Monday, 6 June 2016

Helium balloon learning and motor skills activity


For our eldest son's recent eighth birthday he declared that he wanted "those balloons that stay up." Instead of just opting for a giant foil figure eight I looked around and found an easy way we could have some educational fun with helium balloons at home.  Many kids with autism can benefit from developing their motor skills, listening skills and team work, so our helium balloon games focused on these.

We played musical balloons, pass the balloons and find the balloons.
Here's what we used:
  • Balloon Time standard helium kit (£25 from Tesco) but you can also get similar from Amazon here.  The kits come with
    • One use 0.25M helium can
    • 30 (23cm)latex coloured balloons
    • 40m which ribbon
  • 8 latex age balloons - age 8 for Anthony 
  • 8 latex Spiderman picture balloons
  • Extra red ribbon
  • Scissors for cutting the ribbon
  • A few (safe) things for standing on, like chairs or steps
Before you start filling balloons make sure you have everything you need. Pre-cut the ribbon into lengths - we did 2m, 1.5m and 1m lengths to make the games ore fun and make it so all the kids could reach them.  Make sure you are filling your balloons inside away from windows or doors to the outside or you might lose a few. 



Filling up the balloons with this kit was really easy. Once you've opened the value you simply slip on a balloon over the black rubber tube.  Then the helium is released by flexing the black rubber tube.  Knot them as you fill them and tie on a ribbon then - it's much easier than trying to retrieve them from the ceiling later.

It's a bit more difficult to do but your balloons will stay up longer if you tie them below the knot in the balloon.  We found that we got nearly 40 balloons out of the helium and I put in several of the 'age 8' and Spiderman balloons. 

Once they were up the kids were let into the room. "Bablloons!" exclaimed Jane while Anthony ran  excitedly through the ribbons. We labelled all the colours, I picked yellow mostly because I love hearing Jane saying 'Lellow' and suspect it won't be long before that cute term disappears. Then we played a few games. 
  1. Find the balloons.  Children were tasked with finding balloons of a type 'age 8', Spiderman or even a colour.  It is easy enough but involved listening and following instructions.  It also encouraged gross motor skills such as climbing and jumping with feet together.  You could do hopping or grabbing with just left or right hands for example. The kids then had to hold onto the ribbons of collected balloons whilst looking for others (bilateral fine motor skills).
  2. Pass the balloons.  Working together they had to collect the balloons and move them into another room without losing them on the way.
  3. Musical balloons.  A fun mad game of kids picking a sound and making it while pulling on the strings like church bells - great for eye-hand coordination.
Our kids loved the balloons.  After we'd played games we put them above the home-made ball pit to be played with while jumping in.  The were also pretty fun to look at.  The balloons stayed up for about eight hours. It was great fun and I think we'll probably do it again. 

Links

As listed on:
Marvellous Mondays badge by Hello Archie
Monkey and Mouse  You Baby Me Mummy
Little Hearts, Big Love LarabeeUK

7 comments:

  1. Love this, we did confetti helium balloons for my son's 1st and the kids had so much fun playing with them. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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  2. Such great ideas! We've had this kit and it works so well! Thanks for joining us this week on #letslearn I hope to see you next week :)

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  3. how cute and calling them bablloons. :) My daughter loves balloons too and had funny names for certain objects too when she was younger.

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  4. I love "bablloons" for balloons and it certainly sounds like you had a lot of fun with "the balloons that stay up" at the party. I remember my girls saying "lellow" instead of "yellow" and it is adorable - sadly they've both grown out of that now. Thank you for linking up to #ftmob :-)

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  5. These are really good ideas! Never really considered playing games with balloons - very clever! #ftmob

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  6. Today is the time of e-learning and interactivity. There is no learning if the learner himself is disinterested and technology has made this art really interesting.
    free online

    ReplyDelete

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