Magic Inflating Balloons

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It turns out that helium isn’t the only gas that can inflate balloons. You’ll wow your kids with a bubbly explosion of baking soda and vinegar for this “magically” inflating version.

To set up, I first added white vinegar to an empty water bottle, using a funnel to avoid spills. Set aside over a tray.

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Slip the end of an uninflated balloon onto the funnel and add baking soda (I didn’t measure, but we probably poured in about 1/4 cup. Now carefully fold the lip of the balloon over the top of the bottle, but make sure you don’t upend the baking soda just yet.

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Stand the balloon upright so the baking soda pours down into the vinegar, then be ready for the reaction. As the baking soda and vinegar react to create gas, the balloon inflates.

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This made for such a bubbly, fizzy, dazzling reaction! I worried that the balloon might pop off the bottle if there was too much pressure that built up, but luckily this didn’t happen. Still, I was glad we had a tray underneath the experiment, just in case.

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Travis was thrilled when he put his arms around the inflated balloon at the end, almost disbelieving that we’d blown it up so big. Just be aware that this isn’t the best balloon to knot off and play with after, as some liquid will remain inside.

Big Mouth Game

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Here’s another classic from the Toddler’s Busy Book, a game I played with Travis when he was so young this blog didn’t even exist yet! All you need to get started is a medium-sized cardboard box.

First, I drew a face on one side of the box with markers. No doubt your toddler will want to help out with this part; Veronika sure did!

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I then used a craft knife to cut out the mouth shape. For the final touch, we rubbed a glue stick all over the top and attached strips of tissue paper to be the hair. The big mouth is hungry and ready to eat!

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You can use just about anything as balls for the target. Tennis balls were just a touch too big to easily fit, but sock balls were the perfect size.

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We also had extra tissue paper and Veronika loved crumpling these into balls and tossing into the mouth.

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“He’s so hungry!” she said with delight every time she added to the box. When it was full, she could pull everything out and start all over again.

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This game is sure to keep toddlers busy and delighted.

Helium Balloon Fun

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Who says balloons are just for birthdays! The helium tank in our garage had some leftover gas from back in the fall, and our gray February staycation day needed a boost; what better way to lift the spirits than balloons!

To start, I simply inflated a few balloons for Travis and Veronika, and attached strings that they could easily reach. I showed Veronika how to tug on the string so the balloon came down to her…

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…and then to let go and watch it bop back to the ceiling!

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This alone was a delight for a while.

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Next we drew puppy dog faces on them. Now the balloons were little friends to take for a walk on a “leash”. Travis turned another one into an alien!

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The kids were soon running around, chasing after, and bopping their balloons in glee.

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We set them aside for a while, and when we returned, there was just enough less helium that now they hovered in midair. This was double the fun, with the kids setting them to hover and pretending they were making lunar landings on the moon!

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I loved seeing their joy for one of the simplest toys out there. Never underestimate a good old balloon.

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