In this team building activity, the team has to devise a way to cushion a falling water balloon, using only the materials provided.
- Balloons (one for each team, and extras in case the balloons break)
- Piece of string (50cm)
- A tree branch or tall structure from which to hang the water balloon(s)
- 15 cotton balls
- 4 sheets of newspaper
- Piece of masking tape (20cm)
- 1 hand towel
Space Required: Medium, ideally outdoors or an area which is suitable for water games.
Group Size: 8 – 12 is ideal. If you have a bigger group, you may want to split them into smaller teams of 6 – 8 people.
Total Time: 35 – 45 minutes
- 10 minutes to brief and setup
- 10 minutes for the team to devise their solution (20 minutes if the activity is run in 2 rounds)
- 5 minutes to test the team’s solution
- 10 minutes to review and debrief
- Fill the balloon(s) with water.
- Tie the string to the water balloon and hang it 1.5 meters off the floor. If you are outdoors, you can hang it from a tree branch or any similarly tall structure.
Running the Activity
- Explain the activity: In 7 minutes, the water balloon will be released from the string. Using only the materials provided, the team has to devise a way to save the water balloon from bursting when it falls.
- Once they are ready, start the timer and they can begin the activity.
- At the end of the activity, the trainer(s) will cut the string on the water balloon to test the team’s method of saving the balloon from bursting.
- Only the provided materials can be used during the challenge.
- The hand towel and scissors cannot be changed in any way.
- The team is given 7 minutes to plan and devise their method of saving the water balloon.
- No testing is allowed.
Suggested Learning Outcomes
- Problem solving
- Creative thinking
Activity Guidance and Notes
This activity promotes creative thinking as teams have to come up with a solution using limited resources. It can be done in small groups as a race or as a whole group with more focus on inclusion and discussion. If you have a larger group, you can split them into smaller teams and get them competing against each other to see who manages to save their water balloon.
If teams fail on their first attempt, you can consider running the activity a second time which will allow participants to stretch their problem-solving muscles and build their resilience to failure.
Suggested questions to ask:
- How did you work as a team? What did you do well?
- How did you decide on the method of saving the water balloon?
- Did you identify a leader? If yes, how did having a leader help?
- How did you communicate during the challenge?
- (If the activity is done in two rounds) What did your team do differently in the second round?
- What did you learn from this challenge?