Children love to create things and a lot of fun can be had at home by experimenting with various ingredients to produce a satisfying outcome whilst also engaging in a learning experience with your child.
Creating a bouncy ball using a variety of ingredients is a great way to introduce your child to a lesson in chemistry, whilst at the same time producing something that can be enjoyed after the experiment has finished.
To make a bouncy ball you will need:
1 tablespoon white glue
1/2 teaspoon borax
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons warm water
2 disposable containers
A popsicle stick
Pour the glue and a few drops of the food coloring into one of the plastic containers. Use the stick to mix together until the color is even.
Put the water and borax together in the second container and stir until dissolved.
Add the cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution to the glue and leave for 1/4 minute.
Stir together until the mixture becomes very stiff.
Take the mixture and mold a ball in with your hands. It will feel a bit sticky at first, but keep rolling in your hands until it becomes more solid.
You have just created a bouncy ball.
Keep it stored in an airtight container or bag to reuse at a later date.
You can explain to your child in simple terms that the glue and the cornstarch are a type of polymer that when combined together will give the material strength and elasticity.
This means that when the ball is squashed or dropped, it will return to its original form.
The borax is the stuff that holds the polymers together and stops the ball from crumbling apart. All the ingredients work together to form a spongy, springy material that can be thrown and enjoyed as a bouncing ball.
Another fun way to make a bouncy ball is to take a sheet of foil or paper and roll it tightly into a ball. Then take some elastic bands and fit tightly around the ball of foil until it is completely covered.
Keep slipping elastic bands around the ball making sure that you keep an even surface. When you have achieved the optimum size (about the size of a golf ball) you can experiment with the ball to see how high it will bounce!
When you have finished playing with your elastic band ball, why not keep on adding elastic bands to see how big you can get it to grow? You could compete with your friends to see who can make the biggest.