There are heaps of birthday party games you can play with a packet of balloons – both traditional party games, and balloon games with a little twist. The games are best suited for older children (who no longer get frightened by the sudden loud bangs), but younger children can also join in if they’re feeling brave. If you do have very young children at the party, make sure you pick up popped balloons quickly, as they are a genuine choking hazard.
Here are some great balloon game ideas to get you started.
Hot Air Balloons
There are several ways to play hot air balloons, but in a nutshell your guests need to keep a balloon (or balloons) in the air for as long as they can. You can keep it really simple by having no specific rules or you can introduce specific guidelines to make it harder, and more fun. Some of my favourite Hot Air Balloon games are:
- Have your guests stand in a circle and choose a theme. It could be your party theme, or it could be something completely different. The birthday child starts by calling out an item related to that theme, and then bats the balloon to the next person. That person can only hit the balloon once they have called out another item, so they need to think fast. If a person can’t think of anything new and the balloon falls, they are out of the game.
- Try to keep the balloon in the air without using your hands. If you like, you can specify which body part your guests can use. It may be they can only use their knees, elbows, head, feet or chest.
- Have all your guests stay on their knees, while trying to chase the balloons and keep them afloat. To make it harder still, you could make all your guests stay seated and just streeeeetch!
Blow up lots and lots of balloons, and scatter them all over the floor. Give the guests 2 minutes to gather up and hold on to as many balloons as they can. The winner is the person holding the most balloons when the timer stops.
Have your guests sit in a circle and bat a balloon around as you play some music. When the music stops, the last person to have hit the balloon (or the person who is actually touching it!) is out. The last person left in the circle wins.
Divide your guests into two teams, and line them up at one end of your lounge or backyard. At the other end have two boxes filled with balloons, making sure there is one for every child. On the count of three, the first child in each team runs to the other end of the lounge, chooses a balloon, and pops it by jumping, stomping or sitting. They then run back to the team and tag the next person to continue the race. The first team to pop all their balloons wins.
If you like you could put a small prize in each balloon, so the child gets something to keep when it pops.
Balloon Treasure Hunt
Blow up different coloured balloons (one for each child), and wrap up the same amount of prizes in different coloured papers to match the balloons. If you don’t have enough different coloured papers, you could just write the colour on the wrapper, or attach a coloured ribbon. Hide the balloons around the house and send your guests to find a balloon each. The colour of balloon they find indicates the coloured parcel they receive at the end of the game.
This is a great way to burn off some energy, and works well if you have a large space like a rumpus room or empty garage.
Poke a few sweets or treats into balloons before blowing them up and tying the knot. Tie a piece of string to each balloon, and then tie one balloon to the ankle of each guest. Everyone then runs around trying to stomp on other peoples balloons, while at the same time trying to protect their own. This game could potentially end in lots of stomped feet, so it’s a good idea for everyone to remove their shoes first.
For a pre-school version of this game, check out our Games for Pre-schoolers article.
Water Balloon Toss
Divide your guests into pairs, and give one person in each team a water balloon filled with water. The pair stands about one metre apart, and then tosses the water balloon between each other, and back again. If they can make the throw without the water balloon hitting the ground, they then take a step back, and throw again. The partners continue to get further and further apart, until finally they drop the catch or end up with water all over themselves. The pair which makes the longest successful throw wins!
Give everyone a different coloured balloon to blow up, but ask them to hold on to the neck rather than tie it in a knot. Place a target in the middle of the floor, and on the count of three, have everyone let go of their balloons. (Your target could be a box, a hoola hoop, or simply a mat.) You can play this game for as many rounds as you like, by allocating points for bulls eyes or ‘closest to the mark’. After several rounds, the person with the most points wins.
Poke small sweets or prizes into balloons before blowing them up and tying them in a knot. Use sticky tape to attach the balloons to a large noticeboard, making sure there is at least one balloon for every child. One at a time, let the children throw a dart at the board, and they get to keep the prize from whichever balloon they pop.
Obviously this game is only suitable for older children, and you will need to be very strict with your supervision to keep everybody safe.
Round up the Sheep
Divide your guests into two teams, and provide each team with a big cardboard box to act as their sheep pen. Release lots and lots of balloons into the backyard or rumpus room, and ask the teams to ‘round up their sheep’ with their hands behind their back. They’ll will have to work together to find the best strategies, and you’ll be surprised by some of the techniques they come up with. The team that gets the most sheep in their pen – wins.
There are lots of relay games you can play with balloons, and of course the last member of the team gets to pop the balloon to finish. Some of my favourite relay ideas are:
- Running with a balloon between your legs
- Passing the balloon down the team line – over and under, over and under
- Passing the balloon to each other – tummy to tummy
- Jumping with a balloon between your ankles
- Batting or kicking a balloon through an obstacle course
For more relay game ideas and instructions on how relays work, check out our ‘Relay Game’ article. Have fun!
If you’re looking for more ideas to help get your party sorted, try some of these great pages:
- More party games for kids
- Fun party theme ideas
- Delicious food for parties
- Party venue suggestions
- Party supplies retailers
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