Bouncy Ball – A Home Made Disappointment (at least for mom)

Joe always loves these experiments. He always makes a mess and has a blast. I like to do these because he learns how to mix and measure and help clean up. And…one day all of the science behind the fun will sink in.

That being said, not every experiment can be a success.

Joe and I decided (well, mainly me) to make homemade bouncy balls this morning. We pulled together the following ingredients:


  • 1 tbsp. Elmer’s glue, I used clear but I’m sure white would work just fine too
  • food coloring
  • 1/2 tsp. Borax powder
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 tbsp. warm water
  • 2 small bowls for mixing
  • spoon or popsicle stick for stirring

Order of Operation:

Mix water, cornstarch and borax in one bowl, set aside.


Mix glue and food coloring in the second bowl. Once mixed, give the borax bowl another good stir and mix in with the colored glue. Keep stirring! Eventually you will get a big blob on the end of your spoon or popsicle stick. Pull the blob off and roll it around in your hands to form a ball.

Joe particularly liked this part although at first he wouldn’t touch it.

wpid-IMG_20130620_090317_782.jpg wpid-IMG_20130620_090221_010.jpg

Eventually you will have a soft, round ball that should look similar to this:


Now for the bounce test. Joe bounced it first and I thought maybe he didn’t throw it hard enough so I gave it a try. I got a very feeble bounce. Joe had fun with it for awhile. He laughed and ran all over saying “Bounce!” Then he set it down on the table and after a few minutes it turned into this:


I rolled it back into a ball a few times but after awhile it just started to crumble. Maybe my standards for a bouncy ball were too high. Maybe I did something wrong when following the recipe. Maybe I am a crazy dweller who should stop stewing over why a homemade bouncy ball was not very bouncy and just be happy that Joe had so much fun with it.

Fun and learning, after all, are why we do these experiments!

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