Gentle exercise for the arms as well as an opportunity to socialize! Great for game for the elderly. Also suitable for people living with dementia.
This is one of many free activities.
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Balloon Games are perfect for senior care, blending light exercise with valuable social engagement. 


  • Gentle exercise to improve hand-eye coordination.
  • Social engagement among participants.


  • Collect badminton rackets or fly swatters (you can buy them at discount stores).
  • Make sure you have a volunteer to assist you or invite children from nearby schools to come for half an hour and play the game with residents once a week.

Equipment Needed:

  • 3-4 Inflated balloons
  • Rackets or fly swatters
  • Music player and speakers


  • Position residents in a spacious circle to avoid accidental contact with rackets. 
  • Play uplifting background music to energize the game.
  • Introduce 3-4 inflated balloons into the circle.
  • Keep the balloons in the air and off the ground using rackets or fly swatters.
  • The game can last for a set time or until players wish to stop.

Feel free to tailor the game to suit the abilities and preferences of your group. It’s all about fun, movement, and social interaction!

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Comments   Post a Comment

Angie 5th Mar 2024
I’m the activities director in our dementia unit. My residents love playing this game. We use pool noodles instead of rackets or fly swatters. And I use 18 inch balloons. Great fun for all.
Vicky Bell 2nd Nov 2023
I am new to activities and this game looks awesome. Can't wait to try it.

Thank you,
Linda Lee 25th Oct 2023
I use foam pipe lagging, soft and versatile
Heidi 5th Oct 2023
At our elderly care we can not use balloons due to the latex
Caralyn 28th Dec 2022 Director of Resident Activities
I have had residents make their own rackets using old metal coat hangers (if you can find them) and old nylon stockings. to make racket, hold the hanger from the hook part and middle of the straight part pull it out. then put the stocking over it and tie it. I like to tape the handle with duct tape. hit punch balloons with it
Rubén 15th Aug 2022
baloons are a cheap and accesible instrument, a lot of activities we can do with them
Mags 12th Jul 2022 Activities Coordinator
Chair - Balloon Volley Ball

Divide group into teams.

Set each team in chairs facing each other on opposite sides of the volleyball net. Keep the net low so it isn't too difficult to get the ballon over. 

Each team has to try to get the ballon over the net. Each time the balloon hits the ground, the points go to the opposite team. 

Whichever team scores the most points wins. 
Linda Hodgson 27th Apr 2022
I've used the pool noodles (cut in 3) for over 15 years. Also use the punch balloons (not as air borne), a row of tables with a net running along the middle of the tables and the residents seated on either side. This allows for the balloon to drop to the table and the residents can retrieve the balloon rather than bending down to reach it (automatic reaction). This was a great activity for people with visual impairments as they can feel the air as the balloon makes it way towards them.
Nancy 16th Dec 2021 Activity Program Supervisor
I love this game! I purchased a volleyball net . I have four players on each side using fly swatters ballon volleyball. The residents love it.
Talita 21st Dec 2021
So much fun! Thanks for your feedback Nanacy x
Donica 15th Sep 2021 Exec. Director/RN
My seniors at my adult day center love competing with balloons .... but my back quickly let me know that this was not going to last much longer!
I ended up tying a long piece of twine from the ceiling and attached an inflated (punch ball) to the end of it. Now my members can sit and hit the ball around from one to the other and I no longer have to retrieve the ball! They love it and my back does too!
To give the punch ball some weight - I taped a small washer to the bottom of it.
Cheryl 18th May 2022 Activities Co-Ordinator
Excellent advice, thank you.
Julie 21st Jul 2021 Leisure & Lifestyle
We cut up Pool Noodles into 3 - they make great hitting sticks for balloons - colourful too
Susan 18th May 2021 Activity Director
Hi Yvonne
Thanks for sharing this idea
yvonne 18th May 2021
we made bats using wire and shaped like a bat and covered in with old stockings the members have so much fun.
Stephen Bailey 22nd Jan 2021
Fly swatters ordered from Amazon
Pack of balloons purchased from local shop
Stack of newspapers to use and roll of sticky tape to make bats
Cant wait to try this out ............
Some fab ideas for bats we have a couple of table tennis bats and I can visit our kitchec department too of course.
Sur 22nd Oct 2020
Hi my name is sue been working with dementia for three years then rotated to age care on other side so love balloon tennis with the dementia so love it and they love it a little different on the other side a little harder to please so I try and use a lot of humour and I think I’ve won their hearts was a cleaner for 35yesrs had work accident so they put me over there and I love it insurance company finally paid for course as the nurses said have to be qualified there three years without ticket must be doing something right
Dawn 15th Oct 2020 Activities Coordinator
We do something like this called Noodle ball. We take pool noodles and cut them in half to use to hit the balloons. Our participants love this game.
Laurie 26th Jan 2022 Activity Coordinator
We use our noodles, which I have cut in half and hit the beach ball. They really get into it and are so compeitive reaching for the ball. Great form of exercise
Javier 8th Oct 2020
Excellent activity for home
Talita 11th Oct 2020
Absolutely Javier, so much fun!
Dawn 16th Jul 2020 Activities Coordinator
We do something similar to this but we use pool noodles and cut them in half. they really enjoy it when we do it.
Susan 16th Jul 2020 Activity Director
Dawn what a great idea
Thank you
Trish 23rd Jun 2020 Activities Co Ordinator

