An in-room activity review
By Bonnie Violi
Indoors or out, balloon play thrills kids, especially if the kiddos get to participate in making their
own toys. To make the paddles, assist the kids in using clear packing tape to attach paint stir sticks to the back of bright paper plates. Blow up the balloons and you are ready to play
This is usually the first activity I pull out of my "bag" of tricks. It is a terrific ice breaker to get the TV turned off and involve everyone. Making their own toys (to keep) is an adventure. Younger toddlers just bop the balloons around. Older kids will play Keep 'em Up and count how many swats they can use before the balloon touches the ground. Sometimes we swat them back and forth between us.
When time allows, we may also decide to decorate the plates & handles with original art. The paddle handle can be large craft sticks, paint stir sticks, rulers, etc. Tape works the best for quick assembly, but glue or staples can work too. (Use smaller plates and be extra generous with the tape for best success.) If a balloon pops, be sure to find all the pieces to avoid toddlers getting it in their mouths later. It helps for each child to select their own color balloon. Ping pong balls are a good substitute if balloons need to be avoided.
This toy/craft is easy to pack, quick to assemble, and loved by all. I keep a stash of sticks, small paper plates, tape, and balloons in my bag all the time. The kids love to keep their homemade toy,
and I leave an extra balloon for each, just in case it is needed for tomorrow's play.
This idea is all over Pinterest, but try this link for even more ideas: http://craftulate.com/balloon-tennis/