homemade bouncy ball is pretty easy!

Playing with Our Homemade Bouncy Ball

We did a lot of fast rolling and watched the ball skid around the kitchen floor, bumping into cabinets and picking up momentum as it banged off every hard surface, including the carpeted ones.

We even got bounces as high as three feet!

The first ball we made using the original recipe crumbled if you threw it with too much force, but the ball made with our recipe outlined above was much more pliable and bouncy.

Storing the DIY Bouncy Ball

We stored it in a plastic bag for several days and it stayed fresh until it simply picked up too much dirt and we had to throw it out.

DIY Science Experiments for Kids

Making a bouncy ball is definitely an experiment we will be doing again.  Do you have any favorite kids activities that involve experiments with household item?  

We have a whole collection of homemade kids bouncy ball ideas that you can make at home!

Make play recipes like the DIY bouncy ball with this collection of homemade play dough, clay, slime and more.
Click here for some more fun things to make with household ingredients!

Find all of our science for kids articles! Our recommended STEM activities, science activities for kids & science toys!

And beyond science we have over 650 learning activities for kids to explore!

35 Comments

  1. Shelby Vaughn says:

    How long dies it take to dry?

  2. I just tried this with a group at an art museum and have a few suggestions:

    – We found the recipe worked better without cornstarch ¦.at all
    – Wait about 5 seconds to begin mixing with a spoon. It will be a gluey, pimply (with popping!) consistency for about 20 seconds
    – Take out and begin rolling with your hands
    – If it remains wet and sticky, even after rolling into a ball, stick into borax solution cup, roll around for a bit, take out and roll in your hand again
    – Try to get a uniform, spherical shape early if you can, as it will be hard to achieve when the ball gets stiffer

  3. Thank you so much for this! Using it for church VBS craft. Tested out the about.com method and was so disappointed, but tried it the way Devon suggested and yielded great result. Ball really bounces! Apparently cornstarch was the bounce enemy. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the info! Battled with the about.com recipe, but Devon’s suggestion to use it without the cornstarch works excellent!

  5. Wow what a good idea! Thanks for sharing! Sharon popping by fro WFMW

  6. Fantastic! I’m so doing this with my two year-old!

  7. Ok. I have to try this! I don’t have any kids but I got to see if this works! Mom used to make us play dough but never a cool bouncy ball! Thanks for sharing. Come visit me sometime at http://www.lifeawayfromtheofficechair.blogspot.com. Love your blog!

  8. I definitely want to try it for science. Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

  9. What fun! Thanks for linking up to Tuesday Tots. I’m featuring this lovely post this week on Learn with Play at home 🙂

  10. Such a cute and wonderful idea! Thanks so much for sharing it at the Less Laundry, More Linking party.

  11. LOVE this! Pinned and buffered =)

    Beth

  12. What a fun activity to do with the kiddos. I’m sure Reagan will love this.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. 🙂

    ¤ ´ ¨)
    ¸. ¢* ´
    ( ¸ ¤ Lanaya | xoxo
    Raising-Reagan.com

  13. Featured this on Mom’s Library this week! Glad to know it works, so we can try it sometime!

  14. So cool. My 4 year old would love this! Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

  15. This is too cool! I never knew you could make a bouncy ball. Wow!

  16. how long to dry??????????????

  17. Thank you so much for great idea! I will try this with my 6 years old son.

  18. Do you still only use 1/2 a teaspoon of the borax solution, even if you pour it over the glue/food dye? OR do you pour all of the borax solution over the glue? thanks!

  19. Granddaughter and I just made this but it is gooey. I followed it as you said and do not know what to do now

  20. Amber Schu. says:

    I tried this until I my whole(12oz) can of cornstarch was gone. Every single time I tried, it just crumbled in my hands and I was left with a silly string-like consistency. It would all go down hill after I took the clump out and started rolling it into a ball…I have followed the directions to a T.

    Although all the other “recipes” I followed called for the first mixture to be the warm water, borax and corn starch and then glue and food coloring in the second and then pour the water, cornstarch and borax mixture into the glue&food coloring mixture.

    I used Betty Crocker neon gel food colors, could that be the problem? Then I used 20 mule team for the borax and
    Clabber girl brand for the corn starch (fortified with calcium?) ingredients in that brand are corn starch and calcium sulfate?

    Can anybody offer help?

  21. its poopy

  22. I made a wrong mix, so i made great stuff instead of a boucy ball.
    NOT FUN.

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