30 Jun Play with Balloons
It seems like every year there are new unique months of awareness that pop up surprisingly. This year isn’t any different. In fact, this June is the first time the U.S. has officially recognized National Give a Bunch of Balloons Month. It was created to bring joy to children suffering from an illness or struggling with a life-altering diagnosis. This seems like a sweet gesture. Who doesn’t love balloons? In celebration of this new awareness month, I thought I would also share with you some quick tips on how to play with balloons to improve developmental skills in your child.
Blowing Up a Balloon
Depending on the age and skill level of your child, even blowing up the balloon can be beneficial. Stretching the balloon could help with hand strengthening. Blowing the balloon up also could help develop lip strength and improve coordination of the mouth muscles. Additionally, tying the knot of a balloon would be a good skill for an older child to work on skills needed to learn shoelace tying.
The lightness of a balloon makes it a fun and safe for all ages. Blow up a simple balloon into about the size of a basketball. Then toss it up in the air trying to keep in up there. You can make this activity more challenging by using only your pointer finger to touch the ball. You can also set a timer to try to reach of goal of 4 minutes for added exercise.
The lightness of a balloon makes it a fun and safe indoors. Blow up a simple balloon into about the size of a basketball. Then use it like a soccer ball in the house on a rainy day. You can make this activity more challenging by playing crab soccer, which builds up arm and joint strength. This involves placing hands and feet on the floor with tummy facing up, torso lifted off the floor, and kicking ball with feet with hands holding up with weight of the body.
Everyone knows that balloons can hold water and burst when thrown in play. Another thing that balloons can hold is sand. Fill a balloon with sand and tie the end to transform it into a stress reliever or fidget toy. A child can use this tool as a way to soothe anxiety by rubbing it or squeezing the balloon to shift the sand.
I hope you find these balloon tips helpful. Hopefully playing with balloons can help to improve developmental skills. Perhaps this will also inspire you to give a bunch of balloons away as well not just in June but any time of year.
Amy Baez, MOT, OTR/L
Amy Baez is the Founder of Playapy and Creator of the PALS Handwriting Program. She is a pediatric occupational therapist, speaker, and parent coach with close to 20 years of experience. Learn more at www.amybaez.com.