Twice the fun of a church board meeting
with only half the hot air, balloon games are an inexpensive good time.
Whether the object is to keep the balloons
afloat or pop them like pimples on prom
night, most of these games work with any
size group. For even more
balloon games, simply adapt some of the
ball games in this book by substituting a
balloon for the ball. (For water balloon
* * *
This game is like volleyball, but it's played with a
balloon and without a net. To set up use masking
tape to make a straight line across the middle of the
playing area. The length of the line in feet should be
twice the total number of players on both teams (for
example, for 10 players use a 20-foot line).
center for Team A
TEAM A X X X (X) X X
TEAM B O O O (O) O O O
Divide into two teams, and have each team
stand facing the other across the line (as if it were
the net) in a single row on each side. Players should
stand four feet apart from teammates, and two feet
back from the line. Players cannot move from this
position during play, though one foot may leave the
floor to kick the balloon if the other stays in place.
The object is to volley a balloon back and forth
across the line without allowing it to touch the floor
on your team's side. The balloon can be batted with
hands or kicked. As with the ball in volleyball, contact
with the balloon may alternate between players
on the same team, but the balloon cannot be
touched by the same player twice in a row. Unlike
volleyball, however, teams are not limited to three
contacts in order to get the balloon back over the
line to the other team.
The middle player in each team's line is the
"center." Each round begins with one of the centers
serving by tapping the balloon across the line to the
other team. The team that won the point in the previous
round gets to serve. A team scores a point
when the balloon touches the floor on the opposite
team's side of the line. There is no out-of-bounds
play, so if the balloon is batted over the heads of
players and out of their reach, the opposite team
scores a point. A team also scores a point when a
player on the opposite team makes contact with the
balloon twice in a row or moves out of position.
You'll need extra balloons in case one bursts and
a referee to make sure players stay in position.
Balloon Balance Relay
Form teams and give each team one baseball cap or
painter's cap. The first player from each team dons
the cap and balances an inflated balloon on the bill
(bouncing on the bill is permitted). The players
then walk to a point 10 feet away and back again
while balancing the balloon on their hats. Then,
using their hands, they pass the balloon and hat to
the next players in line, who do the same thing.
A player whose balloon falls to the floor or is
held up by any part of the body has to start over.
(No fair blowing on the balloon to keep it in place.)
The first team whose players all complete the circuit
are declared the uncontested balloon balance relay
champions of the world.
Divide into two teams with an equal number of
players. Arrange chairs as shown in the diagram,
back to back in rows except for the two outer rows
that face inward. One team faces in one direction,
the second team faces the other direction.
After all the players are seated, toss a balloon
into the center of the chairs. Players aren't allowed
to stand as they try to bat the balloon with their
hands into the end zone that the teams face. As
soon as the balloon drops into an end zone over the
heads of the last row of people, the appropriate team
scores two points. If the balloon goes out of bounds,
just throw it back into the center. Play ends at 20
points or after 15 minutes, whichever comes first.
Balloon Bat Relay
Teams line up, single file, with kids as close together
as possible. There should be a space between the legs
to bat a balloon down the line, through the legs,
with the hands. This is not easy if all the kids are
standing close together. The person at the front of
the line starts the balloon back and when it reaches
the last person, he takes it to the front and continues
until the team is once again in starting order.
Tie an inflated balloon around your waist and let it
hang from behind. Try to break everyone else's balloon
with a rolled up newspaper without allowing
someone to bust your own balloon. You win if you
are the last person wearing an inflated balloon.
(Newspapers are the only weapons allowed.)
Blow up a balloon and tie it to your ankle with a
piece of string. Try to stomp and pop everyone else's
balloon while keeping yours intact. You win if you
are the last person wearing an inflated balloon.
Balloon Stomp Flickers
-same game but
played under a strobe light. (By the way, a strobe
light is a great variation for air hockey, Ping-Pong,
and pillow fights.)
Or make it a team game with
, for which
you'll need lots of colored balloons.
Divide into teams and
assign each team a color-red,
blue, orange, yellow, etc. Then
give each team an equal number of
balloons of its color. For example,
the red team is given, say, 20 red
balloons. They begin by blowing up all the balloons
and tying them off. When the actual game begins,
the balloons from all the teams are released onto the
floor, and the object is to stomp on and pop all the
balloons that are not your team color while
attempting to protect your own team's balloons.
After the time limit is up (two or three minutes
should do it), the popping of balloons stops and each
team gathers up its remaining balloons. The team
with the most balloons intact is the winner.
Coppendge and Christine R. Rollins
Here is a creative way to pair up people for competition.
Half of the group members write their names
on small pieces of paper, which are then put inside
balloons (one name per balloon).
Blow up the balloons and tie them off. The rest
of the kids randomly grab a balloon, pop it, and pair
up with the person whose name is found inside the
balloon. The last two people to pair up lose.
Here's an indoor game for moderately sized groups
(20 or more kids). Divide players into groups of four
to six or so; place about as many chairs as there are
groups randomly around the room; place lots of
deflated balloons on each chair; then instruct each
group to form a huddle of people, arms around
shoulders, in the middle of the room.
On "Go!" each huddle shuffles to a chair. One
person from each huddle grabs a balloon, blows it
up, ties it off, and drops it into the middle of the
huddle. Players in the huddle must keep the balloon
from touching the floor by pressing against the balloon
with their stomachs. As they do so, they must
move toward another chair to repeat the process. At
the second chair they visit, they must blow up two
balloons; at the third chair, three balloons, etc.-all
the while maintaining their huddle and keeping
their balloons from falling to the floor.