My residents love this game and they are happy smiling and laughing as I dart about the room retrieving the ballons
Talita 28th Jun 2020
Wonderful to hear Trish. Balloon games are so much fun for anyone!
Kristy 2nd Oct 2019 Activity Co-ordinator
Hi all, Im new to this and have just started (2 weeks ago) as an activity coordinator for a nursing home where my grandmother resides. Today we played the balloon game with fly swatters at a table and the residents were so happy. Giggles all around.
thanks for your suggestions i'm eager to read more.
Talita 7th Oct 2019
Thanks so much for your feedback Krisy, this is lovely to hear!
Susan 16th Sep 2019 Activity Director
Great idea Diane
Dianne Hatch 15th Sep 2019
Hello everyone!
I have used a punch ball with the rubber band taken off for years. Arms length away from each other. Sometimes we can only use our feet. We call it volleyball exercise.
Everyone loves it & they cant get hurt.
Thank you all for your comments.
Solange 15th Sep 2019 Diversional Therapist
Hi Diane, what a great tip. Thank you for sharing.
Pamela 3rd Aug 2019 Activity Director
My residents (of all cognitive and physical levels) LOVE balloon games. I have several variations in the activity rotation. The one tip I can add here is to fill your balloons with a mix of air and helium. Balloons filled with air only drop to the floor so quickly - I felt that we spent as much time picking balloons up as we did actually playing. I found small tanks of helium in the party supply section of Walmart (very reasonably priced). I blow my balloons up about 2/3 with "my air" then add a nice shot of helium before I tie them off. This gives the balloon a nice "loft". It tends to sort of float more slowly through the air and stay up a little longer. This minor difference makes a big difference in giving residents a few more seconds to prepare as a balloon heads in their direction.
Susan 4th Aug 2019 Activity Director
Thank you for all your suggestions Pamela I have added helium to the balloons as well it does make it easier for the residents
Dawn 6th Aug 2021 Gerontology
Now this is a great idea using helium/air in balloons.
Thank you!
Sue 29th Apr 2019 Nurse
We used fly swatters for this activity, and our residents loved this activity, also they had a great laugh with it as I dressed up as a tennis player in baggy white shorts, white shirt and a sweat band on my forehead and wrists made with bandages, they thought it was great fun, one of them even mimicked a tennis umpire. A very rewarding activity for both the treasures and myself.
Lisa 5th Apr 2019
I do a balloon toss game with my residents. I cut pool noodles in half and them whack the balloon. They love it and get so much exercise out of it:)
Sharon 8th Mar 2019 Recreation Director
What a great activity! Our residents laughed and really enjoyed playing.
Marci 31st Dec 2018
We use pool noodles cut in half & a partially-inflated balloon (usually a punch balloon as they are durable & can be deflated for use another time) to do Cardio Drumming. Each resident uses 2 noodles (drumsticks) & holds the balloon between his/her knees (drum) while sitting in a chair (preferably with no arms on the chair). Add peppy music & make things up as you go! You can include hitting with two drumsticks on top, on the sides, on the floor, waving in the air, to the left, right, clapping together in front or overhead, etc. Alternate hands/sides, develop patterns & challenge memory, etc! The possibilities are endless. Remind residents to rest when needed & make sure they are taking nice deep breathes & not holding their breathe while concentrating. Great workout & great fun!
Faye 10th Nov 2017
Another excellent variation is to tie two balloons together. When the resident hits the balloon because there are two attached they fly off in all directions and spin. I have found this always brings a laugh to the residents.
Talita 13th Nov 2017
Good idea for a variation!
Shirley 24th Oct 2017 Memory Care Coordinator
Good Morning Every One, I am new to this site and I am enjoying reading every thing!
We use Pool Noodles cut in half and a Balloon we call it Noodle Ball.
The pool noodles can be purchased at the dollar store or Walmart. At the dollar store they are a dollar at the end of pool season they are also a dollar or less at Walmart. When cut in half each pool noodle serves two people so it does not cost much to put this game together and it will last for years. We have the skinny noodles and cut them in half ( you can use the fat noodles but the skinny noodles are easier to hold on to). Each person gets a noodle and then a balloon is thrown into the circle. The goal is to keep the balloon in the air. We have a lot of fun.
Any one who says this is to childish has never played it. Noodle Ball is engaging, fun, and gets every one moving. Our guest also like to play.
Talita 28th Oct 2017
Yes, pool noodles are perfect aren't they Shirley! Such a fun game. Thanks for your feedback!
Diane 30th Sep 2017 Resident Service Cordinator
For my exercise group I found a similar balloon game as above from The NAAP site. I called it table top tennis. I sat 6 residents around 2 large round tables which I placed together with another activity aide. That morning we had a group of 6th graders come in for a craft group. I had them make me 6 tennis racquets made out of a paper plate and a paint stick for a handle with the residents. They decorated the paper plate with glitter and glue and I stuck the paint stick on the back of the plate with masking tape. Each resident had a "tennis racquet" I played lively music and said out loud "MOVE IT OR LOSE IT ! " as I threw two balloons in the middle of the two tables. Boy did we have fun and boy did the residents "Moved it". You could document it under exercise group, music, arts and craft and intergenerational.
Wendy 19th Jan 2018 Lifestyle/Care Worker
Thank Dianne,
I'm going to give this one a go, using it as a double activity for the day.
Craft for the morning for those able and have the attention span and the balloon game for those in princess chairs and dementia.

