Activity #406: Craft a stuffed toy ball

I did not read this statistic anywhere, but I will venture to guess that one out of four babies’ first word is “ball”. The first time I showed Julian a ball and how it rolled, his eyes lit up and I could see that boys are not only made of snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, but also of balls. (Yes, you are supposed to laugh at that.)

What could be more motherly than making your child a ball with your very own hands? Before you non-crafters throw up, let me suggest that the crafty among you try this and then give them as gifts to the non-crafters.

And, since we like to help you get out of the house each day, here’s the activity: get together with a friend who is the opposite of you on the crafty continuum. (One of you owns a sewing machine and bags and bags of fabric. The other one outsources button sewing to her neighborhood dry cleaners.)

Place babies in a safe, contained play area. Ignore babies while you choose together from your fabric scraps what you will make balls with. Now, send non crafter over to watch babies while crafter assembles ball.

The adorable ball that captured your attention at the top of this post was made by the talented crafter and fabric designer Heather Bailey. The sort of lopsided ball here was made by me with two old t-shirts, one cream and one pink micro-stripes. I’ll tell you, though: it might not roll due to lack of perfect roundness, but it is easy to grab, and that’s just perfect for a little baby.

Ready?

Now, I must warn you, this project requires math. Once you decide the diameter of your ball (height) you must figure out the circumference so that you can divide it by the number of sections you plan to sew together to determine how wide the widest part of your football-shaped sections should be. My ball was 6 inches tall and made of six sections. Therefore, the circumference was 18.8 inches, and each section needed to be 18.8/2 inches tall and 18.8/6 or 3.1 inches wide. Plus some seam allowance.

If you need help using pi, use this web site: http://www.csgnetwork.com/circlecalc.html

Another option is to take a ball you have and with a marker draw off sections and then cut your fabric to match.

You need to fan your fabric sections back and forth as you sew the right sides together. You’ll figure it out – just go for it. Don’t forget to leave a hole on one side for stuffing!

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.