Bouncy Balls and Chemistry in the Primary Grades? A Step by Step How-to Guide

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Who doesn’t love bouncy balls?  Especially bouncy balls that are a DIY and fit into science, math, and writing?!  This is so perfect for talking about states of matter and what happens when you mix solids and liquids.  Build that foundation for chemistry people!  This idea came straight from the KOSMOS Stem Teacher Institute that I attended this summer (but I know it’s also floating around on Pinterest)!

Here’s a simple run down of how you can make bouncy balls with your class or child!

Roll up those sleeves y’all, this one can be a bit messy!

First, you’ll want to gather these ingredients and supplies.   I found them all at a local grocery store for about $10, but you might be able to find them cheaper elsewhere (don’t bother looking at Dollar General for Borax – they don’t carry it).   The amount listed below will make ONE bouncy ball.

1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon Borax
2 tablespoons white liquid glue
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Liquid food coloring (I’ve heard liquid watercolors work well, too)
2 bowls or cups
Measuring cups/spoons
Start by adding the warm water to a bowl.  Be sure the water is quite warm or the borax will not dissolve properly.
Next, add 1 tablespoon of Borax to the water and gently stir until it dissolves.
In the other bowl add 2 tablespoons of white liquid glue, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, and food coloring.  This is such a fantastic time to bring in art and talk about mixing colors to achieve desired results!
Gently mix the glue, cornstarch, and coloring together until you have a smooth mixture.
Poor the contents of the first bowl (water and Borax) into the bowl with the glue mixture.  
Quickly stir as the mixture will harden very quickly.
When you’ve got a clump in the liquid, go ahead and use your hands to pull it from the spoon.
Rub the clump between your hands until it begins to form a ball.
There will be a period where the ball becomes very sticky – this is normal!
When the ball is no longer sticky you are ready to give it a bounce!
I absolutely adore this activity for talking about states of matter (solids and liquids) in the primary grades.  It’s also just plain fun!
You can read more about my inspiration for this post by reading about my experience at the KOSMOS Stem Teacher Institute by clicking [here]!

If you want more ideas for hands-on science activities, check out one of my FAVORITE Pinterest board below.


  1. I LOVE all things science!! I think my grands will love this too!! I’m also a second grade teacher.

  2. It’s very easy to make, I love it! I can’t wait to make it with my grand daughters.

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