You know what sucks about water balloons? Everything except for the 4.2 seconds during which the balloon is launched and exploded. First, you have to fill each balloon and tie each balloon. Then, after the fun is over, you have to hunt down hundreds of pieces of brightly colored balloon shrapnel strewn about your yard. They waste time and materials. The scraps are dangerous for babies and wildlife.
I hate water balloons. But I also love playing with them, and so do my kids. I started looking for an alternative.
Last summer, I tried Martha Stewart’s alternative (take sponges, cut them into pieces, tie them together, and go). We found that they were a lot of fun, but they fell apart almost immediately once they were wet and being used in the heat of the moment. I tried lots of different tying materials, but none stood up to multiple uses. This wasn’t the end of the world – they still saved lots of play time. However, I wanted them to be genuinely reusable.
I finally discovered the solution a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to report that the bombs are still going strong.
- Sponges (make sure they are plain, not the ones with built-in soap)
- Strong thread
- Bread knife
- Wooden skewer
- Cutting board
- Stack a few sponges on the cutting board and cut lengthwise. The number of cuts will depend on the size of sponge that you find. Our sponge dimensions were 4.25″ x 2.75″ x 1.2″, and I cut them into thirds.
- Stack 5 or 6 pieces, then insert the skewer through the middle, down through the whole stack. The skewer will hold everything in place while you are sewing the layers together. You can skip the skewer, but it will likely cost you a lot of time and hassle.
- Thread the needle with about 36″ of thread, doubled over with the loop at the long end of the thread. Insert the needle next to the skewer and push it through all of the layers. Hang onto the end loop so that it is not drawn through behind the needle.
- Once the needle emerges, insert it on the other side of the skewer and draw it through the stack again. Once it emerges, insert the needle through the end of the loop to secure the ends.
- Pull gently and watch the stack crumple into a ball, fanning out the pieces as necessary so that the ends are evenly distributed.
- Once the center is tightly drawn, wrap thread around the middle several times. Turn the ball a few times so that the thread is wrapped around the center in several different directions. Tie off the end securely.
- Fill a few buckets with water, toss in the splash bombs, and prepare to get soaked!
- Store used bombs in a mesh bag so that they can dry completely between uses.
My kids love these! So do the neighbors. And my husband. And just about everyone who has ever played with them.
I’ve found that having 4-5 bombs per kid is a good number if you have 5 or fewer kids playing. If you have a huge group, 2-3 bombs per kid should be fine.