Children’s Theatre Company is thrilled to bring much-loved Balloonacy back to the stage! This “perfect-for-preschoolers” show inspires themes of friendship, celebration, problem-solving and creative play, all without any words spoken during the show.
Said playwright Barry Kornhauser, “One of the many things that became abundantly clear in [the writing process of Balloonacy] was that early learners come into contact with reality less on a linguistic-discourse basis than on a bodily-sensory one. Therefore, it made some sense to utilize stage languages other than the spoken word to tell a story to kids of that age group.”
And thus, Balloonacy was born: one man and one red balloon, on stage together encouraging play and teaching valuable lessons about friendship with those who may be different.
Caution: Always have parental supervision when young children are playing with balloons, as they are a choking hazard.
- Keepy-Uppy: Volley the balloon between 2 or more people, don’t let it touch the ground. You can also do this with a parachute or blanket.
- Balloon in the Wind: Blow the balloon with straws along the ground. Get a few people blowing in different directions and see how the different currents affect its movement.
- Tummy Time Relay Race: In groups of two, place the balloon between two tummies. Each team races against another team.
- Crabby Balance: Crab walk with the balloon on your tummy trying to not let it fall.
- Mouse Ears: Attach two balloons to headband to make mouse ears.
- Stress Balls: Fill each balloon with different materials like beads, slime, foam, beans. See how each one feels different. You can also make a game and see if a friend can guess what is in each balloon.
- Balloon Maracas: Put beads in a balloon and then blow it up. Shake the balloon to make a percussion instrument.
- Marshmallow Shooters: Put a balloon snuggly on one end of a toilet paper tube. Put marshmallows in the other part of the tube. Pinch the balloon in the middle, pull back and release. Watch the marshmallows launch across the room. Have a friend stand at one end and see if they can catch the marshmallows in their mouth.
- Body Balloon: Pretend you are a balloon. Blow yourself up as big as you can. Deflate or pop yourself. Blow up yourself into different shapes – are you a round balloon, or a long and skinny balloon? What about a balloon animal?
- Balloon Puppet: Draw different faces on the balloons. Add paper arms and legs. Maybe create your own play out of different balloon characters!
- Trick-or-Treat Lantern: Put a glow stick in a balloon and blow it up for extra glow throw!
- Punch Balloon: Blow up a balloon and put a rubber band on one end. Hold the rubber band end and punch the balloon back and forth.
- Papier-mâché: There are all kinds of great tutorials for making papier-mâché using a balloon base! Here is one!
- Chocolate Bowls: Blow up a balloon. Dip it in melted chocolate and freeze. Pop the balloon and you will have a chocolate bowl! Follow this easy tutorial.
- Balloon Mobile: Make a balloon mobile tying multiple balloons together with string and popsicle sticks.
- Pop tag (better for older kids): Each friend in the game ties a balloon string to their ankle (leave around 2 feet of string between the ankle and the balloon). When someone says ‘go!’ everyone has to run around and try to pop each other’s balloon by stomping on it.
- Winter Yard Art: Fill a balloon with food coloring, flowers, glitter or other small items and then fill with water and freeze. Once frozen, pop the balloon to reveal beautiful ice globes. Put outside in your snow to really have stand-out yard art.
- Static electricity: Rub the balloon on carpet and hold near your hair to see a really wild hairdo!
- Auto-inflating balloon: Watch as a balloon magically fills itself up with this fun STEM activity using vinegar and baking soda to teach your children about different states!
- Balloon Pop Surprise: Add messages, charades or prizes in balloons before blowing them up. Then kids can take turns popping a balloon to find the mystery message or prize inside.
- Trick Balloon: Put a piece of tape or Vaseline on a balloon and try to pop it. It will instead deflate very slowly.
- Balloon whistle: Blow up a balloon but don’t tie it off. Instead pinch two ends of the opening and pull apart to make a very high pitched whistle.
- Costumes: Blow up a bunch of balloons and tape or pin them to your clothes to make a grape bunch, raspberry or blackberry costume.
- Balloon animals and hats: Using long shaped balloons, twist the balloons up to make different animals or hats.
Have fun with your balloon activities, and catch ‘Balloonacy’ at CTC, now through November 12. Tickets at childrenstheatre.org or 612.874.0400.
*All photos of Robert Dorfman in Balloonacy by Dan Norman*