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  • Writer's pictureMade by Monica D.

Balloon Powered Boat Racing

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

Preschool and school-age children will have a blast creating their own boats in this fun activity!

Children will have the opportunity to observe a boat move using their own balloon-powered propulsion.

Younger children may need help with cutting a hole and using scissors, so adult supervision is recommended.

This activity is sure to keep your child occupied as they explore the power of balloons!

What You Will Need:

  • Recycled food containers (milk carton or square food container recommended)

  • Balloons

  • Plastic drinking straws

  • Scissors

  • Elastic(s) (hair tie or rubber bands)

  • Crafting knife

  • Ticky tack or mounting tack

  • Stickers (optional)

  • Tape (optional for repairs)


1. First, cut off the top of the milk carton (if using a milk carton). Ask an adult’s help with this step!

2. Next, cut through the middle and across the bottom of the milk carton to cut the container in half. Skip this step if using another type of food container that is already open!

3. Use your crafting knife to cut a tiny hole in one side (in the back) of your “boat”, somewhere right below the middle. Ask an adult to watch or help you during this step to make sure you are safe!

4. Make the whole small enough to fit your straw through. Cut the whole in a “V” shape initially, and then make a small square. Then, twist your knife around to make a nice, little circle! Repeat the twist on the inside as well.

5. Next, use your scissors to cut the straw no more than two inches off the back of the boat.

6. Take one balloon and stick the balloon on the end of the straw. Then take an elastic and tie the elastic around the straw. Make sure air can pass through the straw (you can test by blowing through the straw)! The straw should not be bent or creased.

7. Place the straw through the hole in the boat and then use your ticky tack to secure the straw to the hole. If you can, angle the straw down by molding the puddy!

8. Test your boat by blowing up the balloon and observing if the balloon can easily expand! If the balloon expands, you’re all set!

9. Decorate your boat, if you choose, and use stickers or sharpies! However, be sure to ask an adult if you can use a sharpie.

10. Next, find a body of water to use to test out your boat (bathtub, pool, lake, etc.)!

11. Blow up the balloon and then hold the end of the straw so air doesn’t leak out.

12. Finally, while still covering the opening of the straw, place your boat on the water and let go!

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