Distribute one balloon to each person in your group.
Encourage people to inflate their balloons as large as possible, and write their name on it.
Identify one or more boundaries in your playing space, indicating that all play occurs within this area.
Ask your group to begin moving about the room, gently tapping their balloons with an open palm.
When ready, each person is entitled to strike their balloon into the path of another in an attempt to cause the latter to cross one of the boundary lines.
Whenever someone’s balloon is knocked out of the playing space, that person (and their balloon) is eliminated.
At no time may a person hold or grasp their balloon to prevent it from being hit.
Announce that each person should aim to keep their balloon in the playing space for as long as possible.
Play continues until one final person (and their balloon) remains inside the playing space.
How To Play Narrative
Hand a balloon to each person in your group, asking them to inflate it as large as possible.
While marking the balloon with each person’s name is useful, it is not necessary so long as each person can identify their individual balloon. Naturally, if every balloon is the same colour, grab a marker.
Ordinarily, I would often suggest that the fun is always in the centre. But, for this exercise, it is necessary to indicate to your group a series of boundaries within which play may occur.
To start, ask your group to gently tap their balloons with an open palm, as they move about the designated area. Then, explain that when you call “GO,” everyone is entitled to strike their own balloon – with an open palm, no clenched fists – forcefully so that it may hit or knock the balloon belonging to another person.
Announce that if a balloon is knocked outside the boundaries of the playing space, the person belonging to that balloon is eliminated from the game. Anyone who is eliminated is asked to collect their balloon and vacate the space, to allow the rest of the group to continue playing.
Naturally, everyone aims to keep their balloon inside the boundaries of the playing space for as long as possible. Play continues until one, victorious person is left tapping their balloon inside the playing space.
In the spirit of fair play, a person is not permitted to hold or grasp their balloon at any time, eg to prevent it from being hit. Nor should they shield their balloon with their bodies, but there’s a lot of grey area in this regard.
Have fun. Play two or more rounds, and if time and energy permits, try something new (see the Variations tab.)
Practical Leadership Tips
Given that you need to inflate a bunch of balloons, and then have to find a way to dispose of them at the end, this fun-filled game is well placed in the midst of a series of balloon-infused activities. There are many options – just type ‘balloon’ into playmeo’s Search bar.
My advice – always encourage your group to inflate their balloon as large as possible. Balloons are more inclined to float when they are filled with more air than less, and larger balloons means more colour.
If your space is tight, then explain that when a balloon touches a wall, the player belonging to that balloon is eliminated.
Interestingly, many attempts to knock an opponent’s balloon out of the playing space result in the balloon belonging to the striker to accidentally cross a boundary line, thus eliminating the striker.
As cheap, colourful objects of play, there is nothing better than watching a bunch of balloons bopping around in the air. Be sure to have your camera ready.
Clearly, this activity has little to do with the film Star Wars, unless of course you choose to integrate a Star Wars theme into your presentation.
You could integrate Star Wars as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of enjoying a healthy burst of physical activity and a fun time.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to interact and engage physically with others may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite your group to reflect on the level of safety consciousness that was demonstrated during the activity and relate this to a set of observed impacts on others, eg deliberately hitting balloons into the faces of others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Star Wars could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Alternative Commands: Continue to introduce new instructions, such as “ONLY HIT ANOTHER BALLOON OF THE SAME COLOUR,” or “MOVE TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AREA USING YOUR NON-DOMINANT HAND.” If the colour distribution is relatively even, announce that the team with the most balloons aloft at the end (or in two minutes) wins.
Star Wars Teams: Divide your group into two or more teams. If possible, identify each team with a different coloured balloon. Obviously, the players of each team work together to eliminate those players belonging to the other team(s), aiming to be the last team standing.
Alternative Contact: Explain that balloons may only be tapped or struck using one’s non-dominant hand, or alternative anatomical body parts such as elbows, shoulders, foreheads, etc.
Race to the Finish: Starting from behind a line, challenge each person to tap their balloon down a designated, narrow pathway – spanning at least 25 metres (80′) – to be the first to cross a finish line. Naturally, for purely strategic purposes, a player may choose to knock an opponent’s balloon off-course and outside the pathway to eliminate it from the competition.
Balloon Sequence: Check out Balloon-Arama for a carefully sequenced medley of small and large group activities you can utilize balloons.
Playful & energetic circle game to fill-in two minutes.
Me You You Me
Hilarious, interactive name-game for small groups.
Circle The Circle
Classic team-based energiser with lots of fun movements.
Useful Framing Ideas
We all know the Star Wars series of films. The eternal fight of good over evil, pitting one galactic nation against another. This exercise imagines what these epic battles would look like, if they were balloons…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun-filled energiser game:
How easy was it for you to control your balloon?
How did it feel to forcefully strike your balloon into the path of another?
How did it feel to have your balloon struck by another person’s balloon, possibly out of bounds?
Did you have any strategies to stay in the game as long as possible? Did they work?
If you happen to know an activity book or another source which features this Star Wars game, please contact playmeo so that we can properly attribute it. The best we can do is reference it in the following publication: