Leadership Inspirations Activities

Balloon Kebab

Figure out how to push a skewer through a balloon without popping it

Duration

10-20 minutes

Team Stage

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

Type Of Activity

Game

Materials

Balloons, Wooden Skewers

 

SUMMARY

This activity is meant to challenge a group and encourage them to think creatively by asking them to push a skewer through a balloon without popping it. The lessons that emerge during debrief of this activity may vary depending on your group’s performance.

 

SET UP

  • Inflate balloons to a diameter 2 inches smaller than the length of the skewers.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • This can be done as individuals or in small teams.
  • The goal is to push the skewer through the balloon so that it passes through the center of the balloon and out the other side without the balloon popping.
  • Participants are not allowed to put anything on the balloon or skewer (no sticky tape) and they are not allowed to deflate the balloon, pierce it, then re-inflate the balloon.
  • If the balloon pops or deflates, the participants will need to try again.
  • Give participants at least two chances to try before giving them any hints. Just make sure to have enough balloons prepared to replace the ones that pop.
  • Safety: Balloons popping can be loud, so be aware of participants who may have hearing issues or be sensitive to loud noises. Also, be careful that participant’s aren’t jamming themselves or their partners with skewers.

SOLUTION

  • There are two thick spots on the balloon, one at the neck and one opposite at the top of the balloon. Gently push the skewer through the neck and then gently push it out through the thick spot on the top of the balloon.

VARIATIONS

  • Inflate smaller balloons and see if students can successfully skewer more than one balloon.
  • Host a competition, how many balloon kebabs can participants make in 1 minute? Alternatively, how quickly can a group push a skewer through 1 balloon without it popping?

SAMPLE DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

What?
  • What was the goal of this activity?
  • Did your group do well? What could have improved?
  • How did your group make decisions? Was it effective or ineffective?
  • How did your group manage conflict that arose?
So What?

Teambuilding

  • When has your group worked well together in the past? When have they not worked well together?
  • When has (something that happened in the activity) happened in the past with your group?
  • What habits or actions make a successful or effective team? What does your group do well as a team? What are your group’s opportunities for growth when working together?

Alignment

  • Are we the only ones that define our purpose? What or who influences our purpose?
  • How do we communicate our purpose to new members or people outside of our group?
  • Why is it important that we all understand the purpose of our group/activity/etc.?

Group Dynamics

  • What are the traits that make someone successful on this team? What are the traits that make someone unsuccessful on this team?
  • What motivates our group?
  • How does our group dynamic affect the way we get work done?
Now What?
  • What does this activity tell you about the strengths of your group? The areas for improvement?
  • What’s one commitment each person can make?
  • What are three lessons the group has learned that they can continue to work on?
  • How can we implement these lessons in our school/organization?
  • What can you do differently moving forward?