Have you ever set a balloon with a letter tied to it loose into the wind? I’ve heard you shouldn’t do that, ‘cause then they pop over residential areas or the ocean, and that’s considered littering. I suppose if you happen to see a balloon flying by with something tied to it, you should do the responsible thing and pop it yourself before it lands somewhere unwanted. Here’s how to get floating gifts in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

“Balloon, mister!”

While you’re bumming around on your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you may occasionally hear a distinct whistle on the wind. Follow the sound of the whistle and watch the sky, and you’ll see a colorful balloon float by with a large, distinctive present tied to it. These apparently-lightweight presents float by islands all the time, and they’re full of fun and helpful goodies like crafting materials, Bells, clothes, and DIY recipes. To actually get the present, though, you’ll need to pop the balloon.

How to Get Floating Gifts in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Here’s how to get floating gifts in Animal Crossing New Horizons:

  1. Obtain a Slingshot
  2. Look for a Floating Gift Balloon
  3. Equip your Slingshot
  4. Hold the A button to aim
  5. Release A when the balloon is over head

To pop balloons, you’ll need to obtain a slingshot. As with any other practical item on your island, the Nook boys have some flashy slingshots on sale, either at their early tent store or at the completed Nook’s Cranny, for a nominal fee. If you’re not into shelling out, you can learn to craft your own slingshot from Tom Nook’s DIY Class. All you need is five pieces of hardwood and a crafting table.

When you see a present floating by, equip your slingshot from your pocket and hold the A button to take aim. In the interest of islander safety, you’re only able to aim your shot straight up, so make sure to position yourself in a spot the balloon will fly over. When it’s overhead, release the button to take your shot. The game’s pretty generous about hits, so as long as the shot is in the balloon’s general vicinity, it should pop, leaving the present on the ground for you to claim.

One word of warning: be careful where you position yourself to shoot down a present. If you pop the balloon while it’s over a body of water like a river or the ocean, the present will fall in and be lost to you completely (though you do get Nook Miles the first time this happens).