August 6, 2013

Home-Made Hot Air Balloon

The first human flight took place in a hot air balloon in France over 100 years before Orville Wright took to the air. It's not easy to make a working airplane, but balloon technology is simple--just heat the air inside a balloon so that the air inside and the contraption itself are lighter than the air that is displaced.

We made our balloon with a thin trash bag, straws, aluminum foil, tape, and six birthday candles, following the excellent instructions from

Here is our balloon's second attempt at flight, after trimming some weight from the straws, trash bag, and foil.


 A fun way to add some literacy and history to this activity for younger kids is with Hot Air, the story of the first balloon flight with passengers aboard (animal passengers). For older kids, The Twenty-One Balloons a fun mix of fiction, history, and balloonology is recommended.

Enjoy making your balloon, and keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy just in case!


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