When it comes to toys, most kids have a ball — Sorry! We couldn’t resist! — with the many types of balls available today. From soccer balls and footballs to baseballs and basketballs, many sports have some type of ball associated with them.

Of course, regular rubber bouncy balls can also be fun to play with. And there’s one type of bouncy ball that is especially bouncy. What are we talking about? The Super Ball®, of course!

It has been popular for many years, so we suspect most of our Wonder Friends have played with a Super Ball® at one time or another. These rubber bouncy balls are famous for the amazing heights they can reach on bounce after bounce.

The Super Ball® was invented in 1964 by Norman Stingley, who was a chemist at the Bettis Rubber Company. He invented Zectron, which was a material made of a synthetic rubber polymer called polybutadiene, hydrated silica, zinc oxide, stearic acid and a few other ingredients.

When he compressed Zectron under high pressure (over 3,500 pounds per square inch) and high heat (over 325° F) to form a ball, the Super Ball® was born. He eventually sold his invention to toy manufacturer Wham-O. Wham-O helped him to perfect his invention into the famous toy we know today.

A Super Ball® is an extremely elastic ball known for its high coefficient of restitution. That’s a fancy, scientific way of saying it can bounce really high. How high? You might be surprised!

When dropped from shoulder level, a Super Ball® will bounce back almost all the way to where it was dropped. Thrown toward the ground by an average adult, a Super Ball® can bounce as high as a three-story building.

Wham-O once created a giant Super Ball® the size of a bowling ball. It was dropped from the top of an Australian hotel and destroyed a parked car on its second bounce!

In the 1960s, the Super Ball® quickly became a fad. By the end of 1965, Wham-O had sold over six million of the bouncy balls. Eventually, miniature versions of the bouncy ball could be bought for as little as a dime in toy vending machines.

The Super Ball® also can claim to be the inspiration for the name of one of the most popular annual sporting events in the world. Lamar Hunt, who founded the American Football League, jokingly suggested that each year’s football championship be called the “Super Bowl” after watching his kids play with a Super Ball®. It may have just been a joke, but sports writers quickly picked up on the name and it stuck!

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    • Isn’t it incredible to learn about how high a Super Ball® can bounce, Siddman? We think it’s cool to learn about the science behind the bouncy ball– it has a lot of power when you add force and gravity to the mix! Thanks for stopping by today! :)

  1. We think Superballs are awesome! A few of the students in our class have had a chance to play with a Superball. We would love to have some to play with during recess!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about music, hip-hop, dance music, or rock.

    • We’re glad the SUPER students in Ms. Bayko’s class are here today! We think playing with a bouncy ball during recess sounds like a great idea! We are pretty impressed to learn about how high the ball can bounce! We hope you have a great day, Wonder Friends! We can’t wait to see you tomorrow! :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,

    We liked learning about how high the super ball can bounce. We would like to try bouncing the super ball over a house like on the video.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about a self playing piano or other instrument that can play by it self.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s 4th graders.

    • We love that our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s class are WONDERing with us this morning! Bouncy balls are very cool to learn about– they are unpredictable– who would have thought they could clear the height of a house! We can’t wait to hear how your experiment goes, too!

      We hope to see you tomorrow for another great Wonder! :)

  3. Good morning, Wonderopolis!

    After reading the Wonder, we have a couple of questions or “wonders”.

    -Did the giant Super Ball weigh the same as a bowling ball?
    -How tall was the the hotel in Australia that the giant Super Ball was dropped from?

    We are thinking about doing some of our own Super Ball experiments, sometime soon!

    We hope you have a Terrific Tuesday!

    • Check out the great Wonders from those fabulous students in Mrs. Phillips’ class! We are so proud of you, Wonder Friends! :)

      The Super Ball® was dropped from the 23rd floor of the hotel in Australia– it was said to be an “accidental” drop… but we just learned about another accidental invention– potato chips!

      We Wonder what you think about the giant Super Ball®– do you think it was as heavy as a bowling ball, or did gravity and force have something to do with it?

      We are so excited to hear about your experiments– they sound SUPER!

      Have a great “thinking” Tuesday! :)

  4. We learned how the Super Bowl got its name. We were also very interested in the invention of Zectron. None of us have a Super Ball, but we all want one.

    We think tomorrow will keep us entertained musically.

    • HOORAY, the super students in Mrs. Karr’s class are bouncing with Wonder today! We are glad that you shared what you’ve learned today– inventions are very fun to Wonder about. We hope you are able to play with a Super Ball® soon– they can be lots of fun! And even better, you learned about what they are made of!

      We can’t wait to Wonder with you tomorrow– thank you for sharing your guess! :)

    • Way to go, Jordan C! We are so happy that you learned something new with us today– those bouncy balls sure are SUPER! :)

    • What a fun fact to learn, Alexis! We’re glad you have been WONDERing with us today– it’s so great to say hello! :)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Most of us wish we had a super ball. We think they’re great.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about an orchestra, a band, or an instrument that can play it self.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th graders

    • WOHOO, we are happy our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th grade class are here today! We love to Wonder with you– and learn cool, new things about inventions like the Super Ball®!

