Balloon batting games
The group sits in a circle and a balloon is patted into the circle. The balloon
is patted to and fro between all the members of the group - the idea is to keep
the balloon airborne. Players are only allowed one pat at a time.
If the group is small then there is little prospect of the balloon falling to
the ground, so a time limit should be applied. If the group is too large for
a batted balloon to reach the other side of the circle then divide the group
into teams and the teams can compete with each other - the team that keeps the
balloon in the air the longest is the winner.
If this takes place in a hall then people can stand instead of being
seated - but some restriction on movement should be made - like keeping the
feet in one place all the time. Penalties can be given - people who step
to get to the balloon or fall over in the attempt can be 'out' and have
to sit down. You could even allow them back into the game if they can
catch and hold the balloon. Teams could be 'out' when only one player
remains standing or when the balloon touches the ground.
A variation on simple batting - and useful game in two parts
at the start of a party as
an 'ice breaker'. The group sits in a circle as before and a balloon
is patted into the circle. Instead of batting the balloon, the nearest
person catches it - then calls out their own name, and then throws it
to someone else who also calls out their own name. This goes on for a
while until everyone has called out their own name several times.
Then for stage two - the same process in that the balloon is caught by someone
but then the person who catches it has to call out the name of the person
they pat it to next. This person catches the balloon and selects someone else
and calls their name before patting the balloon for them to catch.
If you are the party organizer and you think that everyone's name is now
well known, then the process can be speeded up - patting can replace catching
so that everyone has to think more quickly. It can be played with a beachball
or a playball.
NOT ME , - YOU
Sit or stand in a circle. A balloon is passed around the circle as music is
played. When the music stops, whoever is holding the balloon calls out
'NOT ME - YOU' - 'you' should be the person's name - and then tries to pat
the balloon to the named person before the music starts again. If the pat is
aimed well then the named person must catch the balloon - if the balloon is
not caught, and it would have been easy to catch it then the named person
is 'out' for cheating. If the aim is bad and the named person cannot catch
it then the thrower is 'out'.
Trial rounds are recommended.
One person stands in the middle of a circle formed by everyone else. The
person in the middle pats a balloon or throws a ball to someone and
calls out a letter. The person who catches the balloon must call out
a name beginning with that letter before returning the balloon. If
the catcher fails to think of a name
then they swap places with the one in the middle.
Variations include - allowing the failed catcher to challenge the one
in the middle - if the one in the middle can't think of a name either
then the swap doesn't happen - if the one in the middle CAN name a
name then the swap goes ahead. The names of everyone playing the game
can be excluded if you like - either at the start of the game or
once people have become more familiar
with the game. Another change could be to allow names to be used just
once - or even the letters to be used just once. The idea is NOT to
remain in the middle. To avoid the game becoming 'stuck' some of the
letters - like 'X' 'Y' and 'Q' can be banned.
Another variation of the above game - Naming Names - the person in the middle
calls out the name of a country and the person holding the balloon or ball
has to call back with the name of the capital city of that country - the
person leading this game will have to learn as many countries and their
capitals as possible>
BALLOON IN THE MIDDLE
One person stands in the middle of a circle formed by
everyone else and has to get hold
of the balloon which is being tossed, rolled, bounced, or thrown
high into the air, or even passed from hand to hand. If the person in the
middle touches or deflects the balloon then the person who last touched
the balloon is now in the middle.
Enthusiasm can take over from common sense during this game - if the
balloon bursts then it is replaced and the game continued where it
CATCH BALLOON or BOUNCE THE BALL
Similar to 'balloon in the middle' but in this game everyone can move around
but only patting or bouncing the ball is used - or make up different rules
or your own. One player is 'it'. Either a ball
is passed from one person to another
just by bouncing it once on the floor - or a balloon is patted from one
person to another 'it' has to get hold of the balloon - and if successful
the person who last touched the balloon now becomes 'it'.
A circle is formed to make a 'ring'. There is a volunteer and a challenger
both of whom have their 'swords' - long balloons - each one tries to hit
the other's balloon with their own balloon - no other contact is allowed.
The first to score three hits is the winner, and goes on to do battle
with the next contestant.
A variation - each contestant can carry a round balloon in their other hand
and that can be the target that has to be hit with the other contestant's
'sword' balloon - the only thing that shouldn't be used as a target for the
balloon to hit is the head.
BASH THE BALLOON
Two teams sit facing each other and a balloon is patted between the two lines
of people. The idea is that the teams batt the balloon and try to get it
right over the heads of the opposing team and out of reach of that team, and
when that happens a point is scored, then the balloon is place back in
play for the game to continue.
If the balloon should burst then it is replaced - balloons that are not fully
inflated will tend to move more quickly and travel further which makes the
game fast and furious - balloons that are blown up nice and tightly
will usually still take a hefty pat - modern balloons are quite strong - and
they will float gracefully and slowly which makes the game somewhat slower
and more relaxed.
Two or more teams ( with equal numbers in each team ) push balloons from
a start line to a finish line or a turning post and then either push the
balloons back to the start line again or run back to the start line
carrying the balloons. Each team member takes turns and the winners
are the team who finishes first. Many variations exist - long balloons
can be pushed with the tip of an umbrella to make it harder - round
balloons can be fanned along using newspapers which must not touch
the balloons - round balloons can be patted with anything that makes
it harder to do - like a ruler or a piece of string held taught.
Or the balloon can be pushed with a specific part of the anatomy - for
example the nose - the more inconvenient it is, the funnier it will
Divide into teams and place one balloon with each team. The balloons are
patted into the air and from then on the idea is to keep them in the air
by patting them with whatever is announced - which could be noses, elbows,
hips, or foreheads. The announcer must leave time for the teams to change
their tactics - the SECOND bounce after an announcement should be done
with the newly announced body part. Teams are out of the round if the wrong
part of the body is used to pat the balloon or if the balloon touches the
The game is not called 'Circus seal' for nothing - there is one more body part
alternative - when the announcer calls FLIPPERS then the hands can be used to
pat the balloons - since this is the easiest option the announcer can use this
option to give the teams a bit of a break before the next set of
Each person is given a balloon - tightly inflated ones float better -
when the word is given to start the object is simply to keep patting the
balloon to keep it in the air. No-one is allowed to push anyone else or
to touch anyone elses balloon. Once a person's balloon touches the
ground they are out of the game - but the game can be played several
OTHER BALLOON GAMES