The following is a conversation Trudy and Ann had about the use of balloons:
Ann: My question to you is a safety issue. The project uses partially inflated balloons as a tool for painting. The children loved the bright colors and the squishy, bouncy feeling of the balloons and enjoyed mixing primary colors. I used helium balloons and only partially inflated the balloons so that they were less easy to pop, but I started to get concerned about balloons as a choking hazard with young children (and that they can be inhaled and not easily dislodged) so I have taken up the project for now. What are your thoughts about balloons in the classroom with young children?
Trudy: I am aware of the standard warnings on latex balloons for children under 8 years old. I am very big on safety, however, I believe this balloon Art exercise poses no threat to children. First, no primary-aged child is going to be tempted swallow a balloon with paint on it. Second, the Montessori classroom is all about observation. An adult is always aware of who is working with the balloons and observing. Any child working on this particular Art exercise will have had a proper demonstration, which could include a “safety warning.” Naturally, you would not put this activity out until the class was normalized. If we carried each “safety issue” to the extreme, then certainly we would have to remove all knives, sewing needles, magnets, marbles, small beads, glassware, etc. from the Montessori classroom. In this case, the three balloons sitting in paint are just fine!
Ann: Thanks for your reassurance about the balloons in the classroom. My daughters agreed with you, saying that if we have knives and pin punching tools in the classroom, we should be able to handle balloons also! That said, I feel comfortable with the balloons and will use that as my art activity. ￼
So, readers...what do you think? We welcome your comments!