Hot air balloons symbolize a fantasy world for children, and making paper hot air balloons is a creative and playful activity that will appeal to children three to five years of age. Cover your work surface with newspaper to protect from spills before you begin. Start by visualizing the shape and final outcome of the balloons, and organize all your supplies. In this article we will guide you into creating an amazing mini hot air balloon out of paper-mâché.
- Papier-mâché (mold ahead of time, at least one day in advance)
- Hole punch
- Paper cup
- Child-Safe Scissors
- Paint brushes
Make a papier-mâché using an inflated balloon, knotted at the end. A papier-mâché is made with strips of flimsy pulp paper pressed together with glue. It is then molded when moist to take the form you desire; this is will be your mold.
How to make papier-mâché:
- Shallow Container
Inflate balloon to a size, not too large for the children. Tear newspaper into broad pieces. You will need enough newspaper to create three layers covering the balloon. Start by mixing two parts glue with one part water in a bowl. Soak newspaper pieces with glue mixture. Remove excess moisture and layer the balloon with paper. Continue this process until you cover the balloon fully with three layers. You will find it easier to work with the balloon if you set it on top of a bowl to keep it stable. You may use a paint brush to smooth out the edges.
Let dry outside in sunlight, if necessary. Drying may take a couple days.
Once papier-mâché is completely dry, pop the balloon inside. Remove the pieces. Then, cut a two or three inch diameter opening at base of balloon. Punch four evenly-spaced holes around the opening.
Use a sharp object to bore a hole at the top of the balloon. Knot one end of a string or yarn, and then insert the free end of the yarn through the bottom opening of paper-mache. Pull it all the way through the small hole at the top.
Create an open knot or loop from the protruding end of the yarn, like a handle to hang your balloon. You may paint the balloon with white acrylic paint and let dry completely before going on to the next step.
Get creative with your papier-mâché! Think of a nice design and colors for your hot air balloon and paint it using poster paint, if desired. Get color ideas from the young ones.
To make the basket for the hot air balloon, trim a paper cup to the desired height. Punch four evenly-spaced holes around the rim of the paper cup to match the holes in the base of the paper-mache. Paint the paper cup.
Again, get creative with your colors!
You can decorate your hot air balloon further with glitter glue, craft foam shapes, and paper dolls as passengers in the basket. Make it fun for the children to enjoy, remember you are creating the fantasy world they would want!