Lately, we’ve been checking out a lot of books from our local library. And just by chance, we were pretty inspired by one: The Berenstain Bears Fly-It! Up, Up, and Away. Along with telling simplified versions of the evolution of flight, it gives simple instructions on how to make your own balloon-powered flyers. We spent an entire afternoon experimenting with them until we found our favorite! And, since it is freezing cold outside, this activity was perfect for indoors, as balloons and paper are sure to please and are easy on your lamps.
First up: The Tiger Shark:
The shape of our cone before rolling/taping
This cylinder ended up way too long and top-heavy, as the balloon could only fit into the base/opening
… so we cut it.
The verdict? Cute, but not a great design. The balloon could not be inflated enough inside the capsule to make it fly well (or maybe our paper was too heavy?).
Next up: Balloon-powered paper plane:
Verdict: Better, but my paper plane skills are lacking. If we had used sturdier paper and a better plane design, I think this would have worked well.
Next and final experiment: Balloon-powered balloon!
Verdict: Hilarious, easy success! The boys enjoyed blowing up the power-balloon and watching it buzz around and around the room. All in all, all of the experiments were fun, we laughed a lot, and we learned a good deal about the difficulties of flight! Plus, it is a bonus if you hit your brother in the head with one.