Recently, when I was in New York City, I went to the Museum of Modern Art to see The Century of the Child exhibition. It was an amazing investigation of the last 100 years and the many ways childhood has been expressed through design, education, and philosophy. I left with a hefty exhibition catalogue and a long list of things to research further.
One very simple idea, that I nearly missed at the end of the show was how kids themselves become designers, especially in impoverished countries. There were several examples of playthings that kids had made from the refuse they found in their environment. A short video of a child making a ball from plastic bags caught my attention and the fact that a ball had been brought back and displayed in the museum both broke my heart and made me marvel at the resiliency and ingenuity of kids.
I told my kids about all of this and we decided to make our own bag ball. I will be honest, they were more excited about the project than considering the poverty of other children. They love working with recyclables so saw nothing too sad about other kids making balls from trash.
It is the same activity, but obviously a different perspective.
The whole time they were making it, they were happy and excited, making their own design changes. It made me think that this would be an excellent class or club project. "This is awesome!" I heard several times as it was being made and then was taken into the back yard for some free form soccer.
How we did it.
Well, if you have read this blog for very long, you know I am not big on step by step tutorials. That kinda takes half the fun out of any creating, if you ask me. There are many methods of making a ball. You can use cloth, corn husks, string bits and of course bags.
We wadded up a few sections of the newspaper to make a soft core and then wrapped the ball in a few dozen plastic grocery bags. We used duct tape every now and then to help shape the ball and at the end, the boys covered the whole thing in tape, thinking it would keep the ball waterproof. We also put a citrus bag over the last layer thinking it looked cool and might give it more gripping power.
That is it.
I loved this project so much.
Have you made these? Do you think you might?