Balloon Mania

Self: Feelings and Self Esteem
8-10 years, 10-12 years, 12-14 years, 14-16 years, 16+ years
Anticipate Time
1 hour min
2-5, 5-15, 15-30, 30
Courtesy, Honesty, Loyalty, Sharing


Just-for-fun, balloons are used to explore affirmation and self-disclosure.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Exercise discernment with the needs and feelings of others
  2. Demonstrate encouragement
  3. Relate positively to group members

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

The old adage that God gave us two ears and one mouth because He wanted us to listen twice as much as we talk – rings cogently true today in our nameless consumer society. We all need time to express our thoughts and feelings without censure, distraction or the feeling that the conversation next to ours is more exciting to our listener.

We need to show respect to others by being an engaged listener. They have a heart that can hurt, a soul that needs growth and a mind that was created to interact. Our engaged attention can help them blossom. Affirmation and self disclosure will help us to grow together, to value each other just as we are, and to value each person’s thoughts and opinions.

This Pursuit is designed to nurture listening and sharing and offers both the verbal valuing and self-disclosure opportunities in a spirited, fun-filled way.


  1. All materials need to be assembled
    1. Party hooters, party hats for leaders
    2. Enough round coloured balloons for about 3 for each participant. Extra for decoration
    3. 1 packet of a single colour balloon
    4. Hired helium tank (this is OPTIONAL)
    5. String
    6. Artline textas
    7. Sentence starters (outlined in Appendix) copied and cut up individually – to be placed inside some balloons
    8. A Cassette or CD player and a sample of fast-paced music, and one of ‘festive’ music
    9. A cake in the shape of a balloon, decorated and ready for consumption!
    10. A ball of plasticine for each participant
    11. Coloured cellophane cut into 10 cm x10 cm squares
    12. Thin gift-wrap ribbon
  2. Make the balloon shaped cake
Activity One

If using helium, fill the balloons and attach the string (the string must be long enough for all participants to be able to pull the balloon down from the ceiling).
NB. If this option is too expensive, simply have balloons lying on the floor and proceed with the same exercise. In this case, the plasticine and cellophane could also be eliminated. 

Activity Two

Using the balloons of a single colour, blow each up and fill it with the small piece of paper with one of the leading statements outlined in the Appendix. One of the multi-coloured balloons from the former activity will need to be kept for this activity. This balloon, (of a different colour) can be filled with the instruction: ‘Lead the group in a prayer of blessing’. This will conclude the Pursuit.


Balloon Activity One

NB. If using helium, this first activity needs to take place in a room where the ceiling is not too high. You may find this first activity better suited to a group of younger Pathfinders.

1. Give each participant a coloured helium-filled balloon with string attached, or air-filled balloon. Each participant needs an Artline marker or similar, they then write their name on their balloon and let it float to the ceiling.

2. Say: When the music starts, each person is to pull down a balloon from the ceiling a(or grab a balloon from the floor) and write on the balloon a specific, positive note of appreciation or compliment to the person whose name is on the balloon. Being honest and specific in your praise and thanks is important. Keep track of the number of notes you write by marking your hand with slash marks. There will be 5 – 10 minutes for this activity (depending on your group size).

3. Start the fast-paced music while the participants do the exercise. When time is up, pronounce the winners (ie, those with the most slash marks on their hand): Mr and Ms Encouragement.

4. Have the participants find their own balloon and read the comments. These balloons can be kept aside and taken home at the end of the evening.
(If you have used helium, give each participant with a ball of plasticine and ask them to tie the balloon with string and push the string into the centre of the plasticine ball. This ball can then be covered with the cellophane square and tied with the gift-wrap ribbon. It will then sit on a table without floating to the ceiling. Check they don’t suck the helium from the balloons!)

Balloon Activity Two

1. Seat all the participants in a circle. Explain that this game is like musical chairs – without the possible injury factor. All participants hold on to a balloon. (Included is the different coloured balloon to all the rest.) When the music starts, the balloons are passed from person to person. When the music stops, the person holding the odd-coloured balloon stands selects one of the other balloons and bursts it. He or she then reads the statement on the piece of paper and responds to it.
NB. Ensure you have more balloons than people. That way they can be replenished as each one is burst. This will serve to lengthen the game.
At the end of the game, ask a person to take the different coloured balloon, burst it and do what it says. This person will pray a prayer of blessing on the group.

2. To conclude the Pursuit, enjoy the balloon-shaped cake, and bask in the pleasure of each other’s company! Play music with a festive feel. Debrief after you’ve finished the cake.


Activity One Debrief
  • How difficult was it to think of specific comments?
  • How do the comments on your balloon make you feel?
  • How powerful are words? (Leader: Share a time from your own experience when words hurt.)
  • How do you think others feel about the comments you wrote on their balloon?
  • How much value is there in such feelings?
  • Is it important in life to affirm others? How important?
  • What are the possible benefits to our lives when we affirm others?
Activity Two Debrief
  • How easy is it sharing with friends?
  • What questions were the easiest to answer?
  • What are some things / issues that were hard to share with friends? What made it hard?
  • Why is it so difficult for us to talk about spiritual things?
  • Why do you think we fear opening up about certain things? (They’ll knock us.)
  • How should true friends treat us?
  • What are some of the good things that can come from open sharing with each other?
  • How ‘safe’ do you feel sharing here at Pathfinders (You may go for a secret ballot vote with this one to get some honesty!)
  • Who in your world could benefit from you taking the time this week to really share with them and check out how their life is really going?
  • When will you do it? To whom?


Sharing Topics for Balloons: 

  • In one sentence, what is life all about?
  • Make a statement about success.
  • Describe the best teacher you ever had.
  • Describe heaven.
  • What is the worst thing parents can do to children?
  • What is the best thing parents can do to children?
  • If you were asked to preach a sermon, what title would it have?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • When I was younger, I always wanted to be a…
  • I want Jesus to return when…
  • The best part of my life was…
  • I really like _________ about the person on my right.
  • The Bible character I like least is…
  • When I get to heaven, the first thing I’ll ask God is…
  • I really don’t know why…
  • I get really frustrated when…
  • My best memory was when…
  • ___________ has been one person in my life who has really had an impact on me.
  • ___________ has been one person in my life who has shown me what God is like.
  • I just love…
  • It really ticks me off when…
  • I am most afraid of…
  • What kind of trophy would you like to win?
  • What the world needs now is…
  • Say something about TV.
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, it would be…. because…
  • If I could go back and start life all over again, it would be when…
  • The best thing about today is…
  • Describe a time when you felt proud of yourself.
  • Describe a good neighbour.
  • Three questions I’d like to ask God would be…
  • I don’t understand why Jesus…
  • I wish I knew more about…
  • Name two famous people you would like to have as parents. Why?
  • The first lie I ever told was…
  • I’m most afraid of…
  • I just hate…
  • I get really frustrated when..
  • God really helped me once when…
  • If someone were to write a book about you, what would they call it?
  • Describe something you do well.
  • Say something to 5 members of the group that you think s/he would like to hear.
  • What do you think your friends say about you when you’re not here?
  • What kind of people are the luckiest people in the world?
  • What kind of person would you like to be in twenty years?
  • If you could hang a motto in every home in the world, what would it be?
  • Give an example of Heaven on Earth.
  • If you wrote a book today, what would it be about?
  • How would you describe peace?
  • What would you like to be remembered for after you die?
  • What one quality do you most look for in friends?
  • What four things are most important in your life?
  • Share one of the happiest days of your life.
  • What bible character do you relate to?
  • What song would you like sung at your funeral?
  • What motivates you in life?