Balloons are airy globes of wonder that every kid loves to have and to play with, and can be used in so many ways. You can use balloons to decorate a room or yard, play a game, or even function as props to teach science. By taking something as inexpensive as a balloon you can have hours of fun with the kids.
- Birthday Surprise- How much fun would it be to wake up in a room filled with balloons? Fill some with helium so they are floating above the sleeping birthday child and then blow up a bunch of others to cover the floors and the other surfaces in the room. When they open their eyes in the morning they’ll be thrilled to find their room filled with celebration with the balloons. If you have a girl who loves pink, give her a cloud of cotton candy to awake to by using all pink balloons. By using your imagination you can make someone’s day.
- Painting- To use balloons for painting, young children can hold a small inflated balloon and dip it into paint squirted on a paper plate. They can then press the balloon onto paper. This technique doesn’t take a lot of dexterity so it’s a project that would be ideal for a toddler. Kids who are a little older can create snowmen by dipping balloons into white paint and pressing them with different pressure onto blue paper to make bigger and smaller circles. Once the paint dries, eyes, a nose and buttons can be added to the snowman. Be sure to supervise this activity carefully, as deflated balloons are a choking hazard.
- Science experiment- Take an empty 2 liter bottle and make sure it’s clean, then add 1 cup of white vinegar to the bottle. Put 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a 9 inch deflated balloon. Stretch the balloon over the mouth of the bottle making sure not to get any baking soda in the bottle. The balloon needs to be on the bottle firmly. When you are ready to do the experiment have a child empty the contents of the balloon into the bottle and stand back. This works well with a clear bottle so the kids can see what is happening inside the 2 liter bottle. The gas being created from the vinegar and baking soda mixing together will actually blow up the balloon. The balloon could expand quite a bit and if it’s not firmly on the bottle it may shoot off. Discuss with the kids how the balloon was able to inflate itself. Answer: The baking soda mixed with the vinegar creates carbon dioxide gas which increases the pressure in the bottle. This forces the gas into the balloon and inflates it.
- Balloon Ping Pong- Blow up a balloon. Take two paper plates and attach a craft stick or tongue depressor to each plate to create handles. You can bounce the balloon back and forth on the table or just smack it back and forth with the paddles.
- Water Balloon Toss- Fill small balloons with water and tie a knot. Pair the players up and give one water balloon to each team. Start close together and toss the water balloon back and forth. After a few minutes have the players take a step backwards and continue to toss the balloon. Continue the game having the players step farther away from their partner every few minutes until all of the water balloons are gone. The team that lasted the longest wins.
- Slippery fish- Run about an inch or so of water into the sink and add some dish soap. Add in some small balloons that have been filled with water. You can draw faces on the water balloons before adding them to the water if you’d like. The idea is to try to catch the slippery fish. For an outside activity, fill up a small pool with a bit of water.Warning: Be sure to supervise this activity carefully as deflated or popped balloons can be a choking hazard.
- Sensory balloons- Use different colored balloons and fill each color with something different. Playdough works really well in the balloons, as well as sugar, rice, and pasta. Then let your kids play with them so they can see how each type of filling makes the balloons feel. Sensory balloons work well for toddlers just exploring their world.
- Balloon bean bag toss- Fill a balloon partially full of beans or rice and use them in a game. Draw different sized circles on the driveway with chalk and put a point value inside each circle. Have the kids stand an appropriate distance away and toss the bean bags into the circles. Someone can keep score using chalk off to the side of the game.
Most kids enjoy playing with balloons, and by using balloons in different ways you may spark their imaginations to create even more entertaining and exciting activities to do with them. Since balloons, especially deflated or popped ones, can be a choking hazard, balloon play always requires close adult supervision.