      We can’t wait to Wonder with you tomorrow– we hope you are able to try out a Super Ball® soon, too! :)

  6. That is amazing. Wow! I find that INCREDIBLE. I thought that if just a bouncy ball could destroy a car, a couple drawers from a dresser could destroy it! I think tomorrow’s wonder will be about an instrument or music.

    • Hi there, Gina, thanks for sharing your comment with us! We think there is a LOT of force that comes from something (anything!) dropped from a tall building! We are oh-so-glad you’re WONDERing with us today! :)

    • Pretty cool to Wonder about, isn’t it, Wonder Friend Wow? :) You can find these fun bouncy balls at your local toy stores, and often convenience stores, too! We hope you have a SUPER day! :)

    • Hi there Shannon O! We are glad you are WONDERing with us about those COOL bouncy balls! We think that a Super Ball® has the power to go to many different places if you bounce it! We Wonder if you’ve ever tried bouncing a Super Ball® yourself? :)

  7. I would like to see how high it bounces when different people bounce it. I will test to see how high I bounce it. Then my mother, nannie, father and my teacher Mrs. Lewis. I want to see if it can bounce as high as the streetlight outside my house. I would also like to see if it bounces as high as my school but I’m afriad that the ball will get lost because it’s so small.

    • WOW, what a super Wonder, Patrick! We Wonder how high a Super Ball® will go when people of different heights drop the ball! We think your experiment sounds AWESOME– we are really proud of you, Wonder Friend! We hope you don’t lose the ball while you test your theories! Make sure you share your results with us, please! :)

  8. Hi my name is Deandra, I am in Mrs. Bright’s class you had gotten one of our messages. I love the video but let me ask you this, was that a commercial or what? Please reply, from Deandra.

    • Hi there, Deandra! We are glad your Wonder Friends in Mrs. Bright’s class are joining us at Wonderopolis! We think you’re right about the video– it’s a commercial for the Super Ball® by the company called Wham-O! We Wonder if you’ve ever seen a TV show or commercial in black and white like the video? The Super Ball® became popular before there were color TVs! :)

  9. I LOVE super balls! Are there any other products out there made from the same material? Just wondering if there is anything else that can bounce that high?

  10. I learned that…
    1. 1964 by Norman Stingley
    2. wow in the 1960 they became a FAD
    3. they are heated at 350 degres which is super hot!

    • A SUPER comment about the Super Ball® from our SUPER Wonder Friend, Jules! Thanks for sharing this with us– you ROCK! :)

  11. Dear Wonderopolis this is my first post we watch your videos at school. My dad says when he was a kid he loved super balls. I have one and I love them too. Have you ever had a super ball?
    I hope you do a video about all kinds of dog. – funny girl

    • Welcome to Wonderopolis, Funny Girl! We are glad you are here– there’s so much fun to be had! We enjoy a fun game of bouncing the Super Ball® as high as we can here at Wonderopolis! We bet you and your dad have a good time doing the same! Thanks for commenting today– we can’t wait to Wonder with you again! :)

    • Sometimes if they bounce around too much, Super Balls can sometimes be destructive, Cassie. Your school or classroom might now allow Super Balls because the room is too small– we wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt! :)

    • This Wonder sure was super, Lilly, just like you! :) We are glad this bouncy Wonder made you smile! Thanks for visiting us today! :)

  12. David – What if you swallowed one would you bounce all over? (Good listening Katelyn)

    Shaonni – How long will the ball bounce?
    (Good listening Ramon)

    Jacob – How high will the super ball go?
    (Good listening Ashlee)

    Jaylen – What if the ball hit you in the face? (Good listening Rebecca)

    • Great work, Katelyn, Ramon, Ashlee, and Rebecca! We are so proud of our Wonder Friends in Mrs. Farr’s Class! We love your creativity and awesome ideas about super balls– and what they can do! It sounds like you’ve got a great idea for a book… how far can you go with a super ball? :)

  13. “Wham-O once created a giant Super Ball® the size of a bowling ball. It was dropped from the top of an Australian hotel and destroyed a parked car on its second bounce!”
    HAHAHAHA! That is the funniest thing I ever heard.

    • We’re glad this Wonder made you smile… and giggle, too, Tyler! Thanks for telling us about your favorite part of our bouncy Wonder! Keep up the great WONDERing! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What makes a ball super?
  • How high can a Super Ball® bounce?
  • What is a Super Ball® made of?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Have you ever played with a bouncy ball? If not, what are you waiting for?

You can get a bouncy ball at a toy store or even out of a machine in a restaurant lobby. Or, if you’re up for a science experiment, you can make your own homemade bouncy ball at home!

Just head online and check out the directions to Make a Bouncing Polymer Ball. You’ll need a few special ingredients, so check the list and ask a friend or family member to help you get the things you need at the store.

You’ll also want the help of an adult to make your homemade bouncy ball. Make sure you clean up after you’re finished!

When you’re ready, show off your creation. Post a picture or video of your bouncy ball on Facebook for your Wonder Friends to see. We can’t wait to see what it looks like!

Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ Road Rubber Audio Update, find out where all the worn-down tire rubber ends up!

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s musical Wonder of the Day has a sound all its own!

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