Bonkers For Balloons

balloon-animals.jpgToday, Kate shares a couple of leads for kids who go bonkers for balloons:

We've never been one for big birthday celebrations in my family, and we've kept my daughter's parties similarly low key. For her most recent birthday (her 4th), I wanted to do something special that would neither break the bank nor cause too much fuss, and settled on the idea of hiring a balloon twister. I love balloon animals, and find the people who make them to be artists with nerves of steel, always moments away from having a creation pop in their hands (and in front of their young audiences).
A recommendation led us to Andrew Kleczek -- of Drew's Balloons -- who turned out to be just the right addition to the party: funny and gentle with the kids, skilled at fulfilling their every weird request (a bunny! a sword! an octopus! a monkey with a banana!), and a generally cool and laid-back guy. He even brought an amazing birthday cake hat (pictured below) for my daughter to wear while she blew out her candles.

Drew and his balloons were such a hit with my daughter that we decided to try some twisting of our own at home. For novice twisters, Balloon Animals by Aaron Hsu-Flanders is a great place to start. The books comes with a stash of balloons and a manual air-pump -- a must-have for twisting -- and simple step-by-step directions and photos to make a variety of animals. We've continued with the twisting, even trying some experiments outside Hsu-Flanders' guidebook. It's turned out to be remarkably fun for all ages.

Of the many gifts that my daughter received for her birthday, the fun creativity that Drew and his balloons brought may be the longest lasting.