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27 Jul 2011
Pop goes the prize!

Add a little “pop” to your next party or gathering with balloon prizes and treats! There are so many ways to use them, and kids go crazy for balloons with a surprise inside.

For supplies, you’ll need:

1. At least one balloon for each person, but I often make more prize balloons because they are always a hit. NOTE: I like to use 5 inch balloons for my prizes; they are easier to pop, and aren’t quite as loud as 11 inchers. It’s up to you -- but if you do use 11 inch balloons you can stuff them with far more treats...

Prozes to go inside balloons|sophie-world.com

2. Treats or toys that will fit into a balloon. Starbursts, Hershey Kisses, Hershey Nuggets, hard candies that are wrapped are sweet treats that work well. For toys you could use small balls, little figurines or erasers, Silly Bandz -- just make sure there aren’t any sharp points!

3. A balloon pump (or a really hearty set of lungs!)

4. A container or bag for your blown-up balloons afterward.

How to make a “poppable prize”:

1. Insert two fingers from each hand (I use my middle and pointer fingers) into the mouth of the balloon and stretch open as wide as you can by pulling each hand away from the other.

2. Have someone drop a little treat inside (or, if you’ve got the hang of it by yourself, use your thumbs to pick up the treat and drop it in).

Add small prizes to balloons|sophie-world.com
The treat, now inside the balloon

3. Use a balloon pump to gently inflate the balloon to normal size.

4. Tie balloon end.

Inflate balloons|sophie-world.com
Steps 3 and 4

5. Place in a container or bag for later play.

There are tons of games you can play with these prize balloons! Here are some of my favorites...

1. Pair kids up and have them try to pop the balloon between their bellies (make sure they are wearing shirts) or backs or bottoms.

2. Have kids divide into teams and do a relay race. You could have them race with a balloon to a chair and then sit on the balloon until it pops.

gif animator
Aaand... pop!

Prizes left over after popping|sophie-world.com

3. Have each kid keep the balloon in the air as long as they can. When it hits the ground, have them jump on it. Last kid to drop their balloon gets a special prize.

4. Play indoor soccer with them (unfortunately grass makes the ballons pop!). Whoever has control of the balloon when it pops gets a point, and a prize. To make it fair, anyone who gets more than one treat must give it to a team member. The fun thing with this game though is you can have lots of balloons out at once, not just one!

5. “Hide and Go Pop!” Hide the balloons all around a playing area. As the kids find them, they can pop them anyway they like. This is always fun because all you hear is tons of popping from all different directions!

6. Use the balloons as decor by stringing the balloons up with paper clips and ribbon. At the end of the party, have each kid choose a balloon as their prize.

7. If you are having a county fair or similar event, set up a dart board with the balloons as targets. Use a piece of peg board for the base, and feed the nipple of the balloon through a hole in the board, which makes a perfect balloon holder. Lean the board against the wall, and you are good to go! Have kids stand back and toss darts at the balloons (make sure they are back far enough so the darts are safe - remember, darts can be dangerous). When a balloon pops, they get the prize inside. For a safer alternative (with no flying darts), open up a small paper clip and tape it to the end of a long dowel or broom stick. Have kids stand behind a line and “poke” a balloon instead of throwing a dart.

A few notes on poppable prizes:

1. Never use balloons with small children or animals, as they can choke on the small pieces.

2. Some children are very sensitive to loud noises. These are definitely not games to play with kids who have these issues.

3. To make clean up easier, give the kids a challenge! See who can pick up the most balloon pieces in 30 seconds. Give everyone who participates one extra treat.

Have fun.... and get things popping!