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

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Introduction: 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

Tools:
Sissors
Pliers

Material:
Sponges
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

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

Step 3: Wrap the Sponge

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

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

Step 5: Zip It Up

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

Step 6: 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

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:

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

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

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.

Toy Contest

Finalist in the
Toy Contest

Great Outdoors Contest

Runner Up in the
Great Outdoors Contest

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45 Discussions

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.
DDC

1 reply

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.

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!

1 reply

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.

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!

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!

2 replies

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. :)

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

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! :)

These were a success at my house.

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

1 reply

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

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 :)