Activity for the day sorted : )
Madeleine 23rd May 2017
Thank you so much for the balloon and fly swat game suggestion. We have played it with our clients and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves as did we. A packet of three fly swats costs two dollars and a bag of balloons another three dollars so it's an inexpensive way to have fun.
Talita 24th May 2017
Thanks so much for your feedback Madeleine!
Lorraine 7th Apr 2017 Diversional Therapist
Our residents love balloon tennis. We use badminton rackets - light as long as you sit the residents at a safe distance from each other.
Carla 22nd Dec 2016 Activity Assistant
Take a trip to the Dollar Store and buy plastic clappers to swat the balloons! The residents love to make them clap when they score a point!
Robyn 7th Jan 2016 Diversional Therapist
Hi Solange,,,,,, well had some time to think over the xmas break,,, done and gave my resignation 23rd Dec. Lovely manager, who I've known for 30 years,,, only looked at it, put it on her desk and gave it a pat,,,, until Tuesday. ( in case I changed my mind ) Any way after all that and a re talk on Tuesday,, I have decided to retire,,, the most confronting time was when I had to sign the separation form at the hosp,,, extremely hard, because its now final.
So yesterday I spent some time in the blackcurrant patch,,, just me and my music and do you no what ???? it was wonderful,,, no forward planning etc going through my mind,,,, yes I think I am going to enjoy all this ME time,, just not looking forward to the 68th birthday in couple of weeks time... Lovely to be able to chat with you,,, Robyn
Solange 15th Nov 2015 Diversional Therapist
Happy retirement Robyn!!Best wishes!
Robyn 24th Nov 2015 Diversional Therapist
morning Solange, thank you for the wishes,,,, now on 2 weeks leave and have begun to get the ball rolling. Bit of slow process, but it fall into place.
again thank you,,, will keep you posted
Solange 13th Nov 2015 Diversional Therapist
Hi Robyn, I am sorry that the RN in question does not see that the game is beneficial to clients. Balloons have been fascinating human beings for ages; they are icebreakers, energisers, team building and so much fun!
Robyn 15th Nov 2015 Diversional Therapist
Hi Solange,,,, thanks for your reply, after more explanation to the big manager re the noodles and balloons, she could then see that it was beneficial and also encouraged exercise. Even the Dr who also saw this had a smile and she also said it was good.
I have a 68th birthday in Jan and have now decided to retire, I am swamped with paperwork,,, unbelievable. End of this week I will use all my leave up and then finish.
Lovely to talk to you.
Bronwyn 5th Apr 2017 Support Worker/RAO
Such a shame the RN doesn't see the smiles and even the concentration on the residents faces, they just totally enjoy it. RN has no idea what an RAO does and maybe should continue to do what they know best!
Patricia 3rd Nov 2015 Recreation officer
We have been playing this game with fly swatter and parashut with balloons they all enjoy it and a lot of giggles from both genger
Tina 26th May 2015 DT
we use foam pool noodles cut in half, our residents love it.
Robyn 12th Nov 2015 Diversional Therapist
This is also is very popular where I am. The one that asks for this the most is 98 yrs old and she loves, it as do the other residents that join in. BUT the acting NUM, only a RN thinks it is childish. I am finding this so hard to deal with, I am past retiring age so might bow out very soon in the next few weeks.
