Remember those Halloween haunted house party days when parents filled bowls with “brains,” “blood,” and other spooky items for you to feel? This sensory balloon activity has all the fun and mystery without the gross factor.

Kids of all ages love sensory activities – feeling, squishing, shaking, touching – and as a parent, I love providing educational fun without making a mess! This cool game from Jacquie Fisher and EDventures combines the awesome element of surprise with the ability to use sensory and logical reasoning skills. Here’s how it works:

Step 1

Gather ingredients that you could use to fill a balloon, being careful to select items that could feel similar so that kids have to use their reasoning skills to figure out the answer. Ideas for ingredients include: sugar, salt, glitter, coffee grounds, baking soda, sand, popcorn kernels, sprinkles, dried beans, coffee beans, water, oil, shaving cream, whip cream, or glue. Depending on what type of balloons you use, the latex scent will probably mask the smell of the ingredients, so kids will have to rely on their other senses – so go crazy with all the ingredients you have on hand.

Step 2

Use a funnel to easily fill up the balloons. When working with liquids, double up the balloons to avoid bursting. Don’t put any air into the balloons. This allows them to be flexible enough that even when kids are rubbing and squishing the ingredients inside, the balloon won’t break in their hands!

Step 3

It’s time to play! For younger kids, it’s a good idea to show them, or even allow them to feel, the ingredients you used so they’ll have an idea of what they should be looking for. Ask kids to describe what they’re feeling. This helps them work on their vocabulary and communication skills as they reason out the answers.

Give it a try and have fun!