I’m assuming you all had a go at my trick or treat balloons last month?
And you enjoyed it so much that you’d like another balloon craft activity for this month?
Excellent. Of course. Well you’ve come to the right place. This weekend I had a go at making some advent calendar balloons, which I think make a thoughtful alternative to simply giving your kids a shaped piece of cheap, nasty tasting chocolate every day during December.
My idea works as follows – every day you choose a teeny tiny gift, or write a lovely note with a special message, or reminder to do something festive, and you seal it up in a box, jar, or some sort of carefully crafted container. Every morning, before your children have woken up, you fill a balloon with helium, tie it to the gift with a length of suitably festive ribbon or string, and leave it outside their door.
Yes, it is a bit of a faff, and it will involve you getting up early and having a tank of helium in your bedroom for a month, but come on!! This is Christmas!! Time to make the effort.
It’s a really flexible craft, but if you want to copy me, here’s what you’ll need:
- A tank of Balloon Time helium. (I got mine from Asda)
- Ribbons and strings to tie the balloons up with, and for decoration.
- Sharpies, in case you want to write the numbers on the balloons, rather than on your containers
- A selection of exciting festive goodies to make your containers – Belle and I went to The Range for ours, and bought some mini boxes, tiny glass jars, red felt numbers and assorted Christmassy shapes.
- 24 gifts or messages. Sweets would work if you’re lacking inspiration, or you could go for something along the lines of the Lego and Playmobil advent calendars, where you get a little bit of a bigger present every day, and build up a collection
- A generous friend who doesn’t mind you coming over to her house with everything and making a big mess (that one might be just me)
Then it’s really up to you to get as creative as you like.
We had a go with both boxes and jars. The boxes are nice because they are easier to decorate, and you could really go to town with these. The jars are nice though because theoretically you could use the same jar every day, once the present has been taken out. We filled one of ours with chocolates, and another with a mini baby Jesus, asleep in half a walnut shell.
For the balloons you can keep things as simple as you like, or try something a bit more adventurous. We tried a few different options – my friend Lucy, who is the craft Queen, and owner of the now messy kitchen, made this rather elegant cream balloon with an advent number, snow glitter inside and white ribbon:
I spent quite a lot of time trying to blow up lots of small green and red balloons inside a clear balloon, which looked rather odd during the process, but was actually every effective. I did it by popping the smaller balloon onto the nozzle, and then putting the large balloon almost all the way over the top. The small balloon then inflated inside the large one, but I was still able to pinch the small one off the nozzle and tie the knot.
They made an ace noise once they were all inside!
— Slummy Single Mummy (@mummyblogger) November 14, 2015
Unfortunately, when I tried to write a number on with my favourite bronze coloured Sharpie, the outer balloon popped, and baby balloons spewed forth across the kitchen. For about 45 seconds I couldn’t speak, only make little sad squeaky noises.
And that really is all there is too it. I’d suggest making the boxes in advance, and keeping the balloons really simple, as the last thing you want to be doing at 6am in the morning is wrestling six tiny balloons inside a bigger balloon.
Finished your advent balloons? Good work! Now you get to do the special extension activity. For this, you’ll need a couple of willing Sylvanian Family animals.
Take one of your little brown boxes, and trim off the top half to make a little open topped box. Use ribbon or string to make a harness. Fill a whole bunch of balloons with helium, and fix them to the cardboard basket. Pop in your Sylvanian animals, and off you go!
Produced in association with Balloon Time.