As promised in my Pirate Toss entry, here’s my post on non-water filled water balloons!
I host a huge annual event on our Kick-Off weekend called Mess Fest, an event that is outrageous, messy (obviously), and a great draw for new youth and friends. One of the things I use for several games at Mess Fest, as well as some other activities like Pirate Toss, are water balloons filled with mud, paint, soup…etc. There are several devices I’ve used in my years of doing this, some working better than others, but the first process I ever used was the cheapest and worked well, so I’m going to share it all with you guys!
First, empty a 2 liter soda bottle. (Tough, right?) then, whatever you want to put into the balloons, you fill the bottle with at least half way. Some recipe secrets – for paint, I use finger paint watered down a little bit, so it explodes and splatters better. For mud, I use store-bought top soil, and if you want really good, dark, thick model that will coat, add some flour. You can mix the ingredients before you put them in the bottle, but I mix in the bottle for ease. Feel free to admire my construction paper and painter’s tape homemade (I know, hard to believe) funnel. Also, you may note that these are not my hands, but the hands of my lovely and multi-talented assistant and sister, Kyle.
Next, put a water balloon on the rim of the bottle. Be careful both putting the balloon on and taking it off, the edge is a bit sharper than a faucet, and this is a water balloon you don’t want to accidentally discharge early. I recommend filling these outdoors if possible because even the steadiest of hands and the most experienced filler will lose a few.
The next step is to, while pressing on the lip of the balloon to keep it attached to the bottle, flip the bottle upside down so the liquid is in the top of the bottle and the balloon is toward the ground. Gently squeeze the bottle near the bottom (which is pointed upward right now) to create a pressure that forces the mud, paint, soup, pudding, etc. into the balloon. When the balloon is inflated to it’s desired amount, pinch the balloon where it meets the bottle lip, stop squeezing, flip the bottle right side up, and carefully remove the balloon from the bottle lip (while still pinching). Tie off balloon, and use wisely!
A few other thoughts – when you make mud, avoid twigs or pebbles, these can cause the balloon to pop itself, which is a mess without any of the fun. Be aware of the effect whatever you put in the balloon will have on eyes – things like pickle relish will burn the eyes and might be something to avoid. On that same vein of thought, be aware that things like pudding, chocolate syrup, apple sauce, baked beans, etc. will attract bees to your game. And lastly, these balloons take a degree of delicacy and some time to fill, a simple water balloon fight might be too fleeting of an event to use these balloons. Find something that takes more time, and this will be a monumental success in your ministry!