For the Classroom: Balancing Ball Activity

Robin Pittman MS, CHES Senior Health Educator

Getting involved with sexual activity too early can increase stress for adolescents, who already are coping with the typical responsibilities and pressures of adolescence.  This activity demonstrates how delaying sexual activity can reduce related stress, such as risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.   It also reinforces that abstinence is the only way to 100% prevent such issues.

Props needed:

  • two beach balls
  • permanent marker

Activity instructions:

In advance, write the following on each side (color) of one beach ball:

  • participation in family activities and household chores,
  • going to school,
  • homework,
  • hobbies/sports,
  • friendships, and
  • planning/preparing for the future.

Write the following on each side (color) of the second beach ball:

  • disappointing one’s parents,
  • plans for the future disrupted,
  • contracting an STD,
  • having trust broken,
  • an unintended pregnancy, and
  • stress and worry.

Ask six students to come to the center of the class and form a circle standing almost shoulder to shoulder. Then ask the students to take one step back.  Show them the beach ball.  Instruct them to keep the ball in the air using their hands, arms, shoulders, and head. Thank the volunteers and ask six more volunteers to also get in a circle.

Toss the second ball into the circle and intentionally try to cause the other ball to fall. This time ask the students to lock arms, so they can no longer use their hands.

After the balls fall, explain the challenges of being a teenager are great enough without the drama and confusion which are often associated with being in an intimate sexual relationship while a teenager.

Discuss that young people who choose abstinence instead of sexual risks have less stress in their lives and are better able to focus on other important things, such as family, schoolwork, and friendships.