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By Hilary Whiteeducational and craft writer

It’s surprising how much you can do with a balloon! Try the following ideas with your children and help them explore activities ranging from dance, painting and story-telling to the science of blowing up a balloon.


Exploring balloons

EYFS Area of learning > Personal, social & emotional development > Building Relationships

Let the children play freely with balloons, and help them to discover their properties and how they behave. Explore how a balloon moves slowly when you pat it into the air, compared with a ball. Does the balloon move faster if it is only blown up a little, rather than fully inflated?

Give the children balloons blown up to different sizes and some deflated balloons to play with in the water tray. Talk about how the blown up balloons ‘float’ on the water because they are ‘light’. Fill some balloons with water and let the children explore them. Talk about how they ‘sink’ in the water because they are ‘heavy’. Do the deflated balloons sink or float?

Fill some balloons with water, including coloured water, and put them in the freezer to make ‘ice balloons’. Once the water has frozen, cut the rubber off some of the ice balloons. Let the ice develop a layer of melt-water over the surface and encourage the children to explore the ice balloons, keeping a close eye on little fingers to make sure they don’t get too cold. Compare a balloon blown up with air, a water balloon and an ice balloon.

Balloon journey

EYFS Area of learning > Communication & language > Speaking

High in the sky! poster

Use the ‘High in the Sky’ Poster , Poem and Audio poem to begin an investigation into hot air balloons.

Mick Inkpen’s The Blue Balloon (Hodder Children’s Books) makes a good starting point for this activity. If you choose to use the story, look at the pages where the little boy floats off with the blue balloon into space. Imagine that you are holding on to a balloon and it floats away with you. Where does it take you? What adventures do you have along the way?

Help the children to come up with a start to the story (such as a sudden gust of wind lifting the balloon) and an ending (such as floating back in time for tea). Encourage every child to contribute to the story, asking questions to prompt them if necessary. Make a note of their ideas on a large white board and explain to the children that you are recording their ideas so you can write out the story later.

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