Using balloons, this is a short game which shows how protective we can be of our own identity and our perceptions of others, their identity and their beliefs etc.
What will you learn?
This activity works towards the LISTENING and ACKNOWLEDGING requirements for the Dialogue for Peace Challenge.
Learning Objectives: Under 11
- I treat others with respect, regardless of our differences.
- I understand the difference between a problem and a conflict.
Learning Objectives: 11 - 15 years
- I am aware that there are many perspectives and listen and respect those that are different from mine.
- I reflect on my perspective to discover biases and I engage with others to broaden my horizon
- I understand people with diverse experiences, identities, and opinions perceive things differently and have different needs and interests.
- I understand that actions of people can be perceived in different ways and cause misunderstandings.
Learning Objectives: 15 years +
- I help others understand how people are unique and why they all deserve respect.
- I reflect on my internal biases and how they affect my interaction with others.
- I help others to understand the differences and commonalities between us or among people in a respectful way.
- Balloons (1 per person)
- String (at least 0.5m per person)
- Ensure a clear training room / Scout Hall, remove any potentially dangerous objects or furniture. You need space for participants to run around.
- Give each person 1 balloon and 1 piece of string
- Give the instruction to blow up the balloon, then tie it around one ankle. Each participant should have one balloon attached to their ankle before the game can begin.
- Instruct every participant that they must now try to pop the balloons of each other, whilst keeping their own – the last one with a balloon wins. Ensure that people do not get too rough and also that they are willing to take part.
- When a balloon is popped, that participant should step to the side of the room and allow play to continue.
- Congratulate the last person with a balloon remaining. They successfully protected their balloon.
- Now start the reflection and debriefing. Start by sharing that our perceptions and identity can be a little like those balloons. We protect them from others and they are often fragile or hard to remove. We do everything we can to protect our own identity and our perceptions about others while often battling to burst others' perceptions of us.
Debriefing and Reflection
Please refer to the Learning Objectives above for each age group when explaining, facilitating, and recapping this activity. Select the questions relevant to the age group and their objectives.
- Can you think of an example of when you have tried to change someone's perception of you?
- Can you think of a particular identity you try hard to protect? Or an identity that is often taken from you?
- Can you think of an identity that is suppressed by others, in the same way they popped the balloons?
- Why is it important to understand how our perceptions and assumption of others' identities can cause conflict or challenges?
- How can you manage your perceptions and respect the difference in each other?
- How might understanding this topic, help you work with others?
As the adult leader, you should also encourage other reflection and questions based on your knowledge, experience and desired objectives