Whacky Tappy Balloon Game

Round up your rowdiest preschoolers and get them hopping. Plus, you’ll jumpstart their science learning and hand-eye coordination with this easy, energetic game.


In preparation for enthusiastic jumping, be sure your play-area is free or well away from sharp corners and objects.

  1. Balloons, like these found on Amazon or your local dollar store, one for each child.
  2. String or ribbon - Long enough to be 6 to 8 inches longer than each child’s height. We like to use this cotton string that comes in a big ball. It lasts a good, long while and can be used for lots more Skilly-do activities that involve string.
  3. Masking tape like this example. If you’re worried about your home’s paint, you can use painter’s masking tape found here.
  4. Scissors - For cutting string, adults only!
  1. Adults, blow up one balloon for each child.
  2. Now, measure a length of string against your child, making it about 6 to 8 inches more than your child’s height.
  3. Tie the cut string onto each balloon.
  4. Using masking tape, hang the balloon from your ceiling or doorway.
  5. Skilly Spark: See how I hung that balloon on the ceiling? Do you think you can jump up high and touch it? What do you imagine will happen to the balloon if you do?
  6. Let your little one have fun jumping up high to hit the balloon. Then jump again, can you catch the balloon as it moves?
  7. After successfully bumping the balloon around, hang the balloon a bit higher to challenge your little one to leap further. Or try new tricks, like hopping on one leg, or reaching up with one arm and then the other. How about tapping it softly and then hard? Make up more fun moves until your little one's interest-- or energy-- wanes.
Keep the fun going
  • For 4-year-olds and older, hang different colored balloons and call out challenges like, “Hit the blue one two times.” “Now hit the red one three times.” Then, let one of the children be the leader and call out new commands.
  • Choose your favorite tune, then hop and tap to the beat.
  • Hang some balloons for the adults and see how they do!