Check out our favourite (& possibly the best) balloon games for kids!
Balloon games and parties go together like jelly and ice-cream, but there are so many more ways to have fun with balloons than just using them as decorations. From air balloon games to balloon obstacle courses, we’ve got 15 of the best balloon games for kids parties right here!
1. Round ‘em up cowboy!
The herd have escaped and you need to round them up! For this balloon games for kids you will need
- a balloon for each player
- a marker pen
- a designated cattle pen (a small room or the corner of a larger room)
- something to round the herd up with.
Draw a cow’s face on each balloon (or have the kids draw a face on their own balloon) and set the herd free. The object of the game is for each player to herd his or her balloon back into the pen without touching it with their hands or feet. You can use a pool noodle (which doubles up as a great bronco!), a sheet of paper to waft the herd, a wooden spoon, paper plate or anything else you think appropriate, but beware – the party host is also the cattle rustler and can sneak in to set the balloons free as often as they like!
Set a timer and anyone who has their cow safely back in the pen when the buzzer sounds gets a prize.
This is a great balloon game for slightly older children, but it might make them dizzy! These air balloon games for kids are best played outdoors.
Set up a start and finish line and hand each child a new balloon. The object of this game is to be the first to get your balloon over the finish line by repeatedly blowing it up and letting it go. Inflate your balloon and release it in the direction of the finish line (the balloon will make a fun raspberry sound as it deflates!). Wherever the balloon lands is your new starting point. Inflate and release your balloon again and again until someone’s balloon makes it over the finish line!
3. Get stuffed!
For these balloon games for kids you will need
- 2 oversized tracksuit pants
- 2 oversized t-shirt
- lots of deflated balloons of various shapes and sizes
- a timer
Divide your party people into two groups, and get each group to select a volunteer to “get stuffed”. The volunteer must put on the tracksuit pants and t-shirt over their own clothes. The other members of the team must then inflate as many balloons as they can and stuff them into the volunteer’s pants and shirt before the buzzer sounds. The winning team is the one whose volunteer has the most inflated balloons in their clothing, or looks the funniest!
Variation: Use Santa costumes if playing at a Christmas party.
4. Roaches on the wall
This balloon game for kids is a lesson on static electricity and party game all rolled into one!
This game is best played indoors where there is lots of internal wall space – a hallway is ideal. Fill the hallway with inflated balloons and give each child their own designated wall space, then set the timer and let the fun begin!
The object of the game is to get as many roaches (balloons) crawling on the wall as possible using only static electricity. Each child must charge their balloon with static electricity by rubbing it vigorously on their clothing or hair (cue crazy hairstyles!). Once charged, slide the static side of the balloon gently onto the wall so that it sticks. The child with the most roaches on the wall (and most outrageous hair) when the buzzer sounds is the winner!
Variation: If space is limited, give each child 3-5 balloons and make it a race to get them all on the wall.
5. Obstacle course
Set up a simple obstacle course and time how long it takes for each player to blow their balloon, using just their mouth or a straw, through all the obstacles and over the finish line. Obstacle ideas can include the balloon passing under tables, through hula-hoops, weaving in and out of cones, going over low objects etc. This game works great indoors, but is even more fun outside where there’s a breeze to thwart your efforts!
Variations: Have the kids complete an obstacle course whilst holding a balloon between their knees. If they drop it they have to go back to the start, or perform some task like spinning around three times before they can continue.
Another variation is to have the children work in pairs by holding the balloon pressed between their chests or stomachs. Be ready to hand them a spare balloon in case of accidental pops!
6. Balloon skirmish
You will need two sets of inflated balloons for this air balloon game in two different colours, a timer, and lots of space! This game is better suited to older children and teenagers.
Divide the players into two teams with each team assigned a number of balloons in their colour. The object of the game is to capture as many of your opponent’s balloons as you can whilst protecting your own – teamwork is a must!
At the end of the designated time, count up the balloons and award 10 points for each balloon saved, and 20 points for each balloon captured. The winning team has the most points.
Variation: The teams can play as herds of hungry dinosaurs that must stomp on their opposition’s eggs to destroy them. The team with the most eggs saved is the winner, but the eggs must remain in the nests!
7. Balloon tennis / balloon volleyball
Back and forth ball games are heaps more fun with an unpredictable ball, and what ball is more unpredictable than a ball-oon? It won’t go in a straight line and you can’t power drive it, so it’s giggles galore with these silly games.
For balloon tennis, make your racquets out of paper plates with lollypop stick handles and determine your playing court. To make the game even more interesting, put a ping-pong ball or small marble into the balloon before you blow it up!
