Bird-Watching Activities for Kids

Balloon Swan Activity
Make this lovely swan with just one balloon.
Make this lovely swan with just one balloon.

Balloon sculpting is entertaining for both the sculptor and the audience. While balloon sculpting looks hard, it's easy when you follow these simple instructions. Try this balloon swan activity; all you need to know is a few of the basics before you get started.

After you have the skill to pinch and twist some bubbles and to twist-lock those bubbles together, you can sculpt your own adorable balloon swan.


1. Always stretch the balloon before attempting to inflate.

Stretching the balloon weakens the wall of the balloon enough to make it easier to inflate. Also, if there is an imperfection in the rubber itself, the popping of the balloon will have less force. This can be very important when you consider that it may pop while you are inflating it.

2. Always inflate at a downward angle.

Balloons that pop while you are inflating them can be dangerous, not only to the balloon sculptor but to others in the audience. Inflating the balloon at a downward angle can lessen the risk that a piece of the popped balloon will hit someone in the face.

3. Expect balloons to pop.

If there is one truth about balloons (especially pencil balloons), it is that they pop, and when you least expect it. The sting of a popped pencil balloon is worse than the sting of a snapped rubber band.

You should be especially careful to avoid having a balloon hit you in the eyes. Be ready to turn your head quickly should a balloon pop. You can keep your hands open while inflating, which helps mask part of your face.

Do not put an inflated balloon in your mouth. And, always ask people in the audience to stand a safe distance when you are sculpting. Anticipation is your best defense.

Supervise Children

An adult should always be present and supervise children, whether they are playing with the balloons or are learning how to twist them. Inhaling a rubber balloon can be deadly.

Never allow children under 3 years old to put balloons (inflated, uninflated, or popped) in their mouths. Any broken pieces of a balloon should he discarded immediately.


Leave a 3-inch tail.

Step 1: Begin by inflating a balloon, leaving a 3-inch tail. Squeeze air into 1 inch of the balloon tail.

Step 2: Make a loop using two-thirds of the balloon.

Pinch and twist lock after making the loop.

Step 3: Pinch fingers and twist-lock.

Bring the top of the loop down to the twist.

Step 4: Bring the top of the loop down to the twist. Be sure that one fold is slightly smaller than the other.

Pinch and twist.

Step 5: Pinch and twist-lock.

Push the rounded end into the loop.

Step 6: Turn the smaller fold over the top of the larger fold, and gently push the rounded end into the loop. If the rounded end pops out, it has not been pushed deep enough. Push first bubble under the swan.

Pinch the swan neck between the front ends of the top fold.

Step 7: Pinch the base of the swan neck between the front ends of the top fold.

Fold the balloon to create a bend.

Step 8: Gently fold the neck to create a bend.

Ta-Da! Now you have your very own adorable balloon swan.

Continue reading to the next page and learn how to track birds' migration patterns.

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