Curiosity Kits offers a science kit called Neon and Glow Magic Powerballs. The kit, for ages 6+, lets you create your own polymer bouncy balls.
What You Get and What You Need
Most of what you need to make powerballs comes with the kit. You get:
- 4 molds to make different shapes of balls
- 20 packs of crystals in 7 neon and glow-in-the-dark colors
- resealable plastic bags so you can store your balls
- cup of water
- scissors to open the packages
- watch or timer
- foil or plastic wrap
My Experience Making Magic Powerballs
My kids and I made powerballs. They are ages 9-14, so none was as young as the lower limit listed on the product, but I don't think a younger child would have any difficulty with this project. Children younger than age 6 might have trouble pouring the crystals into the mold to make a ball or might be tempted to eat the crystals.
The instructions for this kit are very clear and include pictures, so it's very easy to get great results. Basically, here is what you do:
- Snap together the molds.
- Pour crystals (one or many colors, be creative!) into a mold until it is full.
- Immerse the filled mold in a cup of water for 90 seconds. (We just counted to 90.)
- Remove the mold from water and allow it to sit on the counter for 3 minutes (time didn't seem to be critical), then remove it from the mold and set it on a piece of foil or plastic wrap.
- When the ball is 'set' or not-sticky, bounce it and play with it.
- Store each ball in its own plastic bag (included).
The balls bounce really high. If they get dirty, you can just rinse them off with water. The package said you could make 20 balls using the materials, but we actually got 23 balls out of the package.
What I Liked and Didn't Like About Magic Powerballs
What I Liked
- Easy enough even a child can make them.
- The project is quick. I would say you could go from opening the package to having a ball within 10 minutes.
- You don't need any strange materials. Get a glass of water and you're set.
- The project is very safe. It's safe to touch the materials. The balls are non-toxic.
- Clean-up was simple. Just wipe down your work surface with a damp sponge when you are done.
- The balls are exactly as described. They really do bounce up to 15 feet. They really are bright neon colors. Most of the colors glow very brightly under a black light. Some of the colors glow in the dark (green for sure, possibly pink).
This is one of the best science activity kits I've come across, so there isn't a lot I would improve. However, I wish the instructions had included some explanation of the chemistry behind making the powerballs. It also might be nice if the crystals came in resealable bags so that you didn't need scissors and so you could store materials in case you don't make all the balls at one time.
Magic Powerballs Summary
Would I buy this kit again? Definitely! This would be an affordable and fun party activity for kids. It is an enjoyable family science activity. Do my kids want to do this activity again? Yes. The balls do not last forever (instructions said they were good for about 20 days), so this is a project that can be repeated.