Why wait for a party to blow up balloons? Thankfully, we're not allergic to latex balloons. We use balloon play for various aspects of development.
Matthew enjoys tossing the balloons up as high as he can and catching them as they come down. It's a fun game that keeps him entertained.
Speech & Language
He enjoys tossing it down the stairs. It's just his excuse to have to go downstairs, where we have his ball pool and a few other toys set up. From the baby gate, he watches the balloon go down the stairs and says, "dow, dow, dow" (down, down down). Then he quickly comes over to me and says, "el! ahs! dow!" (help! stairs! down!).
A simple turn-taking game of throwing and catching is a way to encourage interaction with other kids. However, it doesn't work as well with pets.
We have two sizes of balloons handy. It's one way to teach the concepts 'big' and 'little'. Matthew also knows his colors - blue, red, purple, green, yellow - thanks to many hours of play with the Melissa & Doug Sort and Stack. Identifying balloon colors is one way to see if he can transfer his color knowledge to other objects, which is validation of his ability to truly recognize colors.
When he's a little older and has developed a tripod grip on a pen, I suppose we can draw on the balloons. Animal faces perhaps?