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Water balloon games are an awesome way for students to enjoy time together this summer!
While they are throwing balloons at each other, this fun game will provide an opportunity for preteens to explore their emotions.
Whether they feel happy, frustrated, silly, or surprised, they will have a blast!
Use this summer game, followed by a quick lesson, to teach preteens that emotions are a gift from God.
– Nick Diliberto, Preteen Ministry


Written by Stef Litzler
Bible: Philippians 2:6-7; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 42:11; James 1:19-20
Bottom Line: Emotions are a gift from God.

  • Water balloons 
  • Sharpies
  • Sheets of paper
  • 2 kiddie pools (to hold water balloons)
  • Tape or rope

Before the game, fill as many water balloons as you would like to use for the game.

Create“emotioncards” with emojis.
You can download and print emojis or simply draw them on pieces of paper.
Create two stacks of emoji emotions.
Use a Sharpie to createtwo separate sets of balloons with emoji faces and place them in kiddie pools.
You should have multiple balloons for each emoji emotion card.

For example, you might have one happy face card for one team, but ten happy face balloons in the teams tub.


The goal of this game is to target emotions!
Divide your students into two teams and assign each student an emotion from the set of cards.
You can assign more than one student to an emotion.
If you don’t have enough students for every emotion, then have some students double up on cards.
Throughout the game, students will display their assigned emotion on their faces.
If they chose “happy,” then they will smile for the entire game.
If you have students who were assigned more than one emotion, then they will have to switch back and forth between the emotions during the game.
Use tape or rope (depending on whether you are playing on grass or concrete)to mark off the emotions side/area and the toss side/area.
Place thetwo kiddie pools (full of balloons)on the line of the toss side.

Have each team stand across from their balloon son the emotions side.
Pick one student from each team to begin the game.
Say: Today, we are going to play a game called “Burst of Emotion.”
One person on your team will come and draw an emoji card from a pile (emojis face down).
Once that person draws an emoji card, they will put the card back in the pile and shuffle the pile.
That person will then look for the balloons with that emotion on them and try and throw the balloon at their teammate that is expressing that emotion with their face.
Once the thrower targets the emotion, the person that was expressing that emotion becomes the thrower, and the thrower goes to the emotion side to express their emotion for the new thrower.
The first team to target every emotion,wins!
That means that every person on their team will have been hit with a water balloon.
If one team runs out of balloons before being able to target every emotion, then they lose, and the other team wins.
If there are lots of balloons left after the first team wins… have a balloon fight, of course!
Have students sit in a circle for the lesson.
Say: What a BURST of emotions!
God has uniquely created us to be able to process circumstances with different kinds of emotions.
Let’s take a quick moment to go around the circle and share what we are feeling today and why.
Say “I feel ________ today because ________.”
Allow for responses.
If someone doesn’t want to share, be respectful of that.
Just skip that person and go to the next person.
Say: I am going to read a Bible verse, and after I read it, I want you to use your face to express the emotion that the verse will help us understand.
Make sure to address and state the emotions in each verse along with the facial activity.
Read Philippians4:6-7.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Say:These verses express anxiety and peace.
Those two emotions are very different.
Ask:Can someone tell me which of those emotions you feel the most often?
Allow a few responses from students.
Read Joshua 1:9.
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Say: These verses mention being strong, courageous, not afraid, and not discouraged.
Ask: Do you think it’s easy to be strong and courageous in our world?
Allow a few responses from students.
Read Psalm 42:11. 
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Ask: Can you tell me all of the emotions that were mentioned in that verse?
Allow a few responses from students.
Read James 1:19-20.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Say: I think these verses pointed out an emotion that many people struggle with...anger.
But it also encourages us, in our anger, to behave in a way that produces “righteousness” or “godliness.”
Read Matthew 28:20.
I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. 
Say: It’s great to know that God is with us no matter what… forever!
God has uniquely made us in His image with different emotions.
Throughout the Bible, we see the way God expresses His emotions.
Jesus expresses His emotions.
The Holy Spirit helps us to guide our emotions.
Emotions are here to help us.
Can you imagine living life without any emotions?
How would you express what you are feeling.
Emotions are a gift from God!
You might not always feel like emotions are a gift, but they enable you to outwardly express what is going on inside of you.
In fact, emotions even help us demonstrate our love for God.
I also want to mention that God wants us to have emotional maturity.
As we grow in knowledge and grow physically, God also wants us to grow in the way we handle and express our emotions.
God’s Word is a great place to see how we are to process our feelings.
Remember that God’s Word tells us that He cares about us.
God wants to help us with what we are feeling.
God wants to celebrate in our happiness.
God is a comfort to us in our sadness.
God is a healer of our hurts.
God is a help in our anger.
God is available in our anxiousness.
Whenever you are feeling a burst of emotion, remember to draw near to God, and he will draw near to you and help you process “all the feels.”
[End of Lesson]


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