Week 13: Balloon Twisting 101

If you’re a caregiver of a child under the age of 10 or so, you know the balloon twisters. They're found at festivals, restaurants, and holiday parties, always surrounded by a mob of kids that would make Dora the Explorer jealous. They inflate and twist over and over again, until as many children as possible have their hearts’ desires, be they flower hats, dinosaurs, or pirate swords.

My record as place-holder for my boys in a balloon line is forty-five minutes. I have a short attention span, and I’m not sure I would wait that long for a chance to have Sting perform at my birthday party. But such is the popularity of the balloon twisters.

I went in search of a little of that balloon mystique at the Balloon Twisting 101 class offered through the City of Fort Collins Recreator. The class was taught by Renee Cohn Jones, a.k.a. Jalapena the Clown, who has a doctorate in psychology and the perfect temperament for this type of work. From her, the small-but-enthusiastic class learned the cardinal rule of balloon twisting, which is (take a guess):

a) Always inflate balloon before knotting the end;
b) Do not eat fried chicken while twisting;
c) Use an air pump to avoid risk of unconsciousness;
d) NEVER give a balloon to a child under the age of 3

I imagine that a-c are important pointers, but the correct answer is d. Latex balloons are a choking hazard and are never to be given directly to young children. The balloon should be handed to the responsible adult, who is also cautioned to make sure the child doesn’t put the balloon in his/her mouth.

Having taken care of that most important point of business, we started twisting.

My first dog. Okay, so the proportions were a little off.

Dog #2...better!

It's a...dog-squirrel...?

You've never seen a pink giraffe?

The mouse and the elephant. (Of course it's an elephant. Can't you see how scared it is of the mouse?)

My favorite...the hummingbird.

Balloon twisting requires patience, tireless hands, and the kind of creativity that can make a child's balloon wish come true. And the willingness to wear a silly hat probably doesn't hurt, either.


Anonymous said…
Oh my gosh Jenny - you are SO hired for my next Daisy Girl Scout troop meeting! Can you make a dozen daisies in as many minutes? What a fun class.

Cricket McRae said…
That is awesome! What fun. 'Course now I have the image of trying to twist a balloon with greasy chicken fingers firmly implanted in my brain...
Hearth Cricket
Jenny said…
It was fun, even for someone who's all thumbs (yeah, that would be me).

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