KID CRAFT

Dunk balls in water for a cooling game of catch

Posted July 18, 2011, at 5:48 p.m.

If I hear one more person say “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” I think I just might scream. We all know it is hot outside. In an Ohio summer, humidity is just part of the equation.

All I need to do is remind myself of the snow, wind and cold of an average Ohio February. I’ll take the heat any day.

There are plenty of ways to get through extra-warm temperatures if you have some water available to cool you off. And you don’t need a swimming pool and a lot of expensive toys. A bucket of water, some sponges and maybe a bathing suit are all you need for some summer fun.

Sponge Ball Square Arms, colorful multi-tentacled sponge balls I found at Family Fun on the Web, are great in the pool or for a backyard game of catch. Use the sponges as you would water balloons, with the added advantage of reusability.

You can see this craft, made with colorful kitchen sponges, online at http://familyfun.go.com and search for “sponge ball.”

Supplies you will need for each ball:

• Three plain kitchen sponges

• Strong string

• Scissors

• Marker

• Ruler

• Bucket of water for each player

For each ball, use three new kitchen sponges, fresh from the package and still slightly damp.

To make the strips, measure and mark the short sides of a sponge and cut on the lines to make five, ½-inch lengthwise strips from each sponge. Repeat with the other two sponges. Place a 10-inch piece of strong string on the center of your workspace.

With the string in the center, lay a row of the strips on top of the string, rotating the colors into a base of five strips. Put another layer on top of the first, making sure you don’t place two identical colors on top of one another. Repeat with a third layer on top of the second layer.

While keeping the sponge strips lined up on top of one another, tie the string into a tight knot, pulling the strips of sponge into a ball shape.

For a great way to cool off, two people can stand a few feet apart with a bucket of water for each. See how many times you can toss and catch the ball, taking a step apart and dunking the ball in the bucket before each throw.

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