Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is an inspiring story with beautiful illustrations. This children’s book is all about Mr. Tony Sarg, the famous puppeteer who invented the puppets displayed during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He developed the concept of the floating balloon animals that are still enjoyed today. There are many resources and fun balloon crafts for this theme. Students will sharpen critical thinking skills as they respond to comprehension questions and engage in hands-on learning experiences.
1. Read Aloud Video
Melissa Sweet’s Balloons Over Broadway is a charming story based on the true story of the Macy’s Parade Puppeteer Extraordinaire. Throughout this read-aloud video, students will see the amazing illustrations of parade balloon designs and balloon floats.
Learn more: Mr. Alicea’s Arcade of Knowledge
2. Homemade Parade Floats for Kids
Students can work together to create miniature versions of these impressive parade balloon floats. Encourage children to come up with games, creative balloon ideas, and other entertaining balloon creations.
Learn more: Little Lovelies
3. Surprising Fact Find
Students will explore facts they never knew about the Thanksgiving Parade. As students are reading, hand out index cards for them to write down one interesting fact they learned from the article. Students can gather in small groups to share their findings.
Learn more: Scholastic
4. What Makes a Parade?
This is the perfect resource for children to make a list of seven things they can find in a Thanksgiving parade. I would recommend having students complete this worksheet after watching or reading about a parade. Acceptable answers could include balloons, clowns, marching bands, and dancers.
Learn more: Kids Konnect
5. America’s Favorite
This is a research-based activity in which students will look up pictures of past Macy’s Thanksgiving parades and paste them into the graphic organizer worksheet. Students will also need to practice writing by coming up with a caption that goes with each photograph. How many massive balloons will they discover?
Learn more: Kids Konnect
6. Visual History Lesson
Students will learn about the American history of the Thanksgiving Parade. Most of these images will be without color as they were taken very long ago. Students will see the original route of the parade, giant balloons, and the very first floats designed by original puppeteer, Tony Sarg.
Learn more: Hello Kids
7. DIY Marionette Puppet
Do you have a master puppeteer in your class? Find out with this activity! You will need cardboard, a pencil, markers, scissors, a hole puncher, tape, a needle, a fishing line, and glue. Students will draw and cut out cardboard body parts, punch holes and use wire to put the puppet together.
Learn more: Crafts U Print
8. Cardboard Puppet Theater
You can make your class puppet show even more fun by making this puppet theater. The materials needed for this project are a cardboard box, paint and brushes, scissors or box knife, and tape. This resource includes easy-to-follow instructions and is a fantastic idea for encouraging imaginative play.
Learn more: Playtivities
9. Multi-Balloon Pass
This game requires children to work together as a team. Students will stand in a line and pass balloons one by one to the person next to them. The last person will place the balloon in a large bag. Students will continue this activity until all the balloons are gone.
Learn more: Early Impact Learning
10. Parade Bingo
Turn on the Macy’s Parade and have your children play Bingo at the same time! As they watch the parade, students can look for specific things such as a candy cane, snowflake, truck, or clown. They can mark them off as they appear for a fun game of Bingo.
Learn more: Etsy
11. Mystery Sensory Balloons
Sensory balloons are a hands-on learning activity that fits perfectly with the theme of Balloons Over Broadway. To set up this activity, you will need to use a funnel to fill balloons with various materials, such as sand or coffee beans. Students will touch each of them to guess what’s inside.
Learn more: KC Edventures
12. Coffee Can Drums
Students will love to parade around their school or neighborhood playing a homemade drum! These are easy to make using coffee cans, paper, denim, yarn, glue, pencils, and scissors. Students will glue the paper around the can, fasten the denim to the lid with yarn, and use pencils to drum!
Learn more: Artists Helping Children
13. Balloons Over Broadway Word Search
Students will have a blast with this themed word search activity. I love these resource types because it allows children to learn new vocabulary, practice spelling, and problem-solving skills.
Learn more: My Word Search