Child’s Gift for Dad – Easy Make Stress-Relief Ball.

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Frugal For Everyone | 49 comments

tennis ball stress reliever finishedIf there is one thing that drives me crazy its those smart-aleck (or stupid) drivers that seem to take over the roads in the summertime.

I live in a rural community and many drivers around here are older seniors who tend to drive slower with each passing year. I have no problem with that since they’re driving to their comfort level, which is good, and you usually have an opportunity to pass before too long. The problem are those drivers who think they’re cute and play games – they’re the ones who really get to me.

I had to run some errands the other day and got behind one of those. He was driving 70 km/hr in an 80 km. zone. As I pulled up behind him, he did increase his speed to 80, but then dropped back down to 70 and back up to 80 and so on and so on. At the first clear stretch I pulled out to pass when he decided to play games and match my speed, until we were both doing 100. Now I will admit that I was tempted to keep going just to see how far he would carry on, but common sense prevailed and I pulled back in behind him. Sure enough, back down to 70. I so wish I had been a police officer – I would have taken great pleasure in pulling his license. I’m sure that drivers like that must cause a lot of accidents.

Anyway, once I had returned home and my blood-pressure had settled down, I saw a tennis ball laying around and gave it a good squeeze and man, that felt good. As I started playing around with it one thing led to another and before long I had a stress-relief ball, filled with lavender and rosemary, both calming herbs. That was for me. But then I thought, this would be something easy for little ones to make as a gift for dad, except it might be better to fill the ball with dried pine needles and rosemary* – much more manly. So here goes.

tennis ball stress reliever 001 to useStep 1. Adult to do. Punch hole on seam of ball. Cut strong cord  tennis ball stress reliever 003 to use    or ribbon 30 inches/76 cm. long. Fold over and tie knot at one end. Dip the knotted end into some fabric glue and insert lightly into ball.

 Step 2. Kids to do.

tennis ball stress reliever 005 to useUsing a popsicle stick or other blunt object, push the ribbon/cord further into the ball so it touches bottom (that’s so the glue will stick to the ball and won’t pull out when the ball is squeezed).



 Step 3. More kids stuff.

tennis ball stress reliever 006 to useInsert a funnel into the ball stress reliever 010 -to use Pour the herbs into the funnel and using the popsicle stick again, push the herbs into the ball.

Herb mixture: 3 Tbsp. dried pine needles (or dried lavender) and 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary (the culinary rosemary out of the spice cupboard can be used). If no other herb is available, only the rosemary can be used.

Step 4. Adult to do.

tennis ball stress reliever 011 to useCut a small circle out of felt or any other non-fray material. (I traced around a small spool of thread for my circle), cut a tiny slit in the centre, pull the cord through the slit. Add some fabric glue around the hole of the tennis ball, then push the felt circle down to cover the hole. 


Step 5. Kids to do.

tennis ball 001Tie a small ribbon around the first to act as a slide.  The ball is hung from the rear-view mirror and this slide can be pushed up to keep the cord in place.




I’ve just placed one on the rear-view mirror of my truck and, since this is the beginning of summer when we can expect more of these cuties on the road, I expect I’ll be giving mine a good squeeze on more than one occasion. 

Talk to you again next week,



  1. Hi Lenie,
    You’ve got a good idea. I’ve seen similar sized balls used in physiotherapy for increasing strength by squeezing. As part of my coaching practice, I have used this technique: clench your fist as tight as you can. When you think you have it as tight as you can get it, squeeze it even more tightly. Hold it as long as you can. Then slowly release. As you do, notice the difference between tension and relaxation. This can be used any time you become tense.

    Kind Regards,

  2. That’s really a great idea. I appreciate how you took a negative experience and created something positive and helpful from it.

  3. Uggh I totally agree above those drivers.. I’ve seen many of them lately zig-zagging on the freeway at speeds close to 100mph… one of them cut so close in front of me they practically clipped my bumper.. The amazing thing is that there are a lot more cops on the road these days but somehow they are nowhere to be found when these reckless drivers are around. At any rate i LOVE the tennis ball idea! In fact we have a few laying around here and tons of dried lavender so I’m going to help my 7 year old make a stress ball for dad. Thanks for the great post and DYI project!

  4. This ball remind me of my grandma. She has a tennis ball hanging from the roof of her garage as a guide on how far to pull her car in. Love the nice friendly kid craft!