I'll guarantee that the same lady will still ask for the noodles and balloons, and I hope she continues to do so.
Lifestyle 13th Oct 2014 Lifestyle Co-ordinator
Just to let you know that you can reuse special occasion balloons. Use a balloon pump to blow them up and only half tie the knot so you can easily untie them or use a knitting needle to untie knot - check youtube for a clip to show you how.
Gaylene 31st Aug 2014 Recreation Therapist
We also have great fun and laughs with balloons. We use plastic skittles at bats. Gaylene
Jeanette 19th May 2014 Activities Officer
Hi all,
I have been playing "balloon tennis" for some time now using new flyswats as racquets - my residents have always enjoyed it and the flyswats are really cheaps to buy and can been washed as needed.
Joy 13th May 2014 Recreation therapist
I have made tennis racquets from cardboard cylinders from foil, cling wrap etc, and oval plastic plates which I have covered with colourful plastic wrap. These are the same shape as racquets and you can tell the former tennis players when they serve and use their back-hand.
jennifer 30th Apr 2014 lifestyle officer
We use thongs as bats just enough extra reach without causing injury lol
Great Game idea. Jenny
Faye 10th Nov 2017
We have used the thongs on Australia Day. We went to Red Dot and bought the ones with the Aussie flag. Then we used the thongs for tossing into a bucket. Then to see who could throw the thong the furthest. We also replaced the beanbags with the thongs to play beanbag toss. All Good games for Australia day
kurt 25th Oct 2013 Diversional Therapist
Roll up a regular sized newspaper until firm - tape it up so it doesn't 'unwind' -create a big sock of soft silky colorful recycled fabric and shove it over the newspaper,as a big sock so to speak. If done well it will last you for years! I use an inflatable lightwheight plastic pool ball, the size of a small pumpkin. They just love to wack the thing!!!
Libby 3rd Aug 2013 Recreation Therapist
We made bats from wire coathangers which are shaped into a diamond shape then old stockings are pulled over the diamond shape,cork stoppers for handles,then electrical tape over so no sharp edges,they can be personalized with ribbon or streamers or different colours for different teams.
debbie 28th Jul 2013 day centre coordinator
I am going to do this left handed for international left handed day 13th August
Cheers Debbie
Sue 29th May 2013 Lifestyle Co-ordinator
We played balloon fun for the first time in my facility, and the residents absolutely loved it, i made the rackets out of wire coat hangers and staockings. Sue
Jessie 13th Feb 2013 Support Care Worker
I tie a long string to a balloon, seat guests out of arms reach,or around a table and swat the balloon to a person, they hit it to the next opposite person, etc. Lots of giggles and it is a safe exercise. 2 people or more can enjoy this.
Solange 15th Oct 2012 Diversional Therapist
I agree, pool noodles cut in half can be used to play several indoor games.
Laura 7th Sep 2016
Hi Solange, I am Laura quite new working with activities I saw your comment about Foam Noodles what other games can we play please?
Thank You
Laura 7th Sep 2016
Hi Solange, I am Laura quite new working with activities I saw your comment about Foam Noodles what other games can we play please?
Thank You
Talita 19th Sep 2016
Hi Laura,

