Up-cycle old play balls into cane toppers for the garden, says Katherine Miller

What to do with all those play balls? - Make cane toppers, a great project for children

Many parents will have experienced the re-creation of a ‘ball pit’ – as seen at soft play centres all over the country. The homemade version comprises a small inflatable paddling pool filled with play balls, which can be bought at large supermarkets very cheaply. Then in goes the baby and everyone laughs.

As time flies by, the baby turns into an all-throwing toddler and before long the play balls get banished to the ‘annoying toy’ cupboard. Occasionally, said balls get rediscovered and in a moment of weakness the adult says “yes, OK” and all hell breaks loose as the house becomes a war zone of plastic paint-ball-style warfare. The game ends in our house when I repeatedly get one in the head whilst washing up – I know it is not a mistake… cricket training proves that even little Joe can throw fairly straight.

However, I have discovered that there is no need to pack the balls off to the charity shop, as they can be recycled into cane toppers (to protect the little darlings from pointy sticks in the garden) and according to garden design guru Diarmuid Gavin, balls on sticks are super trendy!

So that’s what we have done with ours – the green ones mark our peas, and the blue ones are for the dwarf beans. Inevitably the project drifted into someone throwing one at someone else… but it wasn’t me, honest!

What to do with all those play balls? - Make cane toppers, a great project for children

To make cane toppers (for covering the pointy tips of bamboo sticks) we used a pencil to pierce a hole in a plastic ball, and then drew on a face with a permanent marker and some white acrylic paint.