Justin was pretty tickled with the kids sudden interest in juggling. Being a self-taught juggler, I think he really fancies the idea of having his own personal juggling troupe.
After a full day of the kids wildly throwing clubs and baseballs, Justin mentioned it would be good for them to have some soft juggling balls. Something more suitable for juggling rookies and breakable household items. Sunday afternoon I found Justin and J in the sewing room working on their homemade juggling balls. My plan was to make regular old bean bags for the kiddos, but Justin had a better plan. Real, perfectly-palm-sized juggling balls. A set of three for each of the kids.
He found the free printable pattern and instructions here. It really is such a clever pattern. The instructions show you how to make a round ball out of a single square of fabric. You do this by tracing the pattern onto the fabric, and then using a kind of Origami style sewing, the square almost magically becomes a sphere. I watched Justin sew the first two just to get my barrings, and then I sat down and made 12 more. Once you get the hang of the folding and stitching process, the balls go together so fast. The instructions suggest sewing them by hand but I used my machine. I don’t trust my hand-stitching enough to risk the balls bursting all over the house.
He also found that cutting out 1/4 of the pattern and tracing it onto the square one side at a time worked the best. You do need to be precise with the tracing and stitching, otherwise the ball will be badly misshapen.
At first we were stuffing them with rice but we switched to millet half way through. Rice will expand if it gets wet but millet will hold up much better to wear and tear. We found it was best to pack them pretty firm.
The kids were excited about the new juggling balls. Miss P likes them especially, and keeps stealing them from the big kids. She has a set of her own but three isn’t enough…she must have them all! They get put in the back of little toy cars and tractors and stuffed in play purses. But her favorite game is what I like to call, mama bird. She carefully makes a nest out of her special blanket, gently sets each ball in the middle of her nest, and then sits on her “eggs” with a very pleased look on her face.