Self Control Activity: Don’t Tap the Balloon

I’m hearing from counselor upon counselor {from my email group} that self control is one of the major skill deficits they see in their students. I wanted to share with you two of my favorite activities to do in classroom guidance lessons or in small group counseling to practice exercising self control! All you’ll need are balloons and an open space.

 

Self Control Activity 1

In the first activity, divide students into two groups and have them stand or sit in a circle. Explain that Group 1 will be tapping the balloons back and forth to one another while Group 2 should not touch the balloons at all. This is really hard for students and will require a great deal of self control! Before the game begins, discuss strategies for Group 2 to use to help themselves from touching the balloons (put their hands in their pockets, close their eyes, sit on their hands and sing a song in their heads, etc. Let students generate their own stopping strategy ideas!).
Begin the game and play for a few minutes. Afterward, collect the balloons and process the activity:
  • What strategies worked for you?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What other strategies would you try next time?
  • What did it feel like in your body to stop yourself from touching the balloon?
  • What other situations could you practice controlling an urge?
Switch teams for the activity and allow Group 2 to tap the balloons while Group 1 practices self control strategies they have learned from Group 2’s experience.

Self Control Activity 2

For a game where everyone gets to move at the same time, use 2 different colors of balloons. Group 1 will tap the red balloons while Group 2 will tap the blue balloons (or whatever colors you have!). Again, discuss how students will help themselves to tap only their group’s color. Have students generate ideas for what they will do if the other color comes near them.
Play for a few minutes, and then collect the balloons and process the activity.
  • What did you feel in your body when your color came near?
  • What did you feel when the other color came near?
  • How did you stop yourself from touching the other color?
  • How can you use these strategies in other situations?
These are 2 simple activities to practice exercising self control that pack a real punch! With a thorough discussion of strategies to use before the game, students are able to both implement and reflect on what works for them and what doesn’t so that they can apply these strategies to other areas of their lives. What other activities or games do you like to play with students who need a little help with self control? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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