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Catch your breath

Use balloons to create a model lung, and learn how to take care of your own.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Balloons
  • Clean, empty plastic bottles (two litres)
  • Elastic bands
  • Paper drinking straws
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Modelling clay


Before you begin

  • Talk as a group about lungs – does everyone know how many they have, where they are, and what they do?


Make a model lung

  1. Use the scissors to cut the bottle in half width-ways, and discard the bottom.
  2. Tie a knot in the neck of the first balloon. Cut it at its widest point, and keep the half with the tied neck – you can throw away the top of the balloon.
  3. Stretch the second balloon, so it will inflate properly.
  4. Put the straw into the neck of the second balloon. Use an elastic band to secure it, but be careful not to crush the straw – air needs to flow through it freely.
  1. Put the bottle over the top of the second balloon and straw. The balloon should be inside the bottle, and the straw should poke out of the bottle’s neck.
  2. Use modelling clay to create a seal around the top of the bottle. It should hold the straw in place without squashing it – air still needs to get through.
  3. Take the first balloon (which you’ve already tied and cut), and stretch it over the open bottom of the bottle.
  4. Use sticky tape to secure the first balloon, and make an airtight seal.

Breathe with the lung

  1. Hold the bottle with one hand, and pull the knot at the bottom of the balloon.
  2. The balloon inside the bottle should inflate. It should deflate when you let go of the balloon covering the bottom of the bottle.
  3. The balloon inside the bottle is like a lung. The knotted balloon is like a diaphragm, which is a sheet of muscle which moves to make us breathe.


This activity helped you learn how to live healthily. What do your lungs do? What does your model show? Why is it important to look after your lungs? What sorts of things can you do to take care of your lungs? Do you think you take good care of your lungs already? What could you change to take even better care of your lungs?



Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.