Camp Little Victors 2020: Balloon Palooza

July 21, 2020 11:05 AM

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital team walks you through some family fun balloon-themed activities that will blow you away.

CLV week 3 balloons

To spark imagination and inspire safe fun indoors, the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital’s Camp Little Victor’s summer series provides families with step-by-step, kid-friendly activities to enjoy, ranging from arts and crafts, fitness and motor skills to math and science projects and delicious recipes. Check out more Camp Little Victors activities. 

Get ready to have your kids blown away by the third week of Camp Little Victors with balloon palooza! These balloon-themed activities will inflate your creativity and burst summer boredom. 

Create a balloon button bowl, inflate balloons with science, play balloon tennis and create healthy banana balloon pancakes. 

Arts & Crafts 

Balloon Button Bowls 

Make a show-stopping bowl that will be perfect as a centerpiece for any table. With creativity and time, turn a balloon, glue and buttons into a masterpiece. Added bonus: your children will enhance their motor skills when applying the buttons to the glue! 

Suggested ages: 5 and up 

What you will need: 

  • Flat buttons of desired colors and sizes (smaller buttons stick better and slide less) 

  • Balloon 

  • White glue (7 oz bottle of Elmer’s white glue was used, but anything that dries clear will do; amount of glue will depend on the size of bowl and number of coats done) 

  • Large paintbrush (2” paintbrush was used but, if you don’t mind getting your fingers sticky, you can use them instead!) 

  • Scissors 

  • Newspaper 

  • Cup to stand the balloon on while you work 

  • Time (a two-day project, but it’s something you can start and come back to.) 


Step 1: Inflate balloon to the desired size of bowl. Set it on a cup with the tied end at the bottom.  It’s recommended to work inside or in an area where wind won’t blow the balloon over. 

Step 2: At the top of the balloon, squirt a thick layer of glue. Use a paintbrush (or finger) to brush it down to the desired depth of bowl, making sure to evenly coat the layer of glue. Stop before the halfway point of the balloon. Keep in mind, some glue will drip. 

Step 3: Let the balloon sit until completely dry (this could take up to four hours to dry). If using white glue, note that it will dry clear. Optional: Repeat this step for an extra sturdy bowl. 

Step 4: Apply a second coat of glue over the first coat, following the same method used in step 2.  

Step 5: While the glue is still wet, add the buttons starting at the top of the balloon. This will ultimately be the bottom of the bowl. Keep the buttons as close together as possible. NOTE: Smaller buttons will stick better and be less likely to slide down your balloon.

Step 6: Once all of the buttons are applied, flip the balloon over so the tied end is in the air. Rest the balloon back on the cup so that the buttons are now on the cup and the tie is still in the air. This will prevent the buttons from sliding down the balloon. 

Step 7: Let the balloon sit until completely dry (this can take a few hours.)

Step 8: Turn the balloon back over so the tied end is at the bottom and buttons are at the top. Rest the balloon back on the cup. This is a good time to spot-check that your buttons didn’t move around. Apply a third coat of glue over the buttons, following the same method used in steps 2 and 4. If your glue goes past the end of the buttons, it can be cut off after it’s dry.          

Step 9: Let your balloon sit until completely dry. It’s optional (and recommended) to apply a fourth coat of glue in the morning to strengthen the glue bond. 

Step 10: Once the glue is completely dry, use the scissors to cut near the tie of the balloon and slowly release the air out of the balloon. Remove the balloon from the bowl. Use the scissors to cut away any unwanted glue from your bowl. 

Enjoy the new bowl! Keep in mind, these bowls are not water-resistant (unless you’re using water-resistant glue) and should be used for decoration. Do not store food in this bowl. 

Inspired by Crafting Secrets DIY.

Science & Math 

Inflating Balloon Experiment

With help from a little scientist and some around-the-house ingredients, inflate a balloon without air or helium! You’ll see the fizzling reaction between vinegar and baking soda in this experiment, so be prepared to be blown away. 

What you’ll need: 

  • 2 ounces of vinegar 

  • Plastic water bottle 

  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda 

  • Balloon 

  • Funnel, optional


Step 1: Pour 2 ounces of vinegar into the water bottle.  

Step 2: Have someone either hold the uninflated balloon open or use a funnel to put 1 tbsp of baking soda into the balloon.  

Step 3: Secure the balloon around the top of the bottle. Be careful to keep the baking soda in the balloon for now. 

Step 4: Once the balloon is tightly around the top of the bottle, gently lift the balloon to drop the baking soda into the bottle. 

Step 5: Watch the balloon inflate!

Inspired by Hands-On Science & Math Activities.

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Food & Recipes 

Balloon-Shaped Banana Pancakes 

This healthy twist on pancakes will leave you and your family craving more! Follow the steps below to create delicious, mini banana pancakes. Add turkey bacon strips and get creative, shaping your pancakes into balloons.

Balloon Pancakes
Balloon pancakes
Bryan McCullough.

What you’ll need: 

Ingredients: (one batch makes nine mini pancakes)

  • 2 ripe bananas 

  • 1 cup of rolled oats 

  • ½ cup of soy milk 

  • 1 tsp of cinnamon  

  • ½ cup of blueberries, optional

  • 4 slices of turkey bacon, optional

  • Lite maple syrup, optional


  • Prepare four slices of turkey bacon according to package directions.

  • Cut turkey bacon into skinny strips using a pizza cutter or knife, set aside. These will be used as your balloon strings.

  • Mash the two ripe bananas in a flat bowl using a masher or a fork.

  • Stir in oats, soymilk and cinnamon with the bananas until well combined. 

  • Place mixture in a blender or food processor until oats are broken down and mixture is smooth. 

  • Heat greased griddle or non-stick pan over med-low heat. 

  • Put 2 tbsp of batter per pancake being careful not to overcrowd your griddle or pan. 

  • Place blueberries in batter right away (if using).

  • Wait until batter starts to bubble (3-5 mins), then flip and continue until cooked through (another 2-3 mins).

  • Assemble your pancakes on a plate using the turkey bacon as balloon strings and enjoy!

Inspired by 3 Ingredient Pancakes.

Fitness & Motor Skills 

Bouncing Balloon Tennis Game 

Let the games begin! All you need is a balloon and a racquet to play a fun twist on tennis. Follow the game rules below or make your own. Either way, everyone involved will improve theirs hand-eye coordination while having loads of fun.

Balloon Tennis
Balloon tennis game.
Bryan McCullough.

What you need: 

  • Kid tennis or badminton racquets

  • Balloon(s)


Blow up the balloons and take this activity outdoors. You can play by yourself or with as many people as you would like.

Game ideas:

One player: Hold your racket so that the racket face is flat and bounce your balloon. Try to not let the balloon hit the ground. Count how many times you bounce the balloon and try to get the most bounces possible before it hits the ground!

Two or more players: Pass the balloons to each other to play a game of balloon tennis. Count one point for every time you hit the balloon without letting it touch the ground. The person with the most points wins!

Share your version of balloon tennis on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #MottCamp.

Inspired by 16 Activities that Improve Hand-Eye Coordination.

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