  5. Very creative idea! Never thought to do a thing like this with a tennis ball 🙂 I adore the smell of lavender and rosemary! Maybe where I live is not possible to use it, there are too many ascents, descents and curves and the ball will likely hit both the driver and the voyager :=)

  6. I know what you mean about drivers that speed up, then slow down, then speed up again. I was coming home from Toronto one evening several years ago and near Shelburne I got behind quite a line of vehicles, and only being a 2 lane road and with such a line of cars I didn’t have a chance to pass them. I wasn’t sure what was going on for a while, as we would slow way down to 60 km then speed up to nearly 100, then back down to 60… When I got closer to the front of the line (almost to Markdale by this time, and how frustrating was that!!) I could see that there was a car in the front and every time someone would pass, they would speed up, then once the car got past them, slow back down. My turn came up behind the “lead” car, getting close to Chatsworth by this time, and we were going 60 kph when I pulled out to pass, by the time I got past him I was up to almost 120 kph and he was still right on my tail! He played this dangerous vehicular cat and mouse game the whole way that I had been following the line of traffic…almost half the way from Toronto to home. It’s instances like this that can cause even the most sane person to have road rage! That was in the years before I had a cell phone or I would have been reporting him to police! I didn’t write down his plate number or I would have called the OPP to lodge a complaint when I got home. As I keep saying, they need to quit putting driver’s licences in cereal boxes! lol

  7. I’m sorry that happened to you Lenie. You turned something negative to something very creative and it smells good. I loved doing arts and crafts with my kids when they were little. I think I’m going to make one for myself.

  8. You have hit on one of my biggest pet peeves! People who don’t just drive bad, they seem to revel in it. Most of the time I try and be a good person about it, that person must just be super stressed/ going through something difficult/ fill in the blank. But the other times I see red and I fear I would just try throwing the ball at them. Best not to have any projectiles in the car to tempt me.

  9. I was developing some vicarious tension as I read your account of the senseless behaviour by the road rogue, Lenie. I’ve seen it before and there’s a very fine line between the good judgement you demonstrated and the perilous road rage alternatives others would default to in the heat of the moment. I love the serenity squeeze you’ve developed out of the experience and suspect there are a lot of motoring dads who could use just such a gift.

  10. Well done for your new web page Lenie. Good thing about your story is that it led to something creative and productive from your end. Insted of maybe both of you ending up at the police station of worse with a wrecked car, you managed to show your size in the situation, somethig we all need to learn.

    • Thanks for the comment about my web page. I am still making some changes but summer being a busy time, I won’t be getting there fast. You’re right about the driving – drivers like that drive me crazy and I want to pick them up and shake them so its better I squeeze the ball (besides, most drivers are bigger than me and would likely not take kindly to being shook up.)

  11. Hello Lenie,
    What you have shown is perhaps the most economical use of tennis ball for a good purpose. In this era we do need these techniques to burn stresses every now and then.
    Can you explain me the role played by the herbs in relieving the stresses?
    Stay safe,stay healthy.

    • Hi Tuhin – the herbs listed are calming herbs so you just squeeze the ball and the car fills with this wonderful fragrance which really helps to restore sane thinking.

  12. I hate when people play games on the road. It’s not funny and people who do that crap cause accidents. I agree with you Lenie! Good idea! 😉

    • Hi Crystal – sounds like we have the same idea about those drivers. Unfortunately, summer seems to bring them out into the open. Oh well, guess I’ll give the ball another squeeze.
      Take care,

  13. Wow what an interesting way to make a stress relief ball.

    • Hey Jason, what can I say – it works. Better than any alternative.

  14. Lenie

    It’s great that you got a brilliant idea by just releasing your stress!! If this stress ball becomes a success – you may have to share your proceeds with the guy who made you angry in the first place!!

    • Hi Mina – wouldn’t that be the ultimate insult – rewarding someone for horrible behaviour. Not something to worry about since I can’t see me making a fortune.

  15. What a great idea with father’s day right around the corner! I love that the kids can help too!

    • Hi Michelle – I know when our children were little, they totally enjoyed making homemade gifts. I think it was probably due to spending focused time with mom. I know I always enjoyed that time we spent together.

  16. Great idea, especially for my husband. My daughter’s a new driver, so she might get a kick out of making this for him. And I agree the marketable potential is significant!!

    • Hi Gloria – marketing the product wasn’t really on my agenda but since you’re not the first person to tell me that, maybe I’ll think about. I like the idea of new drivers, like your daughter, making one for their dads. Kind of cool, that.

  17. What an interesting use of a tennis ball. And dual purpose. Hope it helps with your driving stress.

    • Hi Donna, I’m sure that I’ll get to squeeze the ball on more than one occasion this summer. Mine is filled with lavender and that’s such a lovely smell that I will actually enjoy having to use it.

  18. I think I need to make on of these for myself… LOL. Not for road rage so much, but for the general need to chill out a bit with all the goings ons around our home these days.

    • Hi Susan – maybe you could hang one from every doorway, something like mistletoe. Can’t you just picture yourself running from room to room, squeezing the ball a you pass through. Hope you soon get back to your calm, relaxed self.

