Do you ever catch your child staring towards the sky, looking at the clouds float on or the planes jet by? And do your children love to play with balloons? If so, there’s a great kid science experiment you can do with your kids to let them have some fun and teach them all about things that fly on by.
Preparing for Flight
For this balloon rocket experiment you’ll need a few easily accessible supplies. Gather one balloon, a plastic straw, a spool of string, and some tape. Choose a sizeable room in your house, and find two supports around which you can tie the string – but only tie one end! After you’ve secured one end, tape the plastic straw to the balloon with so that it’s facing the opening – parallel to the mouth of the balloon. Now thread the rest of the string through the plastic straw, and tie the other end to your second support, making sure that the string is taut.
With all of your supplies ready, make sure that your child is ready for the flight of their life!
Once everything is setup, blow up the balloon fully, but make sure not to tie the end of the mouth. Pull the balloon all the way to the end of the string, making sure that the opening of the balloon is facing the closest support.
Now let the balloon rocket go, and watch as it flies across the room along the taut string. For a few more tries, blow up the balloon and let your children be the one who lets it go. Watch their faces light up with excitement as their new balloon rocket soars.
Learning About the Balloon Rocket
Once they’ve settled down from the excitement, try to being teaching them the concepts behind the movement of the balloon rocket. But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be a lesson in advanced astrophysics!
If they don’t understand how the balloon moves across the string, explain to them that something called ‘thrust’ is what’s propelling the object. Simply put, the air in the balloon really wants to get out, and if you let the mouth go, it will fly out as quickly as possible.
But instead of the air moving away from the object, it creates energy that propels the balloon instead. The more air that’s in the balloon, the more thrust it will create, eventually moving it farther.
Once they grasp this, you can tell them that the same system works in the planes they watch fly above them. Instead of using air, though, they use jet fuel, which is burned to create the same energy. As the fuel is burned, the thrust created from the process propels the plane farther, keeping it afloat in the sky.
Science in the Sky
While this kid science experiment won’t teach your child everything about objects that soar through space, it will give them a fun activity to do, and a new understanding of one of the crazy rules that works in the world of cool science.