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The Moon Balloon Project
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The Moon Balloon® provides a safe supportive outlet to help children cope with the stress and mixed up feelings that accompany illness, change or any new situation. By experiencing the Moon Balloon® workshop children gain the reassurance and support needed to develop a positive self-image and a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Recognizing the need for children to have a safe way to express their emotions, Joan Drescher created the Moon Balloon® book. This gave children the opportunity to explore their emotions through a journey, represented by various hot air balloons. This interactive picture book enables you to invite the child to write and draw their own feelings and images.
The Moon Balloon® book can be used as a picture book with young children or a verbal exercise with older children. The book can be used by children individually or in a group. Guides can be parents, teachers, therapist, nurses, physicians or anyone who cares about helping children express their feelings.
The role of the guide is to encourage the exploration of a child’s inner world in a safe and positive way. The child sets the pace. This is a special journey of growth for adults and children.
Workshops have helped to empower children and families to connect, even when they are overwhelmed by negative circumstances. The balloons we visit are placed in a particular order so that trust is built by the first safe balloon, gradually easing into more difficult balloons. The balloons are designed so that the participant can interact with them, putting their own images and symbols in the basket and all over the balloon.


LEARN  how to build bridges and improve communication using drawing and images as tools for creating a safe environment.

DISCOVER  how images and symbols can represent feelings that may be too difficult for words.

EMPOWER  children and families to connect with their ability to heal, even when overwhelmed by circumstances.


  1. History
  2. Where the Moon Balloon® has been and who might benefit
  3. How it can help
  4. Using symbols and images as an aid to communication
  5. Learn the value of images in relation to feelings
  6. Discover how universal symbols transcend language
  7. Learn how balloons can contain feelings and create safety
  8. On-the-spot drawings and demonstrations by the author
  9. The proper sequence of balloons
  10. How it is used one on one or in a group
  11. How to draw and create balloons- simple examples for the non-artist
  12. Knowledge about inquiring for details and giving attention
  13. Clinical example of how this has helped children in a health care setting
  14. Facts, research and feedback using the arts in healthcare
  15. Caring for the Caregiver Experiential
  16. Training guide included

A few of the professionals who have benefited from our training are parents, teachers, guidance counselors, child life workers, chaplains, doctors, nurses, social workers, therapists, psychologists and hospice workers.

The Moon Balloon® book and training has provided a safe and supportive outlet in helping children and families communicate and cope with the stresses of everyday living as well as life changing experiences. The Moon Balloon® book and training has been a valuable tool for all those concerned with bringing emotional healing to children.

Playful hot air balloon images representing various emotions provide a framework and work as a catalyst engaging children to write and draw feelings that are often too painful to speak about. Research shows that colorful positive images can help in the healing process.

Participants will learn to use visual symbols, simple drawing techniques and interactive methods of bringing out images relevant to other's experiences.

This program has been used at MassGeneral Hospital for Children; Boston's Floating Hospital; Gaslini Hospital for Children in Genoa, Italy; Aberdeen Royal Hospital, Scotland; Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois; Dunblane Schools, Dunblane, Scotland; Society for the Arts in Healthcare; Lesley University; Georgetown University Medical Center; Pittsburgh Children's Hospital; Fairfax Hospital and public schools in Massachusetts. During 9/11, the Moon Balloon® was a valuable tool for professionals working with Boston families. This partial list is growing all the time. The Moon Balloon® has been present as a resource for working globally with families and children who have experienced disasters. No matter whom the audience these symbolic balloons have helped children and adults to communicate, opening hearts to hope and healing. The Moon Balloon® trainings have been offered for CEU credit sponsored by the appropriate institution.


“Joan and Liz shared spirit in action with us and with their vision and guidance we can take this mission to the parts of the world that we all touch.”
Martine Amundson, RN

“…the bookends of child care and self care.”
Patricia Tacelli, Early Childhood Educator

“The trainers had a wonderful rapport, all ideas and suggestions were honored and heard. The training flowed and was so powerful.”
Richelle Flavin, Winthrop Country Day Learning Center

To download the Moon Balloon® Training brochure click here

Please visit our EVENTS page for training and other event infromation.
Photos ©Denise Michel Photography LLC, unless otherwise indicated