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Science Fun for Kids: DIY Bouncy Ball

In this science fun activity, kids use common household materials to make their own bouncy balls. Then, they’ll predict how the balls will bounce on different surfaces and at different temperatures and run tests to see the actual results.

In this cool DIY activity, you’ll combine glue, borax, and cornstarch to make your own bouncy ball. Glue, known chemically as a polymer, is a little bit like a bunch of cut strings in a pile. The strings don’t hold together because they aren’t connected to one another. Borax comes along and ties all the strings into a tangled net, making the pile strong and resilient. Cornstarch helps dry up the wet goo to make it easier to handle and roll into a ball. And the food coloring makes it look nice!

So what’s going on here? It’s known as a chemical reaction, which occurs when two or more substances come together under just the right conditions for a new substance to be created. Although some chemical reactions can be dangerous, safe chemical reactions happen around us all the time. For example, when baking bread, yeast combined with sugar and warm water gives off oxygen bubbles that make the dough rise (and accounts for all the little holes in soft bread). The chemical reaction in this case happen when combining glue, borax, and cornstarch to make a fun little bouncy ball at your kitchen table! Hey, not all chemistry happens in a laboratory—and that’s the cool part about science!
Use the included investigator’s journal to record your predictions and observations.

Download the free Science Fun: DIY Bouncy Ball PDF or check out the rest of the science activities.

This activity is part of PTO Today’s Family Science Night kit, a free program that helps PTO and PTA leaders plan a night of hands-on learning and discovery about science at school. The free Family Science Night toolkit includes step-by-step planning guidelines, promotional tools, take-homes, and 20-plus STEM projects for kids. Bring the Family Science Night program to your school.

Originally posted 2018

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