Happy Birthday Balloon with Enlarged Handle

This adaptation enables children and adults with decreased grasping skills to see and/or play with a balloon that they can control by grasping the handle and waving/shaking it to their heart's content! It really drove me nutty to see people in wheelchairs with balloons tied to the back where the individual could not even SEE the celebratory balloon,, let alone grasp and/or manipulate it...

The following adaptation involves using a cord that is  attached to a handle and the other end secured inside the slotted plastic piece cut from a baby wipe container.

Caution: Clients and all children using balloons (the latex type that kills when swallowed)  must be closely supervised. As a precaution, insert the balloon inside an empty mesh onion bag; then blow up the balloon and sew the edges of the bag together. A deflated or broken balloon will remain inside the netting. 

Materials Needed

  1.  A handle cut from a plastic detergent or dishwasher soap bottle
  2. Duct tape
  3. Contact adhesive vinal (i.e. contact paper)
  4. String or cord
  5. Cover from a baby or hand wipe container
  6. Mesh bag that onions are sold inside and needle and thread (optional)
  7. Balloon
  8. Materials to add weight such as rice, sand, a sock (optional)
  9. Materials added to balloon to add auditory stimulation such as rice.
  10. Motorized pen or toothbrush (optional)

Please read this link to learn how to cut a handle from the plastic bottle. 

Construction Directions

  1. Cut a hole in the handle flap. Insert cord through the hole, tie a knot on the inside end of the cord, and pull tightly.


2. Trim around the baby-wipe container cover, cut a circle around the slot opening at the center, and punch two holes (See A illustration above).

3. Slip the end of the cord through the holes and secure in place with duct tape. (See B. below)

4. Blow up a balloon. Push the balloon knot securely through the slot . If you do NOT have a wipe cover with a small notch, simply cut a round piece of plastic, snip the crisscross shape and punch 2 holes as shown in above photo.


  1. Place balloon inside a mesh bag; sew or tape closed so that balloon cannot be removed. This will provide additional safety so that client does not put it in their mouth.
  2. Place a small amount of rice inside the balloon before blowing it up. It will make a cool sound when the balloon shakes.
  3. Put sand inside a sock and tape this securely inside the folded handle. This will add weight proprioceptive sensory input.
  4. Attach a motorized device such as toothbrush or pen (with point and brush) removed by taping securely inside the handle flaps. Vibration is often a very motivating form of sensory stimulation.
  5. Using a helium and/or foil balloon is optional


Relevant Links










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