Parents are always on the lookout for ways to keep their kids entertained and happy. It can be easy to slip into the trap of over-complicating this quest. With so many toys, gadgets and electronic devices on the market, it’s easy to think that we have to buy expensive things to keep our kids happy.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that the simple things are definitely the best. Our house has been upside down for the last few months as we’ve been building an extension. My husband and I were able to see that the end result would create a wonderful space for us as a family. But for the kids, it’s just been months of upheaval and change. Neither of which they (or I) handle very well.

We’ve been squashed into our front room with a settee that’s far too big and lots of toys. So there’s not really been much space to play. And our kids have definitely been unsettled because of that. TV and iPads have become our go-to to keep them entertained while we try and make progress with the build. A means to an end, but not a good long-term habit.

We’re almost at the end of the build now and I’ve been looking for things we can do with the kids to help us all re-connect. Playing games together and colouring at the table have always been calming and happy times for us. So, I was delighted when Claire Carney, author of “50 Fun Balloon Activities” asked if I’d like to review her book. I was kindly gifted a copy of the book and some balloons and pump so that my family and I could review them.

50 Fun Balloon Activities

Both our kids love balloons at parties and as part of birthday celebrations. But we’ve never used them as part of a game before. Our youngest gets very upset if they pop, so I was wary about how she’d feel playing games with them. We talked to her about it before we started (she’s five) and she was really keen to give them games a go. To start off with, we picked games that were less likely to involve the balloons popping.

We started doing some of the games for two players so that our daughters could do them together. The first game we tried was number 15. I put some chairs in a line and showed the girls what they needed to do which was try and get round the chairs with a balloon between their knees without it falling out. I failed miserably which they thought was hilarious! Both girls enjoyed this game and managed to get round the chairs after a couple of attempts.

Book review: 50 Fun Balloon Activities. My daughter playing one of the games with a balloon between her legs.

We then moved on to game 44. I tore up a tissue into small pieces and explained how the girls needed to use their balloon to pick up the bits. They loved creating static from their hair and laughed at each other’s funny hair.

Book review: 50 Fun Balloon Activities. My daughter picking up pieces of tissue with a balloon

The girls wanted to try some games we could all do so we tried several others before we found their favourite. We did a variation of number 12 which was basically balloon tennis. They absolutely loved this and we ended up playing it for about half-an-hour. There was a lot of laughter from all of us as we dived about the room to keep the balloon off the floor.

Book review: 50 Fun Balloon Activities. My family playing balloon tennis

Keep it simple

We ended up spending about an hour playing games the first time we tried them. I was amazed at how long the girls were happy to play for and how much they enjoyed the games. Every day since, our youngest has asked to do some balloon games when she comes in from school. That’s a clear sign that she enjoyed playing.

There are a wide range of types of games to play and are all based on the “Think, Feel, Move” approach. Some are designed to get kids (and adults) thinking. Others are to encourage movement which are the ones our kids enjoyed the most. We didn’t try any of the games that involved water but will definitely be trying them outside when the weather games a bit warmer.

We’re going to try variations of some of the thinking games to help the girls with their maths as that’s something they both struggle with. Using props like balloons helps to make the learning fun which is definitely what they thrive on.

We’ve loved trying out the games and will definitely be using them a lot in the future. It’s been a lovely way for us to re-connect and spend time together playing.

You can find out about Claire and her work on her website or follow her on Instagram.

Book review: 50 Fun Balloon Activities. My daughter playing one of the games

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