Fill-in the Blank Analogy: __________ is like a balloon because __________.
For example, Teaching young children is like a balloon because it is always fun! This analogy activity can be used several ways:
- orally as part of introductions
- by giving participants a balloon-shaped piece of paper to record their idea
- by posting on chart paper
Balloon Thumb Ball
This activity is a variation on thumb ball—just use a balloon. Create a set of questions. The questions could be “getting to know you” questions used for getting acquainted or team building, or content questions used as a revisiter/review strategy. Write the question numbers on a balloon. Participants stand in a circle and toss the balloon to another participant. The receiving participant answers the question corresponding to the number closest to her right thumb.
Provide participants with colorful paper cut in the shape of a balloon. Participants write celebrations on the balloon to be posted in a large balloon bouquet on the meeting room wall.
- Photocopy free clipart of a balloon. Stack several pieces of paper to cut out multiple copies at the same time.
- Laminate and use water-based markers if you plan to repeat this activity.
Balloon Juggling and Sorting
Give each participant a balloon. Ask the group to keep all the balloons in the air. Increase difficulty by adding more balloons or placing restrictions such as using only one hand or not moving your feet. You may also ask participants to sort the balloons by color. Applications:
- as an opener to keep introductions fun, active, and concise.
- as an active strategy to sort people into groups using the colors of the balloons
- to make the point that we all have “things we are trying to keep in the air” and that it is easier when we work together.
5. Out with a Bang!
There are many activities that involve popping balloons. Consider whether the loud noise resulting from balloon popping may be aversive to any of your participants.
Start with a Bang!
Write the goals of the workshop on separate strips of paper. Roll up the strips to put inside balloons prior to inflating. Ask participants to pop a balloon and read the workshop goal.
Bad Idea Popping
This activity can be used when there are bad ideas, myths, misperceptions or other notions that should be dispelled. Write the idea to be dispelled on a balloon or on a small piece of paper rolled inside the balloon. Have participants pop the balloon when sharing. Discuss the corresponding “good” idea.
- Use a Sharpie to write on a balloon. Avoid the very fine tip type in order not to pop the balloon.
- Helium balloons float to the ceiling so consider the ceiling height of your training site when using helium balloons in case balloons escape.
- Some participants may not be able to blow up a balloon so have some ready to go in advance. Also, be aware of individuals who may have a latex allergy.
- Use swimming pool noodles cut in half to bat balloons rather than toss them. This increases the fun and activity level.
- There a lots of balloon games online. Check out csun.edu and http://www.wilderdom.com/games/descriptions/gamesballoons.html.