Here are 5 ways to play with balloons:
Last week, we discussed the activities with sponges
Balloons may seem like a simple toy that only entertains your kids for a short time, but you can use them to create hours of fun while improving balance, catching, kicking/trapping, and working memory. These games also provide an opportunity for leadership, teamwork, compromise, and creativity. A super versatile tool, you can fill them with air, water, sand, confetti, rice, playdough and so much more. They are perfect for rainy days as well!
1. Balloon walks (Improves balance, spatial awareness, crawling, vestibular awareness, and proprioception)
- Set up the course using cones, shoes, water bottles, etc. This can be done in a straight line, circle or fun track that goes around the room/backyard. You can also add in obstacles to have to maneuver around, under, over, etc…
- Place the balloon under the arm, in between the feet, in between the legs and move! Walk, run, jump going forwards, backward, sideways, or even spinning.
- Add in more balloons for more fun, try it with a sibling/caregiver, try timing the course, or even try doing it with eyes closed and have someone provide directions to get through the course.
2. Balloon sports (improves creativity, body control, directional awareness, and brain-body connections)
- Take any sport and use balloons instead of a ball. Balloon soccer, basketball, volleyball, hockey, tennis and more… Make goals, basketball hoops and nets out of cardboard boxes, cones and/or strings. Use pool noodles for hockey sticks or baseball bats and paper plates for paddles.
3. Balloon drop or toss (improves running, agility, balance, throwing, strength, visual acuity, and eye teaming) Place balloons in one location and then run them to a laundry basket and drop them in. Try one of these fun variations:
- Toss balloons into the laundry basket, cardboard box, clean trash can or any other large container
- Place the basket at various distances.
- Move to the basket in various ways – run, walk/run backwards or sideways, jump, jump backwards or sideways, crawl, roll, spin, or combine any of these movements to keep up the challenge!
- Fill the balloons to offer different weights and movement challenges.
- Use a pack of multicolored balloons and then separate them by color, each color can also have a different movement associated with it (red = jump, blue = spin, orange = run, etc)
4. Partner basket balloon catch (improves teamwork, communication, active listening, catching and throwing, visual tracking, eye-hand coordination)
- One student stands at one end of the room and the other about 6 feet away. The first student hits the balloon while the 2nd one tries to catch the balloons in the basket.
- Practice for success and then offer “minute to win it” challenges
5. Matching balloon game (improves color/letter recognition, visual tracking, visual processing and perceptual skills, catching, running, agility and problem solving)
- Have various colors of balloons and toss them all in the air. Have students catch one and then find another item in the room the same color.
- Can also tape letters to balloons and kids have to find an object that begins with that letter.
6. Splatter balloon paint (improves throwing, kicking, strength, coordination, leadership, teamwork, understanding of force production, and varied results)
- Set up a long piece of paper or cardboard along the wall, on the floor or both. If you have been playing with us already this summer, you may already have your canvas from our noodle and/or sponge play. If not, check out our previous posts to create your own summer collaborative art masterpiece.
- Fill balloons with heavy material, such as sand, rice, or beans and tie the ends.
- Place plates filled with different colors of paint alongside the paper.
- Holding onto the end of the balloon, drop the filled balloons into the paint and then drop and splatter the paint onto your canvas.