Introduction: What's Better Than Water Balloons... Sponge Balls!!!

Picture of What's Better Than Water Balloons... Sponge Balls!!!

Every summer we make a large batch of sponge balls for the kids to enjoy in stead of water balloons. We do this for several reasons. Once made they can be enjoyed all summer if taken care of properly. The clean up is real easy since there aren't any little rubber balloon pieced to hunt for and pick up. The set up is also really easy. It takes under 2 minutes to make 1 sponge ball. We usually make around 40 sponge balls every summer. Once the sponge balls are made we split them into four 5 gallon buckets filled with water strategically placed around our yard. The kids grab the sponges and start attacking each other. After a couple of throws when the sponges aren't as saturated with water, the kids dip them back into the 5 gallon buckets and continue with their sponge ball fight. They can be used every day if desired, and it's a great way to cool off in the summer. We regularly have kids in the neighbor hood with ages ranging from 4 to 17 playing with these things, and we have yet to have an injury due to the sponges themselves. We have had kids slip on the lawn and run into structures we have in our yard, so I still recommend playing with caution. Also, we regularly have friends ask to borrow them for parties. Everyone who uses them seems to prefer them over water balloons.

Step 1: Material and Supplies

Picture of Material and Supplies


Wire Ties

A pack of 4 sponges cost me .99 cents at our local grocery store. One pack of sponges will make 2 sponge balls. The wire ties can be found at your local hardware store for around $5.00 for a pack of 100. One wire tie is used per sponge ball.

Step 2: Assmebly Begins

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Take 2 sponges and rest them on top of 1 wire tie.

Step 3: Wrap the Sponge

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Wrap the wire tie around the sponges, and tighten the wire tie just enough for it to engage and not disconnect.

Step 4: Reposition the Sponge

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Stick your finger between the 2 sponges, and adjust the sponges so that they both slightly bow outwards.

Step 5: Zip It Up

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Now that the sponges are positioned properly, tighten the wire tie as far as you can.

Step 6: Clean Up the Wire Tie

Picture of Clean Up the Wire Tie

Now that the wire tie is tight, it's time to trim the excess plastic. You can use wire cutters and snip it as close to the end as possible, but I find that leaves a bit to much sticking out. I use pliers to remove the excess plastic. Hold the pliers over the excess plastic right at the head of the wire tie, and twist the pliers until the excess plastic breaks off. I find this leaves a much cleaner result with out any sharp edges.Any pliers that allow you to have a firm grip on the wire tie will do.  I prefer to use linesman pliers when I do this, but I didn't have any handy at the location I made these.

Step 7: Pull Out the Sissors

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Take one of the 4 sections of the soon to be sponge ball, and align your scissors in the middle of that section. Now cut down the middle as far as you can until you reach the wire tie. Do not cut the wire tie off!!!

Step 8:

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Now you have 2 sections in the quarter of the sponge ball that you previously cut. Align your scissors mid way through each of those  2 sections and cut again straight up to the wire tie.  The end result will give you 4 pieces in that quadrant of the sponge ball.

Step 9: Spin and Repeat

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Repeat the same cutting technique to the other 3 uncut sections of the soon to be sponge ball. Once all the sections have been cut, there should be a total of 16 little spongy pieces pointing in all directions. Fluff and adjust until you reach the desired result.

Step 10: Make More

Picture of Make More

Repeat all the previous steps, and make many more sponge balls. Invite people over, and have some colorful spongy wet fun. This is a great way to get your kids off the computer. Play responsibly please. I would love to hear your/your children's  feedback after you have made and played with the sponge balls. Enjoy!!

I am entering this in both the Toy Contest and the Great Outdoors Contest. If this instructable pleases you, I would appreciate a vote.


donedirtcheap (author)2013-07-12

The Dollar Tree by my house has 10 packs of foam sponges which are weaker for scrubbing but still make great sponge balls. After making a couple batches by your instructions I switched to half sized. The 7 year old just cuts em in half and we do the same exact thing only since they are smaller they can be held together with 2 of those tiny rubber band hair bands, triple tied. Three of the kids are out on the curb selling them for a quarter each (like a lemonade stand!). They'd sold 48 when I snapped this photo.
Thank you again for the idea. I will never tie a water balloon again. I've been giving batches away to my friends with kids. Best summer toy ever. V'd, F'd.

ClayChip (author)donedirtcheap2013-07-13

I'm glad everyone enjoyed them. Thank you so much for sharing the picture; it's priceless!!! I love the sea urchin sign, and I might have to steal that idea. Many people have asked me to make them and sell them as bucket kits, but I love the street stand idea. I'm sure my kids will be doing that this summer.

donedirtcheap (author)2013-07-12

Picture I forgot to attach. Can't flip it...

Jetsom (author)2013-06-18

What an awesome idea!
Sooooo many days that we didn't have balloons available... Soooo much time wasted cleaning up afterwards.
What I wouldn't do for an afternoon of my childhood with a bucket of these water bombs!

ClayChip (author)Jetsom2013-06-18

I couldn't have said it better myself!

nindespin made it! (author)2015-06-18

I made these for my son's 7th birthday party! They were so awesome that
the kids wanted to use these instead of the water balloons. Thanks so
much! It was a water sponge pandemonium of a party. :)

Chainsaw Flowerchild (author)2015-02-15

This is a very fun idea. I made them back in 2013 when you first put this up and they were an instant hit. People regularly request that we bring these when we get invites to BBQ. Great job.

