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May 3, 2013

Gross Motor Balloon Games

Learn Through Movement - Gross Motor Balloon Games

On Monday I shared the first post in the Learn through Movement series I'm doing with Mess for Less and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas. For three days this week each of us have shared an activity to help children learn while moving and playing.

To explore science while learning through movement I set up some balloon experiments for JZ (5) and J-Bug (4).

First we filled up a bucket of water balloons.  I bought a water balloon pumping station a few weeks ago.  Money well spent!  I am including an affiliate link below to the one I purchased, but I bought my pumping station from Toys R Us for much cheaper.  The best part is that my kids can pump and fill their own water and air balloons.

1.  Water Balloon Estimations


I added a few drops of red to the water before filling the balloons, so we could see the water in the container more easily.  It is definitely not a necessary step for this activity.

The boys estimated how many water balloons it would take to fill the plastic bin.  We recorded the number of balloons that successfully made it into the bin using tally marks with sidewalk chalk.

JZ and J-Bug had so much fun tossing the balloons into the bin.  Of course they missed a few times, and we had to fill up more balloons partway through the game.  Several of the balloons that landed in the bin didn't pop open, so they had a blast slamming those balloons into the bin with all of their might.

It took 78 balloons to fill the plastic bin.  JZ and estimated 57, and J-Bug had estimated 100.  (That is his favorite number.)  We made observations along the way.  JZ noticed that not all of the water from each balloon landed in the bin.

2.  Baking Soda and Vinegar in the Play Pool


We love creating vinegar and baking soda eruptions, so I thought it would be fun to make this activity life size.  I spread baking soda over the bottom of the play pool.  I sprinkled the baking soda with liquid watercolor paint.  This step is optional, but it's so much fun watching the colors combine.  I wish I would have used more color.

We filled a bucket of water balloons with vinegar.  Some of the balloons were 100% vinegar, and some were half water half vinegar.  I even snuck in a few with just water.  I wanted the boys to be surprised anytime a vinegar balloon hit the baking soda, and by changing up what was inside the balloons, the results varied every time.

We tossed the balloons into the play pool.

The boys eagerly watched the results of the splattered balloons as the baking soda and vinegar combined.

Just as with our estimation game, not all of the balloons burst open when they landed in the play pool.  The boys used a stick to pop them.

Please note:  The photo below demonstrates a possible safety issue.  I didn't think ahead to instruct the boys not to throw balloons while the other was kneeling beside the pool popping the other balloons.  Thankfully J-Bug was untouched by the splash.  Baking soda and vinegar are safe for children to touch, but they should be careful to avoid getting any in their eyes.

The eruptions continued until the very last balloon popped.

The best part was when both boys tossed a balloon at the same time into different parts of the play pool, creating bubbles all over.

3.  Wind Experiments with Balloons


We filled a few balloons with water and a few with air.  JZ climbed to the top of our playset and released the balloons.  This experiment could work on any raised surface.  My initial plan was to drop the balloons from our balcony, but the boys wanted to try it from the clubhouse.

JZ noted that the balloons filled with air quickly blew away, staying up in the air for awhile.  The wind happened to be blowing nicely when we did our balloon experiments, making this demonstration easy to see.

The water balloons rolled straight down the slide then splat at the bottom.

The boys were thrilled to slide down on their "new water slide" following the balloons.

For more ideas follow my Motor Development board on Pinterest.

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Be sure and visit Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas to see their Insect and Bug Movement Game game and Mess for Less to see their Water Balloon Science Experiments.

You might also enjoy the Play Inspired by Nature series being shared by members of:


  1. Love these ideas for summer play and learning! Thanks!

  2. These are fantastic. I love that you tried estimating too.

    Thanks for linking to Challenge and Discover.


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