Balloon Stomp is a frenetic, last-person-standing chase game in which players run around the room trying to pop the balloons tied around each other’s ankles. The goal is to be the only kid ⏤ or the only team ⏤ with an un-popped balloon still attached when the game ends. It’s perfect for encouraging kids to run around (either indoors or out), works for toddlers on up, and can be played with as few as two kids, or as many as can fit in a room or yard. So, no need to wait for a party if you’re trapped inside on a rainy day.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Entertainment Time: 10-15 minutes, depending on how many balloons you blow up ahead of time.
Energy Expended by Child: A lot
What You’ll Need:
- String, scissors, and painters tape.
How to Play:
The biggest drawback to ‘Balloon Stomp’ is that it requires you to blow up all the balloons. And the amount of fun is partially dependent upon how many balloons you can inflate. The more balloons, the more rounds in the game, the more fun everybody has. Also, the more time you can kill.
To set up, use painters tape to mark off a giant ‘playing field’ in the middle of the room. It can be a circle, a rectangle, whatever, but gameplay will be confined to those boundaries. Popping a balloon out of bounds doesn’t count. The smaller the space, the greater the chaos. If you don’t have tape, find a few safe objects from around the house that can be used to mark off each corner. After the field’s squared away, blow up the balloons and attach a 12-16-inch string to each.
When it’s game time, tie (or let the kids do it depending on their age) two balloons to each child, one around each ankle. If you want to play faster rounds (and/or use fewer balloons), one balloon per child is fine. Similarly, if you’re only playing with two or three kids, some parents will tie as many as four balloons to each ankle to stretch the game out. Up to you. Either way, once everybody is tethered to a balloon they can make their way onto the field.
From there, either divide up the players into teams or declare it’s every person for themselves and yell “Go!” to start the action. Rules are simple: run around trying to step on everybody’s balloons while preventing yours from being popped. No hand checking allowed. And you have to stay inside the field of play (although you can decide whether a player who steps out-of-bounds is allowed to reenter). When all but one balloon has been popped, that person ⏤ or their team ⏤ is declared the winner.
Any game that gets kids running around and laughing is a win-win for parents. Even better if all you need to play is a handful of balloons and some string. Balloon Stomp provides exercise, competitive play, and a whole lot of fun. How much fun just depends on how much hot air you’ve got.