Have you tried noodle soccer?

There are also some more noodle game ideas in the comments section of that activity.
Love to hear how you go with it!
Shirley 14th Oct 2012 Recreation Officer
Foam Pool Noodles cut into lengths are great for Balloon Activities
Shirley NSW
heather 14th Oct 2012 DIVERSIONAL THERAPIST
Badminton racquets are too big wit too many residents. I do like the idea of fly swatters and feather dusters
Lisa 12th Oct 2012 Diversional Therapist
Hey Judy what a fantastic idea I am going to add this to my program, I have invested in a couple of balloon covers so that we can use the balloons without fear they will pop and cause a problem. Lisa
Judy 6th Oct 2012 Activities Co-ordinator
I get the residents playing 'Team Balloon Challenge' most Friday afternoons. I string a rope up onto 2 walkers at each end. On each side of the rope I have 3 residents either in wheelchairs or sitting on chairs. I have a whistle and we start the game. No bats, only using hands and one balloon. We trial a couple of balloons just to make sure we have the 'right' one to play with. One game is up to 11 points. The rules are 1. If it hits the floor on your side of the rope the other team score.
2. The balloon goes under the rope.
Sometimes I have many players so I use them as 'back ups'. One behind each team.
we play until one side has won two games and them I swap over some or all players.
After two matches i work out the 'grand final' team and we have the final games for the afternoon.
All in all it lastabout 1hour 15mins.
Great fun is had, It is amazing how long a turn can go before the balloon is deemed out.
I use my hands to signal the points and help out with getting the balloon back if necessary. Sometimes staff members join in.
It does get some very quiet residents. and those on big whelchairs a great opportunity to join in.
Much laughter is had..I can tell you!!
Solange 3rd Oct 2012 Diversional Therapist
Hi Heather - we play with badminton rackets and also with feather dusters.
They love it; even clients that usually do not participate in other activities enjoy this game.
heather 3rd Oct 2012 DIVERSIONAL THERAPIST
My folks love this game but I use lots balloons and I also use wooden spoons...can do balance game too and hockey
paula 19th Jun 2012 RLO
i play balloon tennis with my dememtia residents they all love it and have a good laugh
Solange 25th Sep 2011 Diversional Therapist
Hi Denise, this idea sounds really interesting though I cannot imagine how it looks like. If in the future you take a photo of the coat hanger bats, could you please share it with us?
Denise 20th Sep 2011
I made some bats out of wire coathangers, shaped into a bat [ pull the wire into a circle shape ]and cover with some old stockings ... knee highs fit perfectly ....
Kelly 25th May 2013 Recreation Therapist
Ditto Denise, we also make our bats this way. It is cheap and is light for the residents to hold. This game is awesome for float chair & wheelchair bound residents also. We play at least once weekly with our high care.
mary 19th Feb 2011 diversional therapist
i use those blow up bats that are given out free at netball games
Patti 23rd Oct 2009 Diversional Therapist
Pool noodles cut in three make good "tennis rackets" and they can be used in lots of range of movement activities as well.
Solange 22nd Jul 2009 Diversional Therapist
Whast a great idea! I shall add fly swatters to the activity.
robyn 21st Jul 2009 Diversional Therapist
I also find that using fly swatters works well with this activity
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