We always seem to have oodles of balloons around, which makes them perfect for learning games. A little while ago we played this alphabet recognition game using balloons which was a huge hit (literally) with my little guys, and I think perhaps yours might like it too.
We call it Swat the ABC Balloons!
It is a WONDERFUL way for busy learners to practice their alphabet recognition and letter sounds.
The idea, as per usual, is very simple. I blew up a bunch of balloons and hung them to our basement ceiling with string and painters tape (oh good old painters tape).
Next, I used sticky notes to write some of the letters of the alphabet. For those interested, this is the order we learn letters right here.
My little guy now knows almost all of his letter names, uppercase anyway, and we are working on letter sounds. I introduced letter sounds in a very unique, and amazingly effective way with these sensory letters.
And most importantly, we have been going really slowly. Making it fun and meaningful, but also giving my little ones the time they need. He is almost 5 years old. As a Kindergarten teacher I feel very strongly about waiting to work on letters until children are ready. And when they are ready, you can see tons of ideas here, Alphabet Recognition Activities for Kids!
Sorry – back to the balloons! We put letters on sticky notes and taped them to the balloons.
With a badminton racket, I let my little guys go to it. I was trying to see if this activity was really practical, or if the balloons would just pop once they were bashed. Shockingly, they held up perfectly!
And don’t let that photo fool you, they really brought on the whacking!
I began by calling out a letter and having my boys find it and swat it. Some kids would have fun trying to do this as fast as they can. One of my boys doesn’t love those games, he finds them stressful.
A better way for us to make this into a game was to make it a memory game. I then would call out three letters in a row and it was the job of my boys to remember them and swat them in that order. Whatever is right for you and your littles!
After, I would call out an animal – like Frog. The boys would have to swat the letter that made the first sound of the word. In this case, the F.
We played lots of different, simple games with these balloons.
Here are a few ideas to try:
- Add numbers to the balloons instead of letters
- Add number facts (2+2, 3+3 or 2×2, 3×3 for older children)
- Use name letters to help children learn their name
- Add sight words, rhyming words or family members names
- Use different coloured balloons to practice colour recognition
These balloons stayed up for a very long time! They were a great way to practice the ABCs and also a great way to burn off lots of built up energy. This activity is great year round – wintry afternoons, rainy days, or hot summer mornings.
Thank you so much for reading friends, Happy playing!