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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ballooning 101 » » Teaching a Balloon Class (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Danny Diamond
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Hi folks,
Tomorrow I am volunteering to come by my son's daycare, and teach a few simple balloon animals to the kids. These are the older kids, the after-school program. The kids are from 8-10 years old. I also work with a local Community Center PT, and we are advertising a balloon class for later this year. The student of that class will get their own balloon pump to keep, and a supply of Qualtex balloons. I have a basic idea of what the class will consist of, but I thought I'd ask you guys for any advice or ideas you may have. Has anyone done anything like a balloon class for kids?
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
dave_matkin
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That is a great idea!

Being a science teacher I would do a risk assessment (e.g. will the younger kids be around? will any of the older kids be going home to younger kids) and give advice that is appropriate - e.g. NO Putting the empty bag over your head (some would add the chocking risk - some would say there is little / no real evidence for this - so I would be inclined to cover myself either way).

I think then I would start with the basics - inflating (talk about leaving different lengths at the end for different models - keep it kid friendly of course). They may find tying knots difficult - so I would use the two finger method.

Then just go into the basic models - snake - worm (ha ha ha why not include some one liners and some jokes - kids love this - need I tell you that). The just do some basic stuff to start with. dog, bear ladybird etc etc.
Danny Diamond
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Yes, I will certainly start off by announcing the possible dangers, and warning them to keep them out of the hands of their little brothers and sisters. I have taught children's art classes PT for about 5 years, so the idea of teaching kids is not new to me. But the subject matter is. Like I said, I have a basic outline of what I want to do - inflating, tying the knot, basic twists, and then constructing 3-4 different creations with them, having them follow along step by step. I also made up a single sheet to hand out, with instructions for the basic dog. Should be a fun class.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
phill
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Hey Danny -
I have done this a few times. Start off simple. Real simple - really simple, like a fish. They can then wear it like a hat. Sounds too simple, but you can use it to teach them different parts of the balloon - knot, nozzle end, nipple end etc. I thought a dog was going to be too simple and learned quickly that even a three twist dog was somewhat complex.
Also, have a list of websites for them to refer to so they can purchase supplies after the class.
Finally, along with your business cards Smile, you may want to bring in a premade impressive creation, showing them that the sculpture you made uses some of the very same techniques involved that you have just taught them.
Hope this helps. If you need anything else, give me a holler.


peace,
phill
Scripture, Sculptures & Surprises!
docbarnes
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It amazing how difficult if can be to teach a young child to tie a balloon or make a dog. My young kids just enjoy twisting odd shapes while I am messing around with the balloons. I would make hat bases, have tied balloons and let them create their own hat. The kids might not get has frustrated than if they were trying to make a dog.
dave_matkin
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Yesterday I was visiting friends (not a new thing we see them MOST weekends) but as this post had been in my mind I lead to a thought:-

Sorry I got to give a quick bit of background and a good excuse for some doting on my children (ill keep it short). The friends we visited have 2 kids they are 6 and 4 and we have 2 kids 3 (nearly 4) and 5. Now even thought they are a really close in age it stuck me yesterday HOW DIFFERENT they were in their ability to do coordinated tasks. Now I should know this anyway (being a teacher) but it really hit home watching them play at cooking – just putting stuff in a pan and one of them would miss half the time (now they do have eye problems as well but the point is still there).

SO it got me thinking about how you might “differentiate” for a “class” you don’t know. Just a few ideas:

1) teacher the teacher to tie the balloon – so you have an extra pair of hands
2) Have a load of balloons pre-inflated ready to give out for twisting.
3) If possible have a short vide clip (may be on a laptop if you have one) of making a simple creation – this way if you need to give some time for more advanced kids you can but the ones that need more help will be bale to watch the clip several times. You could do the same for a more advanced model as well.

The other thing I might do is talk about bursting balloons why they burst etc and demonstrate that if they are too full of air and you twist them they burst – actually burst one). It may get them use to it and not be afraid when it happens as they twist.

I liked the ideas someone posted about a hat. They can be wacky and not anything in particular that allows the most inept balloon modeller to create something fun and be successful. – Just like kids painting ask them what they have drawn (made) and then be full of praise. Or the other thing you could do is say how rubbish they all are and burst with a pin (sorry that’s the evil streak coming out … only do that if you want to scar them for life ….. well a day or so).

Just a couple more ideas (NOT THE LAST ONE I WAS BEING DAFT!).
DanielSteep
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Ive done this at three local highschools for grade nine advanced art classes. I talk all about balloon art. We make dogs and then lady bugs then I basically go wild and just make make make.

May I forewarn you that even for the advanced art students dogs where hard. as well as the lady bugs.
Danny Diamond
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Well I did the volunteer thing last Friday at the daycare. Yes, as some have said, teaching something as apparently simple as a dog, was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Actually, I didn't even make a real effort to teach the dog. We started with the fish, just to get them used to what it feels like to twist a balloon. Then I briefly showed the steps for a dog, but realized they were not going to have any success with a dog in the short time we had, so I had them practice making sausage links instead. I wanted them to simply get comfortable with the balloon in general. Some of the kids were able to create some abstract sculptures, but nothing recognizable.

In the more formal class I have coming up in a few weeks, we have two hours. The daycare thing was 30 minutes or so. And the kids will be older in the longer class. It was good to practice and learn with the volunteer gig, before teaching the bigger class.

Thanks for the suggestions and ideas.
You don't drown by falling in the water;

you drown by staying there.



- Edwin Louis Cole
dave_matkin
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I am glad it went well!
phill
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Glad things went well, Danny.


peace,
phill
Scripture, Sculptures & Surprises!
DanielSteep
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Danny,

As long as you had fun!

Anyways as I was saying... Even the grade nine art classes couldn't handle it. Well some could but grade nine is probably the lowest age I will teach. If I ever promote doing that again its deff. grade 10 11 or 12 only.

Ha-ha.
Good luck with the next class!

Daniel
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