20-odd years ago, my family started a tradition. We don’t buy Christmas gifts at our house; instead, we make them! Years and years ago my little brother made these juggling balls for me and included some instructions on how to juggle (this was before Youtube).
I had a blast practicing all Christmas day and for quite some time afterward. The next year, I made some for him, and now I think everyone in the family owns their own set of homemade juggling balls. It’s one of the more memorable Christmas gifts we’ve come up with.
These balls are so simple even very small children can make them. Plop them in a home-sewn sack, print off some juggling instructions, and you’ve got the perfect Christmas gift!
Start by stretching out a balloon. Slip the neck of the balloon over a funnel:
Add rice in small amounts to the funnel and shake until the rice goes into the balloon. I usually use about 1/2 cup rice in each balloon to make sure they’re evenly weighted. The more full the balloon gets, the harder time you will have getting the rice in. If it starts backing up and won’t go into the balloon, slip the balloon off, blow it up a tiny bit, then put it back on the funnel and keep going until you’ve gotten all your rice in.
Form the balloon into an even ball, make sure there’s no excess air, and tie the balloon off tightly.
Push the tied-off top of the balloon down into the rice as far as you can.
Then, take at least two other balloons (you can use as many as you’d like, but you do need at least two). Cut off the neck of each, then cut chunks out of the sides like so:
Stretch one of the cut up balloons over the base balloon being sure to cover the tied off part.
Then stretch the second cut up balloon over the ball. Voila! You’ve got a hackysack. Make two more, and you have yourself a set of juggling balls!
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