What are the Different Types of Foam Balls?

Sherry Holetzky

Foam balls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, types of foam, and uses. From coated foam playground balls and other toys to Styrofoam ™ craft balls, there are plenty of types with which you can do something fun. You can also find various types of foam balls designed for stress relief.

Foam balls can be used to make Christmas ornaments.
Foam balls can be used to make Christmas ornaments.

Simply squeeze a stress ball several times when tension begins to build. While you may be tempted to throw it, that is not the intended purpose. Simply squeeze repeatedly until you begin to loosen up and feel better.

Various types of foam balls are designed for stress relief, such as squeezing a stress ball.
Various types of foam balls are designed for stress relief, such as squeezing a stress ball.

The trademarked brand name NERF™ has been associated with foam balls for several decades. Did you have a NERF™ ball when you were little? NERF™ balls were created by Parker Brothers, and cited as the first balls that were safe for indoor use. They are great for small children because they are soft and don’t tend to cause injury the way balls made of harder materials sometimes can.

Many foam balls are washable.
Many foam balls are washable.

The first NERF™ balls were just small, round, orange balls but before long a larger version appeared. Then, there were more colors, sizes, and types. The popular foam balls soon began to mimic sports balls such as basketballs and footballs. Today, there are many other brands that also offer foam balls in similar designs.

While neon colors once dominated the selection, there are plenty of other styles from which to choose. You can find foam balls with everything on them from smiley faces to American flags. They don’t need air, won’t deflate, and many are washable. Choose from foam tennis balls, volleyballs, soccer balls, beach balls, footbag styles, and more. You may recognize footbag styles called hackey sacks.

There are also “character education” balls that may become popular in schools. These foam balls are imprinted with words or messages utilized in a way to help instill good character. The visual image created by printed words like honesty and respect are good reminders of how people should behave, even while playing.

Styrofoam™ balls are great for making many types of crafts. Styrofoam™ is also a brand name, but here too there are other brands. They range in size from very small to very large and are generally reasonably priced. One favorite use for Styrofoam™ balls is using them to create Christmas ornaments, but they can be made into many things such as snowmen, faces for handmade dolls, school projects, and even abstract forms of artwork.

Stress foam balls are ideal for workplaces where employees might deal with frustrating customers.
Stress foam balls are ideal for workplaces where employees might deal with frustrating customers.

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Discussion Comments


I was looking for some bug-themed craft projects to do with some kids, and found out that foam balls for crafts work great.

We made bumble bees with styrofoam balls. One ball for the head and one for the body and it was fun for the kids to paint them to look like bumble bees. Once they were painted they finished the project with wiggly eyes.

We also make ladybugs with these foam balls. We used one ball for the head and cut another ball in half to use for the body. They are so light and easy to work with and allow the kids to be creative when painting and decorating.


Recently I had to have a very uncomfortable test done at the doctors office. I thought this is something they would put me out for, but that is not normal procedure for this test.

It didn't take very long for the nurse to ask me if I wanted a foam stress ball to squeeze. I immediately said yes. It really did help to have something to dig my fingers into and take my mind off how uncomfortable I was feeling.

That stress ball was a lifesaver for me that day. Now I understand why some people keep these in their desk drawer at work when they are dealing with a stressful situation


I like to use styrofoam balls for craft projects.

One of the easiest projects I did using styrofoam balls was to make Christmas trees with them.

By buying three different sizes of the foam balls and stacking them on top of each other, they make a perfect looking Christmas tree.

The fun part comes in decorating them. Sometimes I would spray paint them green and other times I would cover them in fabric.

There are a lot of creative ideas online for many different craft projects you can use foam balls for. They are also easy to find at any craft store and don't usually cost very much.


My son loves basketball, but unfortunately I live in a high rise and I can’t have him bouncing a ball in the condo. I did buy him some foam sports balls that are really fun for him to play with and they don’t make any noise.

Also because these cheap foam balls are soft I don’t have to worry about anyone getting hurt. Whoever invented these foam rubber balls should be blessed because this one of the best toy ideas I have ever seen. It really has no downside unless they get wet.

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