With the chill of winter in full swing, we’ve been getting a little antsy. The single digit weather requires indoor entertainment. And on that front, balloons have delivered. I’m going to share 10 easy indoor activity ideas with balloons.
I’ll add the obligatory notice about not letting balloons get into the hands of babies or younger children who could suffocate on the plastic, and then let’s get on with business!
So, here are our 10 ways to play with balloons inside… toddler approved, but fun for any age, of course (If you don’t have balloons on hand, you can buy balloons online #afflink).
Balloon Paddle Ball
This balloon activity was a favorite, and Toby invented it all by himself. He found a long cardboard tube (leftover from our Christmas wrapping paper) and asked me to tie his balloon to the tube. I used a piece of string about three feet long — and attached it to the tube by poking a hole and then tying one end of the yarn to the tube. The other end of the yarn I then tied to the balloon.
Toby had a blast hitting the balloon with the cardboard tube, and watching it bounce up and away from him. He tried gently bouncing it up in the air, then swung speedily at it (like a ball player).
At the end of this post, I’ve shared a few more pictures of our balloon paddle ball, both in action, and a detail shot to let you see how it’s constructed.
Keep it Up!
A classic balloon game, probably with many names. You can play this with one or more individuals, and it’s a cooperative activity. The goal? Keep the balloon up in the air, and don’t let it touch the ground!
One day Toby was bouncing the balloon around on his own… when all of a sudden he got upset. Apparently the balloon was stuck to the ceiling …giving us an opportunity to learn about static electricity. After his balloon was rescued, Toby had fun seeing what his balloon would stick to around the house.
Balloon on a String
Toby has, on multiple occasions, asked me to tie a string on his balloon so that he can kick or hit it — without having it run away from him. Sometimes he will secure the other end of the string to his desk, a chair, or his shopping cart. This lets him focus on playing with the balloon, while restricting where it can go. Smart kid! In this form, the balloon was also “walked” around the house on its string leash. Wonder what kind of pet it was…
I don’t know about all kids, but my son has a strong kick — we’ve had to relegate ball kicking to outside at this point. But, kicking a balloon? That’s a different matter. No matter how hard Toby kicks the balloon, it will only float delightfully through the air. This activity will keep him entertained for a good half hour.
Hide the Balloon
Hide and seek is fun, but so too is hiding the balloon! Toby enjoys finding places for his balloon to be hidden, and then asking for my “help” to find it.
My toddler is into music, so we will often talk about the different sounds that objects make. Balloons are no exception. Toby has enjoyed tapping and flicking balloons to see the different sounds they make. If you have a balloon that hasn’t been tied shut, you can also experiment with those fun squealing sounds made by escaping air.
Balloon Rockets + Cars
I’m sure most of us have made balloon rockets in some form or another. Erica at What Do We Do All Day made a balloon rocket race — attached to a string race track. But if you don’t mind chasing the deflating balloon all over, you could just blow one up and then let it fly. Along the same lines, you can make a balloon-powered race car. Almost Unschoolers shows you how to build balloon powered cars from toilet paper tubes. Toby would love this activity, I’m sure.
Passage of Time
As time passes, your balloon will start to shrivel and shrink. This is normal balloon behavior, but kids aren’t always familiar with balloon “life cycles.” It has been fun for Toby to watch his balloons age… and compare the new ones to the old ones (we acquire a new balloon every week at swim lessons). You could even make balloon “prints” with paint and balloons of different ages to see the textures transferred to paper. Also, eventually, your balloon will pop. Maybe it collides with a sharp object, or maybe it meets an untimely end at the claws of an interested feline. However it happens, this gives opportunity to talk about the impact balloons and other plastic can have on the environment. Birds think the plastic is food, and can’t digest it… and the like.
My toddler commandeered our cat play tunnel #afflink… it’s about 1′ x 3′ in size. When turned on end, it makes a great basketball net. I suppose you could use a trash can or laundry basket if those are easier to procure around your house than mine. Anyway, Toby used this tunnel as a goal, or basket to shoot his balloon into. He had a friend over and they spent quite some time playing balloon basketball inthe playroom. I love that this idea doesn’t require much space (balloons can’t be thrown as far as a real ball).
It’s always interesting to see what games and activities kids will come up with when left to their own devices, huh? Hopefully these ballon activities will be well received by your housebound kids too!
And now for the photos of our balloon paddle ball, as promised. Click on any image to open in gallery view mode.
Have more ideas?
If you have more ideas about indoor activities that use balloons, I’d love to hear them. Share in the comments below!
This post is part of an Indoor Activity Blog Hop — Indoor Activities.
Make sure to visit the other blogs below for some fun indoor activities that you can do when the weather’s not conducive to playing outside!