Paper Mache Hot Air Balloon for Oral Storytelling

Remember when we made an Easter egg from tissue paper, PVA glue and glitter paint? After it had been filled with little Easter goodies I said we would turn it into something else that we could use during play.

And here it is! Our hot air balloon is ready to set sail on many adventures around the world, with Little Ted as its pilot!

This is what we did:

*I trimmed a little bit around the gap to make it large enough to be able to put my hand inside.
* Then I sewed a small criss-cross through a few tiny holes in the centre at the top, using embroidery thread, and pulled a length through to hang the balloon from.
* I made two small holes at the bottom, either side of the opening, and threaded a ribbon through.
* We found a tiny basket and threaded the other end of the ribbon through the handles and tied it.
* We looked for a tiny toy to add to the basket to become a willing adventurer, and found a little bit of ceiling space to hang it from, by a nail.

Oral Storytelling with Little Ted!
We have already begun to use this hot air balloon for its intended purpose.. storytelling. In order tell stories without books you need to lose all inhibition and not worry one little bit what anyone might be thinking! As your audience is usually only knee high they are pretty much thrilled by ANY story and won’t notice if it’s not very good or that you are making it up as you go along.

Oral storytelling is powerful because research suggests it encourages us to use a far wider and richer range of vocabulary and depth of ideas than we might otherwise do if only reading from a set range of books. More importantly, it means we can keep eye contact with our children as we talk and this teaches fabulous comminucation and response skills.

By modelling storytelling in this way, we help our children to become confident story-tellers themselves and to draw on their imaginations more deeply when telling and writing their own in the future. Cakie (2yrs 8mths) is already chipping in to the storyline to offer me ideas and words to enrich the story and make it her own. There’s no reason why an average 3 and a half year old couldn’t be starting to tell these stories independently, and that’s an exciting thought!

I will post again soon to let you know what we are going to do with these stories that we are telling, but for now we are of to imagine a wonderful world of cake and ice cream, where Little Ted can eat from trees covered in sweeties and look at birds with purple and orange spots through his telescope! Lots of amazing images to conjure up with our minds and describe with our tongues.

And for another wonderful idea of hot air balloon play, this time using a real balloon filled with helium, see this from Curly Birds and be sure to leave a comment!


  1. says

    I am sitting here with a big smile on my face as I imagine you getting all excited and involved making up wonderful stories for your babies! You are such a special Mummy.

  2. says

    We’ve got a very similar paper mache balloon which one of the children is sure must be destined for a pinata. This would be a more worthy cause but might make me very unpopular! Great idea though

  3. says

    haha Faye, you know me so well! I’ve been SO super-animated and over excited, flailing my arms around and widening my eyes with too much excitement! I wonder what these kids will think of me when they become teenagers?! haha

  4. says

    Sarah, funny you should say that because that was what I was initially planning to do with it, but it’s just too pretty to smash to pieces! Maybe you could make a second one! It looks really beautiful hanging up in the room :)