Balloon Tag

This is a fun and engaging circle game

Fun Games
 Having Fun
6 – 15 minutes
1 – 8, 9 – 16
Children, Youth, Adults

Step by Step Instructions:

  • All you will need are some balloons and some string
  • Take the string and cut into lengths of about 40 to 60 cm. Give one length of string to each member in the group.
  • Hand out one balloon to each person
  • Have everyone inflate their balloons and tie the ends
  • Everybody should now attach one end of the string to the balloon and the other end around one ankle. When tying the balloon, make sure to leave the balloon loose, a bit away from the right against the ankle.
  • When the group is ready, shout “Go”
  • The aim is to pop everybody else’s balloon, as long as yours remains intact.
  • If your balloon is popped by somebody, then you are out of the game.
  • The game can go on for about 7-10 minutes or until one person remains standing with their balloon intact.
  • The game works best in smaller groups of 8-15

How to play Balloon tag in more detail

Balloons are easy to find, cheap and there are so many ways to use them as props in an activity or game. Before the game, when preparing, cut lengths of string up for each member participating. The length of the string can be about 40 to 60 cm long.

When everybody is gathered together, hand out the string and one balloon each. Have all of them inflate their balloons, they must be fairly large, tie off the ends and attach one end of the string. Take the other end of the string and wrap it around an ankle, and make sure it is secure and tied off.

When wrapping the string around the ankle, make sure to leave some space between the ankle and the balloon. This is just to make sure nobody stomps on your foot or ankle by accident when aiming for the balloon. Make sure everybody is ready and then shout “Go”.

Balloon Tag is very similar to most other tag games, the only difference is that instead of having to touch another person with their hand, you have to jump around popping balloons. Everyone should be trying to stomp on and pop everybody else’s balloon. At the same time, you are stomping, you have to make sure nobody else pops or stomps on your own balloon.

Once your balloon is popped, you are eliminated and must step aside to watch whoever is still remaining. This can carry on for 7 -10 minutes, or until the last person with their balloon still intact remains standing. The last person standing is the winner.

Since this is a fast paced and high energy game, I’m sure everybody will be having loads of fun. Most will, at the end of the game, be totally exhausted.

You can also add a number of different variations for this activity, for example:

  • Two instead of one: Use two balloons, one attached to each ankle. This will give you two chances to survive, but once both balloons are popped, you are eliminated.
  • In a circle: Attach one balloon to each ankle and have everyone stand in a circle, holding hands. You will remain in the circle until both balloons have been pooped, you are then eliminated and leave the circle. The others still remaining will reform the circle and carry on with the game.

Facilitating Tips for Balloon Tag

As a facilitator, you can introduce the game by creating a story or imagine a real-life situation. For instance, in this case, you can let everyone visualize what it is like on a hot summer’s day while walking along the sidewalk. How, if you have no shoes on, you have to jump around to move from one spot to the next until you reach a cool spot. Let’s see who can remain on the hot pavement the longest with this next activity.

During the game, there might be an occasion when somebody accidentally stomps on another person’s foot. At the beginning of the game just make sure everybody is aware this could happen and to encourage everyone not to be too rough. To help reduce this risk, make sure the string you use tied to the ankle, is fairly long.

Make sure each balloon is blown up quite large, as the game will take a bit longer if everyone is trying to stomp on a small balloon. There are some rules to the game, such as, not holding onto a person when trying to pop their balloon. This is, after all, a non-contact activity.

If you are going to do other balloon games or activities, maybe think about doing Balloon tag at the end. This way you don’t have to have so many balloons for each activity and you can then get rid of the balloon props when all activities have been concluded.

Questions, tips, and reflections

Here are some questions that will help the group to process their experience playing Balloon tag.

  • Did you have any kind of strategy to avoid being tagged or in tagging somebody else?
  • Were you eliminated quickly?
  • During the game, were you aware of any collaborations going on with other members of the group? Why do you think this happened?
  • How do think the behavior of everyone during the game reflects on the group as a whole?

Benefits of Balloon tag

  • It is a fun and interactive game
  • The game is very energetic and fast
  • Minimal equipment is needed
  • Helps to improve agility