These balls are very easy to make and great to juggle.
They are great for kids and beginners.
To make larger / heavier juggling balls simply add more filling at step 4.
I can provide all of these steps in printable format complete with teacher notes if you are running a workshop or class.
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Step 1: Ingredients - for the Balls
For each ball you will need
- 1/2 measuring cup of millet (small round birdseed)
- 3 round latex balloons (25cm size)
Step 2: Tools for Construction
To make the balls easily and quickly you will need to gather the following bits and pieces...
- large plastic bottle
- small plastic bottle
NOTE: Both bottles must have the same size neck / bottle cap
- sharp scissors
- a pin
- sticky tape
- a piece of thin cardboard (the inside of a toilet paper roll works well)
Step 3: Make a 'wide Neck' Funnel
Making the funnel makes things fast and tidy. I only came up with this idea after making about 100 balls in a variety of slow and messy ways.
1. Cut the top off the large plastic bottle
2. Keep the top bit to use as a funnel (recycle the bottom bit in another project)
3. Cut a 3.5 x 12cm rectangle of cardboard (you may need to trim this to suit different bottles)
4. Wrap the cardboard tightly around the neck of the funnel
5. Tape it in place.
Step 4: Make the Balls
- Put the funnel on top of the small bottle. The cardboard should stop them from slipping so you will not spill any seed.
- Pour 1/2 cup of millet (bird seed) into the funnel and it will fall through into the small bottle.
NOTE: You can add more than 1/2 a cup if you want larger heavier juggling balls. Just remember how much you put in so all your balls will be the same size and weight.
- Remove the funnel.
Step 5: Make the Balls ... Continued
Blow up a balloon a little and stretch the neck (the bit that you blew into) over the top of the small bottle. You need to do this without letting too much air out of the balloon. This can be tricky to do. One easy way is to twist the neck of the balloon about 3 times after you have blown it up.This should hold the air while you put the balloon over the bottle.
Turn the whole lot upside down and the seed will fall into the balloon.
Step 6: Still Making the Ball
Let out the air and tie a knot in the balloon as close to the seed as you can. If there is any air left in the balloon make a small hole near the neck with the pin to let the air out.
Cut the neck off the seed filled balloon (cut above the knot so the seed doesn't fall out).
Step 7: Covering the Ball
Now you have a balloon filled with seed. If you try to juggle this it is likely to burst and the seed will go everywhere.
To make it stronger it will need a few extra covers of latex. This is where the two extra balloons come in.
Cut the necks off the two remaining balloons.
Carefully stretch one of these balloons over your ball. Make sure that the knot is covered by the second balloon.
Repeat this step with the third balloon, making sure that the hole of the second balloon is covered by the third balloon.
Step 8: Make Two More Balls
Repeat steps 4 to 7 to make two more balls. You are now ready to juggle.
- When the balls get dirty or worn simply add new balloons to make them clean and strong. There is no need to peel off any old layers before doing this.
- You can add patterns by using contrasting coloured balloons and cutting small slits in the outside balloon.
- If you don't want to fill the balls with bird seed you can use flour, sand or any grain that is fairly small and round.
- Avoid filling with rice as the long shape of the grains make it harder for the ball to maintain it's round shape.
Step 9: Download the Printable PDF
This is where you can download a printable PDF of the instructions. Have fun.