Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Balloon Powered Car

I wanted a fun activity for 5 year old boys at my son's Motorway themed party and thought balloon powered cars would work well. I firstly came up with a very basic design found on many sites similar to this:-

This worked well but was rather un-interesting. Then my friend Angela gave me a kit from a science fair at her little girl's school based on the Bloodhound SSC. The link to their pdf is here.

I needed something a little more road based for the motorway theme though so I used their basic concept and merged it with clip art to create my family style balloon powered car. I recruited friends and Eden's nursery into saving milk bottle lids for the wheels!

My design is available for you to download here for the inside and here for the outside.


So in total you will need 1 or 2 skewers, 2 straws, the printed template on both sides of A4 card, 4 milk bottle tops and a balloon. 
 Eden loved playing and making 'flowers' and patterns with the bottle tops!
 I cut the tops off of the balloons to make it easier to tape to the straws, and pre-taped the balloons to the straws for the party.
 I left the car uncoloured so the children could colour them in at the party. This was something that they could do completely without help so spread out adult attention with the next stages. I loved the different styles of colouring - Joplin had a quick scribble on the body but drew an engine, whilst another little girl took great pains with the small detail on the finish.

The non-balloon straw was cut in half and then taped to the front and rear axel marked on the template. Half a BBQ skewer threaded through each straw with a bottle top pierced on the ends.

 Flipped over, the straw was then taped to the inside with the straw overhanging an inch over the back and the balloon at the front on the car.
To make it go, you blow up the balloon by the overhanging inch of straw 'exhaust' at the back and the air escaping from the balloon through the exhaust powers the car forwards!

Here we are having fun making them at the party - too quick for an action shot though!!