"Okay, everybody. This is what you're gonna do. See those chairs down at the other end of the field? You're gonna run down there, put your balloon on a chair, sit on the balloon and pop it."
"Okay. In a minute, we'll hand you a balloon. No, not yet. You don't get a balloon yet. You'll get one when it's your turn to run to the chairs. One little boy reaches into the bucket and pulls out a balloon. "Well, okay, you can hold your balloon. Just don't pop it. All the three-year-olds crowd around the bucket of balloons and help themselves. "Well, alright, you can all hold your balloons." The children look down at the balloon in their hands and do not look up again.
"Now, I need to divide you into two teams. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Oh, that's not an even number."
"Okay, Miss Helen, you can be number eight. Miss Helen is about seventy-five.
"Now we're gonna divide into two teams. Make two equal lines. Can you separate yourselves? Adults move in among the children to help sort them into two teams. Okay, you stand here...you stand here...No. Come back over to this side. Can you make a line? You know. A line? You stand here...Two lines never materialize. The children are mesmerized by the squishy balloons.
"Now, when I say go, two of you are going to run down to the chairs, pop your balloons and run back." The children look for the chairs. An adult walks down to the chairs and waves her arms so they know where to run. The children smile. They know where the chairs are.
Now remember. Two children at a time. On your mark! Get set! Go! All the children run down to the chairs in a herd. They sit on their squishy balloons. They throw them. They stomp on them. One child cries. He doesn't like water...or grass...or dirt. A second child cries. His balloon won't pop. He cries harder when his mama helps him. Miss Helen gets him another balloon for a do-over.
The balloon relay is over. On to the next station for a new water game and another set of directions.