This is part craft, part science experiment, and 100% fun. We did this last summer, to learn about equilibrium. The boys had a blast figuring out how best to balance the balloon, and had so much fun floating it around in the backyard. The balloon only lasted a day, but it was a fun day while it lasted! (or, at least until I fell off a ladder, but that’s another story). I got the idea from the lovely BookHaus Crafts, who always has fun and interesting ideas!
What You’ll Need:
- large helium-filled balloon (I got mine at the party store, filled with helium for $2)
- small basket (I used a plastic strawberry crate)
- Netted produce bag or ribbon/yarn (we used yarn)
- you can tie the ribbon/yarn to the netting for the top of your balloon, or just tie ribbon/yarn. We used yarn, and taped it to the sides of the balloon to make sure it didn’t move around
- do the balancing indoors first before you take the balloon outside, it will save a lot of time
- have your kids chose an assortment of toys to put in the basket, both big, heavy, and small. make sure it covers the bottom of the basket though, so it doesn’t tip over
- check out if it’s windy and how the weather is outside. in our case, it was very windy and muggy so when we went outside the air expanded inside the balloon causing it to float up much higher
- believe in the equilibrium. no matter how far up the balloon floats, it will come down
- this might be better to do indoors if you have high ceilings, although my kids did have a grand ol’ time chasing it around the yard
- do NOT, under any circumstances, try to get the balloon if it gets stuck in a tree. the balloon will come down on its own
- if you are unlucky like I was, you can turn the lesson about equilibrium into a lesson about gravity instead
We found out that pink Domo Kun was a perfect fit to achieve equilibrium. this was after many tries with other toys. I do not recommend anything small and rolling, as the basket has a hard time staying level.
My youngest doing the first launch
And there it goes up! Look at the excitement on his face.
You can see it’s starting to float back down again here
And floating up again. You can see how we taped the yarn to the sides of the balloon here
My oldest does a launch as well.
Up, up and away!
So starting with it on the ground, you can see how easily the balloon floats up and down with its Domo Kun passenger
And another look at my youngest launching the hot air balloon. Such a fun craft!