Make a Balloon Powered Car
With a piece of cardboard, a balloon and a few other household items, you can make a car that moves! The car must go at least 3 metres when it is released for it to pass the Junior Inventors test. Experiment with different shapes for the car and other additions, such as fins, weights or different materials for wheels to see how they improve or hurt the car’s performance.
Make sure you have parent or guardian supervision
What You Need
- A deflated balloon
- Two wooden skewers
- Three drinking straws (one must be a bendy straw)
- A piece of cardboard
- Four plastic bottle caps
- A nail
- A hammer
- Masking tape
How to Make the Car
- Cut the cardboard in the desired shape. Make sure it is wide enough that the wooden skewers hang at least 6 cm off the edge on each side.
- Cut two straws to the width of the cardboard, and tape them on the bottom of the cardboard with masking tape. They will serve as the axles.
- Poke a hole in the center of each bottle cap with the hammer and nail.
- Place one wooden skewer through each straw.
- Attach the bottle caps to the ends of the wooden skewers to serve as wheels. If the wheels keep falling off, add a bit of glue to the hole.
- Tape the opening of the balloon to the short end of the bendy straw.
- Attach the straw to the centre of the top of the car using masking tape. Make sure the balloon hangs off the end so that the short end of the straw sticks up.
How to Move the Car
- Blow up the balloon.
- Hold the open end of the straw closed.
- Set the car on the ground, and release the open end of the straw to let the air out.
Watch how these kids from Design Squad Nation made their balloon cars go fast!