Entertaining children with Balloons
You know what it’s like with some children? You can spend a fortune on them for Xmas and they end up playing with the box the toys came in. You get the most up to date subscription to channels like Netflix and they watch Disney movies from even before you were born. People tend to expect children to like the new, the high tech and the complicated, but that’s not true. They like to be engaged. Sometimes less is more.
With that in mind, your bog standard balloon can give children a lot of entertainment value. They love playing with them but here are a few structured game ideas that you can do at your next party that will not only keep them interested but is cheap as well.
1. Keepie Uppie No Handie
The object here is to keep the inflated balloon airborne using any part of the body except the hands. For younger children, you may allow them to use the backs of their hands. To make it competitive, time them to see who can keep the balloon aloft the longest. Care must be taken in smaller spaces and with more boisterous children around smaller ones as they can raise their feet quite high and cause accidents. If you’re worried about this get them to do it in pairs as a ‘balloon off’. The winner is the child whose balloon stays up the longest.
2. Keepie Uppie Head Only
This is the advanced version of the game above and is suitable for older children. As it sounds, the children have to keep the balloon aloft using just their head.
I got this idea from the old TV programme Crackerjack. They had a game called Double or Drop where children had to hold loads of gifts and if they got a question wrong – cabbages. So in the balloon version, the children have one minute to grab and keep off the floor as many balloons as they can. To make it a little bit different, separate them into two teams, boys v girls and have one person as the ‘holder’ and everyone else feeds them the balloons to hold on to.
4. Hockey Balloon Race
Separate the children into 2 teams (or more for larger groups); get them to line up behind each other. Place a marker on the floor and a chair some distance away. The child at the front is given a long balloon, and a round balloon is placed on the floor at their feet (make sure you have spares blown up and ready). The object is for them to use only the long balloon, to ‘bat’ the round balloon down to the chair, around it and then back to their group for the next one to take over. Do this until all the children have had a turn and the winning team is the one to complete it first. For younger children, they can just kick the balloon but to make it supremely difficult, place fans on either side at the midpoint!
5. Popping Names
This will take a little bit more preparation but is worth it. Blow up double the amount of balloons than children attending. Place the children’s names on a piece of paper and insert them into the balloons. Scatter them all over the floor and tell them they have one minute to pop all the balloons and find their name. At the end, with lots of popped fragments on the floor, you could give them another minute to collect all the bits into a neat pile for the rubbish. You could even make it a competitive team game.
As with any balloon games, you do need to be aware of children’s potential fear of balloon’s popping and of latex allergies, but that aside, these games are inexpensive fun ways of occupying kids at parties.