  19. Lenie- I think many of us have been in a similar situation of road games. I liked your idea of calming and coming up something to relieve the stress. When I say the idea of the stress ball, I had to laugh because I bought a tennis ball that has a cord running through it and the hole is large enough to put treats in it for me dog. I never thought of putting lavender. It might relax my dog and me at the same time.

    • Arleen that is a great idea – I didn’t know you could buy them ready made as a pet toy. I wonder what would happen if you filled it with catnip and gave it to your cat.

  20. What a great idea! I have had two near car crashes(one with a vehicle and one lady on a bike who believes stop signs do not apply to her) in the past two days and that stress ball would have been handy.

    • Hi Melissa – knowing where you live and with summer coming on and the tourists descending on you, the roads become crazy. Go ahead and make one, I’m sure you’re going to be needing it more than once.

  21. What a cute and creative idea. I’m not prone to road rage since I don’t drive very much, but my husband could have used this over the weekend when passing slow cars on the road 😉

    • Hi Jeri – I couldn’t believe how good it felt giving that ball a squeeze – got rid of every bit of aggression. I put one in my truck and we’ll see how it works in real life.

  22. This is s very good idea. Having a slight touch of road rage I may need this more than a few people. The only thing is I can’t have it hanging from my rear view mirror because the cops give tickets out for that

    • I’m glad to know someone else doesn’t stay cool all the time when driving. But I didn’t know that we get tickets for hanging things from our rear-view mirror (You are Canadian,right? So we have the same rules). I do hope they give a warning first time around.

  23. That sucks at how you arrived at this ultimately very sweet post Lenie. I am sure a ticket to the driver would have been more pleasurable at the time but not much of a story. This was a win-win for you.

    • Thanks Tim. I don’t think a ticket would have done the job – I was thinking something a bit more uncomfortable. Drivers like that aren’t just a nuisance, they can be a real danger.

  24. Road rage! Ugh. Living in California, I need one of these since I am always surrounded by crazy drivers. You have an idea here that could easily be marketed. I suggest you get the patent, trademark it and start yourself a business – and I’m serious! Nice idea.

    • Hi Laurie – you’re the second to see commercial value – Paul Graham was another one. I fully sympathize with you living in California. Sometimes we see pictures of your freeways on the news and the pictures are enough to get me hyperventilating. I don’t know how you do it although its not as bad as the developing countries where there are no licenses and by the sounds of it, no rules.

  25. Hi Lenie, what a great idea! But I think with everything that is going on in my husbands life, i.e. dealing with an 18 year old I think that might be a punching bag that’s needed… thinking a tennis ball might be too small! lol

    • Oh I love that Claire – I could just visualize filling up a punching bag with lavender – that would probably surprise him into submission. Tell him to hang in there – it will only last a few years more and then they automatically turn back into these really nice people.

  26. Lenie, we should send you to a developing country where they don’t have drivers licenses. You would then have to deal with what you describe + handling that on a non-stop basis some truck driver is about to hit you. Or an old man driving with his feet on the dash board, drinking coffee and reading a newspaper. Honest to God, I have seen that. Suirviving in such countries means you have to have constantly be 100% aware of what and who is around you. If not, you are dead.

    • Hi Catarina – For what you describe I would need more than a tennis ball to do the trick. I’m sure I’d be a frazzled wreck. So thanks all the same Catarina, I’ll stay right where I am – I have problems enough with the drivers here.

  27. This looks like just the thing to handle stress! Love the smell of lavender and rosemary. Wonderful idea…any dad would love this:)

    • Hi Jacquie – I hope the kids would like to do it. I know when ours were small, making gifts often gave more pleasure than buying them.

  28. What a good way to take your stress and turn it into something creative! I’ll admit when I first read this story, I was thinking miles per hour, instead of kilometers, and I was surprised you were willing to drive that fast to make a point! 🙂 I was picturing you flying down the road, the wind whipping your hair, with a crazy look on your face…oh wait, that would be me.

    • Hi Meredith – I can totally visualize you speeding along and what’s more, I think I would enjoy driving with you. I have a few police officer friends and they tell me that driving less that 20km over the limit normally means you won’t be stopped (there are always exceptions) so I set my cruise to 97 and away I go. I love to push the limit.

  29. Hi Lenie, what a great idea for stress relief. Very generous of you to suggest it as a DIY project for kids, as I have seen nothing similar and think it might have commercial potential. Without the string it might even be good for some of todays tennis pros who get so bent out of shape about disputed line calls. I expect they number among the annoying drivers !

    • Hi Paul. Tell you what, I’ll provide the product and you market it. You’re right about the tennis players, they do seem to be an uptight group in general. Maybe I’ll send it on to what – the Global Tennis Association? The referees could use it to relieve their frustration, if that didn’t work, they could always lob it.

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