Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Episode Thirteen: The Water Balloon Box

I feel like we've been doing a lot of philosophy-based ideas to begin with so this week I decided to try a tangible, make-able idea. I present to you, The Water Balloon Box.

For this idea you will need a shoe box, a nail, water balloons and two dozen knitting needles or, if you don't have thousands of knitting needles in your house like we do, you can use bamboo skewers. 

I don't know if you're familiar with the game 'Pop Up Pirate' but it is a game where you stick plastic knives into a barrel until one of them hits a trigger and a pirate doll pops up. Whoever makes the pirate jump out of the barrel is the loser. This idea is along the same lines but you create your own playable game from scratch. 

With this game we put a blown up water balloon into a shoe box with holes on the lid. The players take turns putting knitting needles or skewers through the holes in the lid. Whoever makes the water balloon pop, loses.

In this instance my middle boy and I went outside to enjoy the sunshine and I gave him instructions on how to put the game together. I think he enjoyed making the holes in the top of the lid with a nail more than actually playing the game. The holes are made in the top of the lid to make it easier for younger players to put the needles into the box. We made our holes in a grid pattern which ensured that the needles wouldn't all bunch up in one area and the balloon wouldn't be struck.

I recommend using water balloons because of their size. They fit in the box perfectly, they can be blown up til they're quite big and that makes them tight and easier to pop. If you use regular size (party) balloons you can't blow them up as big and that makes them soft and harder to pop. Also, blowing up water balloons can be pretty hard work so you're probably better doing this part of the idea for your children (pro tip: stretch the balloon half a dozen times before blowing and push your cheeks in with your fingers while blowing so you don't get that painful feeling in your jaw. Looks and sounds funny but it works!).

Once all the holes are made in the lid, the balloon has been blown up and the lid is back on, it's time to play! Divide the skewers/needles between the players and take turns putting them in a spare hole. Whoever pops the balloon loses the game. But if you're like me, popping the balloon is the best part. Just a word of warning here: for some children balloons can be scary, especially the thought of popping balloons. Explaining to them that the box will contain the balloon and it won't go flying into their face may allay their fears. Also, purposely popping the balloon and showing them that it's not as loud or as scary as they think might be a good approach.

The best thing about this idea is that it can be all packed into the box and put away for another session at a later date but please, please, please put the broken bits of balloons in the rubbish and away from young children as they are a choking hazard. Apart from that, it's fun times in DIY-ville: An easy idea which I'm sure your kids will get a kick out of.

Have fun!


  1. Cool game. We had fun making and playing this with my 3 and 5 year old.

    1. Awesome! I'm glad you gave it a go. Thanks for reading :)