This DIY ball pit has brought our family hours and hours of fun backyard play! Check out our favorite materials to put it together, including exactly how many balls you’ll need to make it great.
We made it! It’s the final installation of Maggie’s birthday party series, ending with everything I know about how to make your own ball pit!
See the rest of the party details here:
No kidding, the DIY ball pit was maybe the most successful setup we’ve ever had at any of the kids’ parties or playdates. All of the kids loved it, and we had kids age one all the way to age eight (not to mention some dads who ended up in the pit, although the jury is out as to whether that was by choice or by force 😉 ).
Now you may be thinking, do I really need a whole tutorial on how to make your own ball pit?! And the answer is you absolutely do. We did a lot of testing to make sure that we had the right amount and size of pool, balls, and that it could withstand simultaneous action from a bunch of toddlers. So if you want a guaranteed success, you’ve come to the right place.
How to Make A DIY Ball Pit
Choose the Right Kiddie Pool
The easiest (and most versatile) way to make a ball pit at home is to use a kiddie pool. They do have those foam circles that are ball pits, but I found that those would mostly hold one kid at a time. Then there’s the pop up tent kind, but those are a bit of an eyesore.
But! If you get a kiddie pool, they’re bigger, they’re nicer to look at, and you can fill it with water in the summer and put it to its actual intended use. Double duty toy! My kind of thing, and perfect for a DIY ball pit.
Secondly, not all kiddie pools are built alike for a DIY ball pit. I found that the Minnidip pool we used was perfect. It fit up to six toddlers without anyone kicking each other in the face, and the sides of the pool blow up to a nice firm sturdiness so that the kids could really hold onto the side as they stepped in and out. Also, there’s one that looks like a tropical paradise!!!
Ball Count Matters for a DIY Ball Pit
How funny is that heading? Haha! I’m over here giggling. Ball count always matters, gang.
I was looking for balls in a specific color palette, so I hit up my good friend Amazon. Turns out, you can get balls in every color of the rainbow and then some! I did a bunch of price comparison and quality comparison on these, and I found that the ones from Thenese were the best deal for the quality.
Not one of our balls popped and maybe only 2 or 3 squished, even when grownups were in the pit. Poke around a little bit and you can find single colors or multiple color packs. Do note that these balls are a little smaller than the standard ball pit balls you think of, but they’re really cute and the perfect size for little hands.
At first, we ordered 800 balls for our DIY ball pit, just to see how it looked in the pool. We got them in the Minnidip and they covered the bottom of the pool but not much more. We definitely wanted more volume, so we went back and ordered another 1,000, bringing us to a total of 1,800.
This was the perfect amount for this particular pool. It filled it about a third full, and still left room to put a few bodies in there. The kids are able to bury themselves in the balls but can still walk around in them, so it was just right.
A Few Accessories
See? It’s not so tricky to make your own DIY ball pit, but a little knowledge goes a long way! This thing has given us hours of playtime so far, and I definitely see more in the future. Oh! And if you’re wondering, this whole thing (balls, pool, beach balls, and floaty) deflates and packs up into two 30-gallon trash bags. If you have any other questions, drop them into the comments! xoxo
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- Start by filling up your inflatable pool with air. Use the air pump if needed!
- Purchase ball pit balls at the link above. We found that 1800 balls was the perfect amount for this size pool!
- Add some fun extras like pool floats or beach balls. Fill the pool with balls.
- Let everybody have fun!