At the end of June we decided to have my little brother and cousin come up and stay with us. I wanted to do something fun and active and decided that making balloon rockets would be a great and cheap way to keep all of us entertained for a couple of hours. These rockets can be made just using things found around the house.
Paper (Any kind works. It's fun to let kids experiment and see what works best.)
Making the rocket is super simple. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and as I mentioned before it's a good opportunity to let kids use their imaginations and figure out which rocket design will do best. There are only two things these rockets really need. The first thing is a body, we made the body by rolling paper and taping it so it would stay rolled. The only other critical piece is a straw taped on the top. We found out the longer the straw the better the rocket flew. When we used small straws the rocket really struggled and would get caught on the string. After the rocket has a body and a string everything else is really just decoration.
Having fun making the rockets.
When the rockets are finished it's time to attach the "fuel" or balloon to the bottom of them. We found that the easiest way to do this is to blow up the balloon (DON'T TIE) and while it is blown up attach it to the rocket using two pieces of masking tape. Be generous with the length of the tape, it should have one end go over the body of the rocket and the other end a good ways down the balloon. The end of the balloon where it is blown up should face the rear of the rocket (see top picture to help with placement of balloon).
After the rockets are ready to go find a place to "launch" the rockets. We tied the string between our light post and front porch. It was roughly thirty feet. I would recommend only tying down one end of the string and leave the other string untied so it's easy to take rockets on and off the string. When the rocket is on the string make sure to hold the string tight so it does not have any give to it (this will help the rockets to travel better). To attach the rockets put the string through the straw attached to the top of the rocket. I would recommend blowing up the balloon before attaching it to the string (make sure to not tie the balloon). When ready to launch count down and simply let go of the balloon. It should travel quickly down the length of the string. It's fun to have contests to see whose will travel the farthest.
The rocket does spin sometimes while in flight, hence the balloon on the top of the rocket.
The rocket in flight.
David and I decided to have some fun and try a double ballooned rocket. We were disappointed when it didn't do much different than a rocket with one balloon.
This is a super simple, cheap, and fun activity. We thought it would be a good way to keep the kids entertained for a little while, but it ended up keeping us all happy for most of the evening. We even had some neighbor kids come over and join in the fun. They made rockets up in a couple of minutes and were launching them right along with us. This is a great activity to get kids off the couch and using their imaginations.