Before you begin
- Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
- Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
Please note: Though this activity’s partnered with the National Autistic Society, the theme is Understanding Disability. Therefore, this activity isn’t necessarily linked to autism. This activity is about learning about the challenges disabled people face when activities and games, as well as wider society, isn't accessible to everyone.
Getting ready for the game
- Inflate a balloon.
- Tie up or hang the string or rope across the centre of the room.
Run the activity
- Split the group into two teams. One team should stand on either side of the rope or string.
- Give some of the players on both sides of the room a specific role. The rest of the players can move as they normally would. In both teams, there should be:
- Some people who must sit on the floor for the game without moving position
- Some people who must sit on chairs for the game without moving position
- Some people who must not speak for the game
- Some people who must wear earplugs for the game
- Now, release the balloon to begin the game. Everyone should begin playing. Each team should attempt to bat the balloon with hands and limbs over the string or rope onto the other team’s side. If the balloon touches the floor on one side, the other side gets a point. The person leading the activity should keep score. The first side to reach 10 points wins that game.
- After each game, change the roles of the players on both teams. People who were free to move should now have a role and people who were sitting or silent are now free to stand, move and speak. After three games, declare a winner.
- Everyone should gather in the centre of the room. Ask the group how they felt about playing the game when they had a specific role. Find out whether the people on the floor or in chairs felt included in their teams, and whether the silent players were able to communicate. See if it was more frustrating for those who were performing the role than it was for those who were allowed to stand, move, speak and listen.
- Ask everyone to take a moment to think about and discuss how we could make the game more inclusive, so that everyone has the opportunity to take part. Choose two or three people to share their ideas.
This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved.
The group have seen the challenges of joining in with games that are not accessible to everyone. What did the teams do to help their teammates in a different role feel included? Why is it important to make sure everyone taking part in an activity feels included?
This talk may be difficult for people who have been excluded from an activity before. What were the positives to take from the game? How will the group act in future if they see somebody who is not being actively included in a game or activity?
- Active games
The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed. Take a look at our guidance on running active games safely.
To make the game harder, you could introduce a second balloon into the game. You could also have more players sitting on the floor or on chairs. You could make a rule where a player who is sitting must touch the balloon before it can be sent over the string or rope. Draping a sheet over the string or rope will make it more difficult to see the balloon coming for players near the floor.
To make the game easier, lower the height of the string or rope.
Make it accessible
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.
Think about other games, such as volleyball, that could be changed to include more people. At the same time, the group could do more to encourage those with accessibility needs in the local area to participate in their group by organising an event or social action campaign.