This is an activity that lives up to its name! There are many great books and videos that teach one how to juggle seriously, but the object here is to laugh, have fun, and challenge yourself to defy the laws of gravity. Balloons, feathers, and even plastic bags become the tools of the trade. With a little bit of practice, you might be amazed at your own skills! You may even get so good you’ll want to run away and join the circus!
AgeSchool-age, Tweens, Teens
Number of Players1, 2, 3 to 4
Prep Time5 minutes or less
Time Length5 - 15 minutes
DifficultyEasy peasy (fun and simple)
Space NeededSmall (a clearable open space the size of a 1-car garage), Medium (a clearable open space the size of a 2-car garage)
Mess FactorClean and tidy
How to Play
Silly Balloon Juggling
The basic idea here is to try and keep three objects in the air without having them fall to the ground.
1. To begin, choose one of the above objects. For me, I think that balloons are the easiest because they have a nice float time.
2. Toss the balloon into the air with one hand and bop it up again with the other. Switch back and forth between hands, making a nice arch like a rainbow.
3. Once you have mastered controlling the balloon from hand to hand in a nice rhythm, and at about the same height each time, add a second balloon. Again, the idea is really to keep the items in the air (please note, this is not serious juggling). Hold a balloon in each hand. Start with your non-dominant hand (the hand you don’t write with). Toss the balloon up in the air, and just before you would bop it with your dominant hand, toss the other balloon. Keep practicing until you get a nice rhythm (toss, toss, bop, bop, rest. Toss, toss, bop, bop, rest!).
4. Build up your rhythm so you can keep the two balloons in constant motion.
Silly Feather Juggling
1. Make sure you’ve got a lot of clear space for this one, as players will have their heads back and won’t be able to visualize the space around them. Players should keep their hands out at their sides to protect themselves from bumping into things.
2. Have the player take the feather in their hand, tilt their head back, and holding the feather about 3 inches from their mouth, gently blow the feather into the air.
3. As the feather falls, the player will need to get into position under the feather. When the feather gets near, they once again gently blow the feather up.
4. One feather is usually enough of a challenge, but if the player is confident, they can try two or even three.
Silly Plastic Bag Juggling
Basically, this is scarf juggling with a recycling twist! What’s great about plastic bags is they are lightweight, and the bag catches the air inside, so it gives the player more float time. If you like, you can cut the handles of the bags off.
1. Hold the bag in the middle of the sealed end. Lift your arm as high as you can across your body, and toss the bag with the palm of your hand facing outwards (like you are waving hello to someone)! Reach up with your other hand and catch the bag as you bring your hand down (this is called clawing). Now repeat this move and throw back to the first hand! Try to make each throw to the same height (peak).
2. After you’ve mastered one bag, try two: Hold a bag in each hand. Throw a bag from your dominant hand. When it reaches its peak (as high as it is going to go), then throw the second bag. The throws and catches should follow a nice rhythm (throw, throw, catch, catch). Do not throw or catch both bags at the same time! Keep practicing until you get a nice rhythm going.
3. Once you’ve mastered two, try three: Hold two bags in your dominant hand (you will need to experiment to find a good way to hold them to be able to make a good clean first throw) and one bag in your weaker hand. Throw one bag from your favoured hand, then when it reaches its peak, throw the bag from your weaker hand. When that bag reaches its peak, you can throw the third bag, and then just keep alternating throws between hands! The cascade pattern is an infinity pattern (side on figure eight) so you could go on forever!
1. Experiment with various lightweight objects. Are there other things that you can juggle?
2. Try balloon juggling with a friend. Try three balloons once you have mastered two.
You may find that some players have a natural ability to keep things up in the air. Should you find that passion sparking, you may want to check out actual juggling. Most jugglers will tell you that the best way to begin serious juggling is to start with scarves.
Here are some great sites for learning how to scarves and other objects.
eHow: Scarf juggling
Learn to Juggle: Juggling 3 Balls