For balloon volleyball string a net or rope between two trees or posts and you’re all set. For added ‘danger’ part fill the balloon with water or flour and watch those serves!
8. Balloon and spoon race
This is a variation of the good old egg and spoon race, but with small balloons and wooden spoons, or large serving spoons instead.
A balloon and spoon race can be played indoors or outdoors and is great fun for all ages, but you’ll need something to add a bit of weight to the balloon. Lollies or small toys inserted into the balloon before they’re inflated are a great choice, but you can add that extra element of excitement by using water balloons when playing outside.
Families Tip: If you don’t mind things getting a little silly and messy, fill the water balloons with jelly instead of water and refrigerate until the jelly is set. Then it’s bombs away with a jelly-ball fight when the races are done! (Disclaimer: body shots or inert targets only!)
9. Balloon stomp
This is a classic balloon game that’s been a favourite for decades. For this game you will need one balloon per player and string.
Players begin the game with an inflated balloon tied to their left ankle, on a string length of about 80-100cm. The object of the game is to burst everyone else’s balloon whilst keeping yours intact. The winner is the last player remaining with an inflated balloon.
For safety’s sake this game needs a few rules and full adult supervision. Rules are
• you can only stomp on another player’s balloon with your untethered foot (if the balloon is tied to your left ankle you can only stomp with your right foot)
• you cannot use your hands or any other part of your body
• no pushing or shoving! Any deliberate contact with another player results in your elimination.
Variation: Split the group into teams with their own colour of balloons. The winning team is the first to burst all their opponent’s balloons.
10. Balloon party bags
This is a great game for younger children and it helps with their colour matching cognition. For this game you will need a different coloured balloon for each player with a matching coloured button or token.
Push a few lollies and small toys inside the balloons before inflating, then hide the balloons all over the house, garden or designated party area. Each child must find the balloon that matches the colour of his or her button. If they find another coloured balloon they must put it back in its hiding place and continue to search for their own. When all the balloons have been found and matched, the children can pop the balloons to get their treats.
Variation: For children who can read their name, you can eliminate the coloured tokens and have them search for a balloon with their name on.
11. Balloon pop relay
This balloon game works well indoors or out, provided you have enough space. For this game you will need to divide the players into teams, with each team given a chair and an assigned colour of balloon.
Set a start line, and place the chairs a few metres beyond it. Scatter a number of inflated balloons in each team’s colours between the start line and the chairs. Each team must send a player out in turns to find one of their own balloons, race to their chair, and pop the balloon by sitting on it. When their balloon pops they can race back to the start line to tag the next player. The winning team is the first one to have each player pop a balloon and make it safely back behind the line.
12. Balloon word search
The object of this game is to be the first team to find all the letters and spell out their assigned word.
How to play:
Each team is given a word of equal length to spell, and balloons with the corresponding letters written upon them are scattered throughout the party area. The teams have to race to find all the letters and spell out their word correctly with balloons, and the first team to complete the task is the winner.
Variation: For younger players give each team a number of balloons in one colour to find; one team must find all the red balloons, another team all the yellow balloons etc. The first to collect all their balloons and return them safely to base (a designated area, adult helper, or laundry basket) is the winner.
13. Musical balloon
Show off your moves and be the last player dancing! The object of these balloon games for kids is to keep the balloon in the air.
All players begin on the dance floor with one balloon for the whole group. As players dance to the music they must pass the balloon around and not let it touch the floor. When the music suddenly stops (just like in musical chairs or musical statues) the player with the balloon must toss it into the air and call out the name of another player. The player whose name is called must reach the balloon and keep it in the air until the music begins again. Any named player who doesn’t reach the balloon in time or lets it touch the floor is out. The game continues until you have one clear winner.
14. Mystery balloons
Fill a number of balloons with mystery substances and objects and number each balloon. You can fully or partially inflate each balloon, or leave them deflated so they can be squished (a great sensory game!). Each child must try to guess what’s in each balloon without popping it. The winner is the person with the most correct guesses. Suggestions for mystery fillings are
- small toys
- crumpled paper
- Lego people etc.
15. Balloon sweep relay
These balloon games for kids can be played by children of all ages. All you need is a bunch of balloons and small broom or pool noodle per team.
Designate a start and finish line, and get each team to line up behind the start line with their balloons. Each player must take turns in a relay to sweep a balloon all the way over the finish line before running back to tag the next player. The first team to sweep all their balloons over the line is the winner.
Balloon games for kids – don’t forget the clean up
Balloons are fun, but they’re not great for the environment. Protect our wildlife and waterways by making sure no balloons are released outside and that all popped balloon fragments are collected and put in the bin.
This article was featured in Issue 40 of our printed magazine, published June 2020.