Experiment: Make a Bouncy Ball

This exploration of polymers and bouncing balls caught our eye. We’ve adapted it just a bit. The fun part is experimenting, and it is easy to make several of these and change up the recipe and check results.

Materials:

  • Borax
  • warm water
  • corn starch
  • white glue
  • 2 small mixing cups
  • a stirring stick
  • food coloring (optional)

Procedure:

  1. Label one cup ‘Borax Solution’ and the other cup ‘Ball Mixture’.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of white glue into the cup labelled ‘Ball Mixture’. Add 3-4 drops of food colouring, if desired and mix it by stirring.
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of warm water into the cup labelled ‘Borax Solution’ and 1/2 teaspoon of the borax powder into the cup. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax.
  4. Put the ‘Borax Solution’ into the ‘Ball Mixture’ cup and add 1 tablespoon of corn starch. DON’T stir now.
  5. Sit the mixture for 15 seconds to allow the ingredients to interact on their own.
  6. Then stir them together to fully mix. (until it is very difficult to stir.)
  7. Take it out of the cup and start molding the ball with your hands. The ball will start out sticky and messy but will solidify as you knead it. Once the ball is less sticky, continue rolling between your hands until it is smooth and round!
  8. Freeze the ball 5 minutes and then it is ready.

These are “temporary” bouncing balls and will lose their elasticity within a few days as they dry. Keeping your bouncy ball in a sealed bag will increase its bouncy lifespan.

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