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DIY Juggling Balls

June 27, 2012

Last week the cub scout came home from den meeting with three juggling balls he’d made.  The temps here in the midwest are crazy hot this wee and we need some good indoor activities to pair with our trips to the pool.  These totally fit the bill, especially when teamed up with trying to learn how to juggle.  We aren’t any closer to learning how to juggle, but the cub scout taught me how to make the balls and we’ve become pretty good at that!  They are really simple to make and are truely amazing balls kids will love to play with!

I’m thinking they would make fabulous party favors for one of the boys birthday parties this summer.  A set would make a great stocking stuffer if your thinking that far in advance.

Supplies Needed for one ball (make 3 for one set of juggling balls):

1 snack size ziplock baggie
generous 1/3 cup rice
3 – 9″ balloons – balloons can be all one color or contrasting.
sharp pair of craft scissors

Step 1:  Snip the neck of your first balloon off.  Cut at the base of the neck (the part we use to blow the balloon up and then tie it off) just before the balloon bulges out.    This balloon will not be seen, so color doesn’t matter.

Step 2:  Make sure the baggie of rice is sealed and all the air removed from it.  Sliding all the rice to one side of the baggie, ball it up into a tight ball, wrapping the excess bag around the rice and forming into a sphere.

Step 3:  Stretch the balloon over the formed sphere of rice.  If needed trim any excess from the balloon so it lays flat.  If needed reshape ball.


Step 4:  Cut the neck off the second balloon and stretch around the ball starting where the first balloon closed around the bag of rice, so the opening is nestled in the bottom of the second balloon.  Trim any excess balloon.

Step 5:  Cut just below the base of the neck of the third (a little lower than you have on the other two, especially if you’ve had to trim off part of the balloon) and final balloon and stretch around the ball again starting where the second balloon closed around the ball.  If needed reshape and resposition the balloon for complete coverage and trim excess balloon if needed as well.  The cut edges of the balloon should lay flat and snugg against the side of the ball.

Tips:

  • Use solid, non-opique balloons.  They are thicker and create a smoother ball.  The balls in the foregound of the picture below were made with thin, opique balloons and you can see the individual grains of rice more than you can with the thicker balloons used to make the balls in the picture above.
  • If you have 12″ balloons, use a generous 1/2 cup of rice.  Creating your ball shape will be more difficult, but it is possible.
  • If you don’t like how it looks — you need more rice, less rice, you want a smoother cut on your balloon, need to cut more off the balloon, etc. — everything is reusable.  Take it all apart and try again.
  • This is a kid friendly activity.  Older kids can do this on their own, with the possible exception of cutting the balloon.  We tried three different pairs of scissors before we found some that would cut the balloons smoothly, so parental help with that step might be needed so no one gets hurt.  And as you can see in the pictures, my son needed help stretching the balloon around the baggie/ball of rice, so that portion might be a team job.

 

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