If a balloon falls, the huddle must stop and put it
back in the middle again (which takes time). A
huddle cannot visit a chair where there is already
another huddle working. Call time at three minutes,
count how many balloons each huddle has in its
middle, announce a winner-and play again!
Balloon Pop Relay
Teams line up single file at a starting line. Place a
chair about 30 feet away. Give each team member a
deflated balloon. One at a time, kids run to the
chair, blow up a balloon, tie it, pop it by sitting on
it, and go to the end of the team line. First team to
pop all of its balloons wins.
Remember the leftover party balloon that you'd
bounce around in the air when you were a child, trying
to keep it from hitting the ground? What was
rainy day entertainment then still works with youth
Formalize the game a bit-form two teams that
try to hit the balloon away from the opposition,
require that teams alternate hits (only one hit per
team), and forbid hitting the balloon directly at the
floor. Scoring can run like this: Intentional grounding
scores a point for the opposition, as does two
consecutive hits by members of the same team. If
the balloon touches the ground, the point goes to
the opposition of the team that hit it last.
Variation: Instead of the two teams intermingling
in the playing area, put them on opposite sides
of a six-foot-wide dead zone, and permit-volleyball
fashion-two hits per team (by different players)
before returning the balloon across the dead zone.
More than two hits per team or more than one hit
per person scores a point for the opposition. If the
balloon lands in the dead zone, the point is scored
against the team that last hit it. A team serves until
it loses a point.
Balloon Bomb Dress-up Relay. For this
variation of Balloon Bomb, each team needs a dress-up
box with the same number and kinds of
objects-old coat, gloves, hat, scarf, boots, etc. As
teammates take their turns racing to the box and
then dressing and undressing with the old clothes,
they must keep a balloon in the air. If the balloon
touches the ground, they must start their dressing
Julie D. Anderson, Karen Friday, and Len and Sheryl DiCicco
Divide your group into two teams and pick a captain
for each. Arrange teams as shown in the diagram.
Each team tries to hit the balloon in the direction of
its captain, who then tries to burst the balloon with
a pin. One point is scored for each popped balloon.
Players must stay seated and use only one hand.
Balloon Pin Throw
Here's a crazy little game for as few as four people, or
it can be used for larger groups in a relay style.
Each team has one of its members sit down in a
chair, wearing a baseball cap with a stick pin taped
to the bill, protruding just a little bit. If this is done
as a relay, each person on the team has a balloon
with a piece of string tied to it and stands a short
distance from the person who is seated in the chair
wearing the hat. Players then try to toss their balloons
toward the hats, so that the pins will pop the
balloons. They hold on to the piece of string so that
they can retrieve the balloon if they miss the pin. As
soon as a balloon pops, the next person on the team
does it, and so on until everyone on the team has
popped a balloon.
You might test this a few times before you play it
so that you can determine the proper distance from
the foul line to the chair. It should be a challenge to
accomplish but not impossible.
Balloon Sucking Relay
Before the meeting cut off a small (about one-quarter
of an inch) portion of the tip of cone-shaped
drinking cups, and blow up several six-inch balloons.
Divide your youth group into two equal teams
arranged in parallel lines. Hand out one cup to each
student. Place one balloon at the feet of the first
person in each line. Place tape or some other marker
about 30 feet away from the two lines.
At the sound of the whistle, the first person in
each line must bend over, inhale through the small
end of the cup to suck up the balloon, and stand up
straight. Students may not tip their heads back. The
players must then race to the goal line and back,
passing the balloon to the next person in line. No
hands are allowed during the transfer. If the balloon
is dropped, the runner may only pick it up by inhaling
through the paper cup. The team that finishes
In this relay players maneuver a balloon around a
goal and back using a broom, sweeping the balloon
along the floor. It's much harder than you think.
Run small groups of players in each relay.
Blind Balloon Hunt
Begin by placing a number of balloons in random
locations on a large floor or field (if on a field, they
may need to be anchored). A person is selected from
each team to be a hunter. Two additional people
from each team are selected to be the guides.
Blindfold the hunters. At a signal the hunters proceed
to locate as many balloons as possible (all
teams going at the same time). The guides may not
touch the hunter or the balloons. They only give
verbal commands to lead the hunters to the balloons.
Allow as much time as you feel necessary.
The object is for the hunters to locate as many balloons
as possible and bring them back to a starting
point (unbroken). They must bring them back to
the starting point to count. Keeping them informed
of time is important in this event.
Balloon Drop Relay
All you need are 40 or more inflated balloons
(round ones) and two or more teams; each with a
"dropper" (person who drops balloons) standing on a
folding chair. Place the balloons in a box, line up
the teams, and you're ready to go.
The idea is to get the balloon to the other end
in the fastest time. Before you start, the dropper
positions herself up on the chair with the balloon
ready to drop to the floor. Two teammates sit on the
floor in front of the dropper, back to back, leaving
enough room for the balloon to slip down between
their backs. The pair then carefully stands, keeping
the balloon between their backs and shuffles their
way to the other end.
Upon arrival the next balloon is dropped to the
next pair and so on until the entire team reaches the
other side. If the balloon should burst or fall to the
floor before reaching the finish line, the pair must
return and start over. The dropper may drop as many
balloons as needed in order to get one positioned just
where the pair wants it. The dropper is the only one
allowed to touch balloons with her hands. This relay
game is just as much fun to watch as it is to play!
For this simple game, have two people stand facing
each other about four feet apart. Blow up a round
balloon and have one player bump the balloon off
his head to the other player. The second player
bounces the balloon off her head back to the first
player and so on, back and forth. See how many
times they can bounce it without dropping it.