Top Ten OT Things to Do with: BALLOONS

You know I’m always looking for fun inexpensive and light ways (I travel to schools) to use children’s favorite toys and tools to teach important skills. Balloons are one of those magical items that makes every child rise to their feet and motivates them to participate!

Here are my TOP 10 WAYS that I like using balloons!

1. Gross motor skills:

  • Play a version of Musical chairs by tapping balloons when music stops whoever doesn’t have a ballon sits out. Remove one balloon each time.
  • Great for eye-hand coordination and team building. Children tap the ballon to each other but it can’t touch floor.
  • Write letters on a balloon as children tap it to each other they must name a letter from the balloon or name the letter and a word that begins with that letter.


2. Bilateral Coordination:

  • Use balloons to work on bilateral arm and leg skills such as tapping the balloon with alternating hands or alternating feet.
  • Use chopsticks to have children pick up the balloons and walk over to a target where they have to drop them. You can increase the difficulty by adding a balance beam, items on the floor to step over, cones to go around! You cannot drop the balloon.

3. Sensory:

  • Dipping balloons in different colored paints and stamping them on paper makes beautiful Artwork (hint: keep balloons small) I love doing this activity with children that require simple activities as it requires very little skill but produces beautiful results.
  • Fill balloons using a funnel with rice, beans, flour, beads and use as a fidget toy or to improve hand strength as you squeeze or finger isolation as you squeeze with (the thumb )and one finger at a time. You can even blow them up and then shake as musical instruments!
  • Put shaving cream on a balloon and have children write their letters!



4. Drawing:

  • Learn to draw a face. You can add paper feet so that it stays up!



5. Handwriting:

  • Have a balloon with letters written on it. Children Write a word for each letter. Or 2 children pick either the same letter.
  • Or 2 different letters and write as many words as possible for that one letter.
  • Write Who words on one balloon (nouns) and What words on another (actions). Children pick two words to make a fun sentence. Kids can also do this as a game by tapping the balloon to each other and each call out a word from one of the balloons. They then each have to make a sentence combining the words that they each called out.


 6. Letter Concepts:

  • Write upper case letters in a balloon,”. Ask children to match the lower case letter sticker to the correct letter.


7. Number Concept:

  • Children pick 2 numbers on the balloon, write down the number sentence to add them up.

8. Reading/Spelling:

This can be a fun way to learn spelling! Write your child’s spelling words on the balloon as they tap the balloon they pick a word and spell.

9. Visual Tracking Skills:

Blow up a balloon do not tie it, let it go and children have to track where it lands. To make it more challenging, do 2 balloons at the same time!

10. Science:

So many science activities involving sound, electrostatic E, blowing it up by using a solution of baking soda and vinegar, poking a ballon with a skewer without popping it, centrifugal force with a penny, power a lego car to move by letting the air out of a balloon…the possibilities are endless!!!


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Hi, I 'm Nancy

I’m an Occupational Therapist (OT) with more than 18 years of experience and whose greatest passion is working with children of all abilities. 

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