AlexisTrice (author)2014-07-12


Ravirar (author)2013-11-13

Awesome! Way to reuse and reduce waste! You should sell this idea or get it a patent and sell them in bulk! You'll probably make a nice amount of cash!

poofrabbit (author)2013-08-31

Just wanted to say congratulations on being a finalists in the Great Outdoors Contest! We made these this summer at the camp I work for, we used fishing line instead of zip ties, zip ties would have saved more time! This was a fantastic instructable! Good luck!

ClayChip (author)poofrabbit2013-09-02

Thank you so much, and I hope the kids at your camp enjoyed playing with them!

poofrabbit (author)ClayChip2013-09-02

They loved it! We think we might try some plain white shirts and some food coloring in the water and have sort of a sponge ball war next year. :)

ke4mcl (author)2013-08-31

great idea! all the fun and reusable!

Chainsaw Flowerchild (author)2013-07-29

Thank you so much for the idea. Works great!

tdunnavant (author)2013-07-10

Vote done!!!! Thanks for this, we're gonna love em

rmbeeson (author)2013-07-05

Just wanted to say thanks for such a great instruct able. My oldest has a latex allergy, so this makes missing out on water fights a thing of the past! :)

davisbg1 (author)2013-07-01

These were a success at my house.

peggyfindit (author)2013-06-25

This is awesome. Voted you in for both. Going to make these for my kiddo's 13th bday pool party! Yay!

ClayChip (author)peggyfindit2013-06-25

I'm glad you like it. Thank you so much for the 2 votes! Please let me know how the party goes.

apfeffer (author)2013-06-24

How do I vote twice?! :D

ClayChip (author)apfeffer2013-06-25

You can only vote once per contest. I entered both the outdoor contest and the toy contest, so you may cast one vote for each. Thank you in advance for your vote :)

speloquin267 (author)2013-06-23

I voted! This is the best idea I've seen in a long time. We also try to bribe the kids with a penny-a-piece to pick up the broken balloons pieces. LOL! I will be making these. Thanks for sharing!

ClayChip (author)speloquin2672013-06-25

Thank you for the vote! The clean up is the worst. Nothing spoils the fun like a lengthy clean up.

speloquin267 (author)2013-06-23

I voted! This is the best idea I've seen in a long time. We also try to bribe the kids with a penny-a-piece to pick up the broken balloons pieces. LOL! I will be making these. Thanks for sharing!

addi26 (author)2013-06-20

This is great! Me and my friends never have enough money to keeps buying water balloons every time we get hot! Plus this solves the problem of being allergic to latex (even though I'm not)

addi26 (author)2013-06-20

This is great! Me and my friends never have enough money to keeps buying water balloons every time we get hot! Plus this solves the problem of being allergic to latex (even though I'm not)

Dominic Bender (author)2013-06-20

Thanks for sharing, what a great idea!

okiegirl813 (author)2013-06-20

Brilliant idea!!! I have 4 boys so this will be a great way to get them out of the house this summer!! (And yes!!! No little pieces of balloon to pick up or eaten by our dog. Those can be very bad for the family pet!!) Thanks for posting!! Going to start on some today!!!

Znaffi (author)2013-06-19

I'm going to make these when i have the sponges :D

GarthBock (author)2013-06-19

Nice idea for the kids this summer ! ....oh I just gotta go will there be TV show featuring your new product ??? Something like SpongeBalls Waterpants ?

ClayChip (author)GarthBock2013-06-19

LOL, my youngest likes to call them sponge bobs.

GarthBock (author)ClayChip2013-06-19

Better yet ..... Sponge Blobs !

HungryMustache (author)2013-06-19

love it!

ClayChip (author)HungryMustache2013-06-19

Awesome!! Looks great!

HungryMustache (author)2013-06-19

made one

lhughes14 (author)2013-06-19

Love this idea wonderful

HungryMustache (author)2013-06-19

how do u come up with this stuff

Jessie Marie (author)2013-06-19

Wow! What a great idea! Thanks for putting it on instructables!! Also, you don't have to spend half an hour filling up water balloons. You can just soak them and go! I love it! :D

MorNuN (author)2013-06-18

haven't you tried tying it with a strong cord or string??
I'm a bit concerned about the zip tie hiting someone's eye.

ClayChip (author)MorNuN2013-06-18

Honesty, I'm lousy with knots, but I bet this could be done with paracord if you're not comfortable using zip ties.I don't think I would use anything much thinner than paracord since it might just cut through the sponge. That said, I have yet to have an injury or even a complaint about the zip ties. Any way you decide to connect the sponges I'm sure you'll have fun.

ssmith155 (author)2013-06-18

This is such a clever idea!! Thumbs up

redfoxtrystman (author)2013-06-18

Great idea thank you

ClayChip (author)redfoxtrystman2013-06-18

Thank you!

redfoxtrystman (author)2013-06-18

Great idea thank you

j-dubz44 (author)2013-06-18

Imma do this! Thanks

Conner Lee Caden (author)2013-06-18

We did it 3 weeks ago

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