Cool Summer Fun with Sponge Balls

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Cool Summer Fun with Sponge Balls

July 14, 2014

Water balloon battles are great fun, but I like to “green” our family whenever I can. That’s where sponge balls come in. They provide cool splashtastic fun, just like water balloons, but can be re-used and won’t leave bits of latex all over the grass. And they’re easy to make.

Supplies:

  • Multipack of basic kitchen sponges in different colors
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Rubber bands or, even better, strips from old tights or hosiery
  • Large bowl of water

 

Have your little helper mark one-inch cutting lines on the sponges. Sponges can be challenging to cut, so that part might be best left for big kids or adults. It doesn’t matter if you cut horizontally or vertically. Just be consistent with each sponge.

Learn to make sponge balls from www.BedtimeMath.org

After you have your strips, gather three different colors of strips and rubber band or tie them together as tightly as possible. Fluff them a bit to make a nice sponge ball. We thought it was fun to great create different sizes of sponge balls. So for you next one, you might try using twice as many strips.

Soak it Up

Soak your sponge in the bowl of water. Sponge balls can soak up a lot of water. How much? Grab a measuring cup and have your strongest child squeeze, Squeeze, SQUEEZE every last drop they can into the measuring cup. How much water did he drain from the sponge? Did the six-strip ball soak up twice as much water as the three-strip ball?

Fun in the Sun

You can throw the sponges at each other as you would in a water balloon fight. One of the fun features of sponge balls is that you can flick them at a person without actually releasing the ball. Water will still shower your target.

Speaking of targets, sometimes things get a little carried away when my boys use each other as targets. I suggest you find a neutral target like a tree or your car to keep things in check. You might even get a free wash out of it!

You can also create a target by hanging a hula hoop from a tree branch and throw the sponge balls through it. Wait a minute– the diameter of the hoop is very large relative to the size to the sponge ball. That might not be challenging enough. What might you have around the house with a smaller diameter? Brainstorm and go on a household treasure hunt. An aluminum pie plate might make an ideal target. Of course, the sponge ball can’t pass through it, just hit it and watch the splatter.

Think Small for a Big Challenge

If the goal is to simply hit the target then that opens a lot of possibilities. Now you can think small. Work your way down to the tiniest bulls-eye your kids can hit with some success. What is the smallest item that works? A mini-marshmallow?

Now that you’ve soaked up an afternoon of summer fun with homemade sponge balls, check out this Bedtime Math problem about real live sponges.

Photos courtesy of Kim Moldofsky

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About the Author

Kim Moldofsky

Kim Moldofsky is a mom of teen boys in the Chicago area. She blogs at TheMakerMom.com and hosts a the popular monthly #STEMchat on Twitter where parents and educators share ideas and resources to raise STEM-loving kids.

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