Balloon Play & Child Development
Balloon Play & Child Development

We are accustomed to seeing balloons at parties, grand openings, and festivals, but their benefits extend beyond joyful celebrations to help children develop proficiency in many areas including eye tracking, cause and effect, concentration and gross motor skills.

A note of caution: children under eight years old can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision is required with balloons.  Do not allow children to put balloons in their mouths, discard balloons immediately if they become torn, and always supervise children closely while they are playing with balloons.

Infancy Development
Balloons help newborns practice hand-eye coordination. Tying a helium filled balloon to the ankles of an infant at four months old can engage them to use their legs for extended periods of time. [1] Read the Article.

Air-filled balloons are light and easy to move in order for children to observe the concept of force without weight. At four months old, children eagerly engage with balloons as they scoot on their tummy and push with hands and feet. It is a wonderfully simple way to learn how to use their appendages to maneuver objects up, down, left, or right. [2] Read the Article.

Sensory Development
By inserting different types of objects such as sand, marshmallows, and hair gel into different uninflated latex balloons, children can then feel the textures through the balloons and match what they feel to visual cue cards. This method encourages children to develop their senses through sight, sound, smell and touch. [3] Read the Article.

Emotional Therapy
As children grow and begin to wrestle with emotions they may not understand, a balloon can be presented as a metaphor for unexpressed words or emotions. Using play therapy, counselors use balloons to represent anger that needs to be addressed in order to find resolution. Using balloons, children can see how violent actions (sudden popping) are less effective than controlling emotions to communicate effectively. Additionally, fun balloon games have been used to help children ages 7 to 12 to express moments of high self-esteem. [4] Read the Article.

References and links

[1] Rachel Coley, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, 5 Creative Ways to Play with you Kicking Newborn,

[2] Mental Health Counselor, Babies Playing with Balloons,

[3] Lessons 4 Leaners – a subsidiary of Successful Solutions Professional Development, Sensory Balloons,

[4] Albert Knapp and Associates, Doctor of Psychology, Child Therapy Techniques, www.dralbertknapp.com

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